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Canes Baseball has a new look this year but will still bring some of the top talent in the country together to compete for championships. Our Canes National/Mets Scout Team are now powered by Under Armour and Rawlings, and rings on our fingers will look even better with our new brands.
Our 17U National team will once again feature some of the top players in the country from coast to coast. From the sunny shores in Florida to the Pacific Northwest in Washington, the Canes will put a highly-competitive and highly-skilled roster of players on the diamond for three tournaments this summer.
As we count down the weeks to the start of our schedule, which will begin in North Carolina at the USA Baseball Complex on June 13, let’s get to know the players who will put on our Canes and Mets uniforms, many for the first time.
Leading off our position players is Outfielder Dante Nori (Northville, Mich./Northville), a left-handed hitting speedster, has played for the Canes for one year in the past. His favorite memory with the team was his very first tournament with the program last year in Cary at USA Baseball, and the 5-foot-11, 175-pounder who is committed to Mississippi State is ready to rejoin his teammates from a year ago.
“What made me want to join the Canes last year was their reputation. I have always heard positive things from the players, coaches and overall ways of the program,” Nori said. “I am most excited to see teammates from last year and new ones as well. I’m excited to see this team play together and potentially become the best of all time, for it is the best on paper of all time.”
Another long-time Canes standout is infielder Owen Paino (Poughkeepsie, N.Y/Roy C. Ketchem), who started out on one of our regional teams before being called up to the 14U National team years ago. He hasn’t left our national teams since, and now the 6-foot-3, Ole Miss commitment is ready to put his cleats in the dirt for the 17U National squad.
“This being my fourth year playing on the Canes National level, family is the word that best describes this organization,” Paino said. “I am looking forward to competing and playing with/for the best players and coaches in the country. I am also looking forward to competing at the highest level with them. Most importantly, I am looking forward to winning.”
Catcher Burke Mabeus (Henderson, Nev./Bishop Gorman) spent some time with our 17U Canes National team last year, and he’s back with us full-time this year. An Oregon commitment, the switch-hitting backstop stands 6-foot-4, 210 pounds and has some real power in his bat.
“I wanted to join Canes Baseball when I found out how professionally it is run,” Mabeus said. “I felt most prepared with this team after the thorough and advanced pregame routine we took part in, and also being around high-level players and coaches. There is a lot to learn about the game and my craft.”
Corner infielder Luke Costello (Fairview, Penn./Cathedral Prep) has enjoyed many opportunities to make memories over the years in a Canes uniform, but one of his biggest moments was coming out of the bullpen to strike out the side twice in an extra innings victory over Dulins Dodgers in the 14U PG World Series. Now featuring for the 17U team, the Wake Forest commitment is eagerly awaiting the WWBA Championships.
“The thing I’m most excited for this year is the WWBA,” Costello said. “Being with the Canes, we have achieved so many accolades, but the one my team hasn’t gotten yet is a WWBA Championship. I have been longing to win one of these tournaments since I joined the Canes, and I don’t think there has been a year where I am more confident in my team to go out and achieve this goal. But most of all I am more than excited to spend my last year of summer baseball with the best travel ball organization in the world, wouldn’t want it any other way.”
First baseman and outfielder PJ Morlando (Summerville, S.C./Summerville) has one of the best bats in the country and should hit right in the heart of the order. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound left-hander, who is a Mississippi State commitment, is back for another year, and said his favorite moment with the Canes was winning the Ultimate Baseball Championship last year.
“The reason I wanted to join the Canes is because it’s the best team and program in the country, so I absolutely couldn’t pass that up,” Morlando said. “I’m excited to be playing with a special group that has a chance to win every tournament we play in.”
One of our west coast standouts is right-handed hitting infielder and catcher Chris Newstrom (Phoenix, Ariz./Chaparral), a great athlete who can play various positions for us this summer. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Tennessee Volunteers commitment is ready to spend the summer on the east coast with us for the first time.
“I wanted to join the organization because I wanted to represent the best out there and be a part of the high energy program. I’ve heard other players in the program love it, and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” Newstrom said. “I’m looking forward to seeing most of my guys I’ve played with or against in the past, meet new players and build new relationships with the coaches and staff. I’m also looking forward to the bus rides with all the guys and going out on the field and putting our bodies out on the line for each other to win.”
One of our middle infielders is Devin Fitz-Gerald (Margate, Fla./Stoneman Douglas), who is in his second year with Canes Baseball. There have been multiple former Canes from his high school, and the switch-hitting North Carolina State commitment is going to follow in their footsteps this summer.
“I’ve had players from my high school play with the organization and they said it was the best decision they made, and gave them the best opportunities to succeed and develop,” Fitz-Gerald said. “I’m looking forward to playing with and against some of the best talent in the country and being a part of the best organization in the country. I’m ready to be around some great coaches and players and just have fun and keep developing and getting better.”
A pair of players who could see action both in the field and on the mound are Noah Franco (Downey, Calif./IMG Academy), and Bryce Rainer (Simi Valley, Calif./Harvard-Westlake). Franco, a Mississippi State commitment in his 3rd season as a Cane, could be in the outfield, first base or on the mound as a left-handed pitcher. Rainer, a Texas commitment, is a right-handed pitcher and left-handed hitter will see action at on the left side of the infield as well as the mound.
Utility player Matthew Champion (Laguna Niguel, Calif./JSerra Catholic), an LSU commitment, can feature at various spots on the infield. Another LSU commitment, Cade Arrambide (Tomball, Texas/Tomball), is not only the top ranked catcher in the 2024 class but provides versatility to play corner infield or outfield.
Rounding out our position players is Outfielder Dean Moss (Atherton, Calif./IMG Academy), a 3rd year Canes who along with Franco moves to our 17U National from a powerhouse 2025 group that dominated over the last 2 years. Our lone 2025 players, is committed to Vanderbilt.
There are more than a dozen players on the roster who are primarily pitchers, with a couple of position players who could see time on the mound as well.
Right-handed pitcher Carson Messina (Summerville, S.C./Summerville) is one of our program veterans, returning for his sixth year with Canes Baseball. A high school teammate with Morlando at Summerville, the 6-foot-1, 200-pounder is committed to play his college baseball at South Carolina.
“What made me want to join Canes was the relationships with the coaches and teammates. It’s just like one big family,” Messina said. “I’m looking forward to seeing my teammates from previous summers and looking forward to playing with the best organization in the country.”
Right-handed pitcher Zach Swanson (Castle Rock, Wash./Toutle Lake) said he joined the Canes because of the prestige of the program, and he took on a starring role last year at the WWBA World Championships. A commitment to Oregon State, the 6-foot-2, 185-pounder brings his big fastball and slider back to the 17U National team.
“My most memorable moment was pitching last fall in Jupiter in front of what seemed like hundreds of scouts. What made it more memorable was my teammates and coaches backing me up every pitch,” Swanson said. “I’m looking forward to just doing my thing this summer. It’s my last year for summer ball and there’s not another team and players I’d want to play with. I’m looking forward to be challenged and showcase my abilities.”
Making his debut with the Canes this summer is right-handed pitcher Joshua Whritenour (Hudson, Fla./A3 Academy), who is committed to his home state school of Florida. The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder wanted to compete against top-notch competition and be around the best players in the country.
“I wanted the best place to grow and play the best competition I could get, so when I heard about the Canes, I knew that’s where I wanted to be,” Whritenour said. “I’m looking forward to meeting some new players and getting a chance to play with some of the top prospects out there. Of course, I’m looking forward to winning!”
Another first-year arm with the Canes is right-hander Austin Nye (Roseville, Calif./Woodcreek), who is making the trip across the country from The Golden State. A commitment to Vanderbilt, the 6-foot-2, 205-pounder is ready to embrace being a part of the hunted team.
“I joined Canes baseball for this summer because I am looking forward to playing with the best kids in the country,” Nye said. “I look to go out and compete at the highest level and to me, the Canes felt like the best team that would give me the best playing environment around me. Going into every tournament with a target on our back is what I am most excited about in playing for the Canes this year.”
Right-handed pitcher Jake Gregor (Louisville, Ky./St. Xavier) has been with the Canes for three years and has a lot of memories with the organization, with last year’s UBC Championships standing out. The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder committed to Louisville is looking forward to reconnecting with his old teammates and meeting new ones when the summer begins in North Carolina in June.
“This year I am looking forward to meeting new people on our team and reconnecting with old teammates. It’s really cool to meet new people and compete with them,” Gregor said. “I wanted to join the Canes because of the culture and the environment. I also wanted to join because you are getting coached by the best coaching staffs across the nation.”
One of our players from the Lone Star State is left-handed pitcher Cooper Williams (Alvin, Texas/Alvin), who is joining us for the first time. The newcomer is a Texas A&M commitment who stands 6-foot-4 and 175 pounds, and he wants to eventually be a part of the 18U USA National Team.
“What I am most looking forward to this summer is the USA Baseball 17U Championships tournament. I want to have a chance to make the 18U National Team, which is a big goal of mine,” Williams said. “I wanted to join the Canes Baseball program this year because I heard how talented the team was and felt I could get lots of exposure playing with this team. I was also intrigued by the college feel of traveling and practicing with the team during tournaments.”
Left-handed pitcher Drew Bellis (Avon Lake, Ohio/IMG Academy) is the next in a long line of players for the Canes who have spent at least part of their high school years at IMG Academy. A Vanderbilt commitment, Bellis returns to the Canes with the satisfaction of having won the UBC last summer.
“My most memorable moment with the Canes was winning the UBC in 2022 because the environment of the whole tournament was great and I loved the competition,” Bellis said. “I’m excited to be around a bunch of dudes who want the same thing. Guys that want to win and get better. I’m also excited to pitch against the best teams and players in the country.”
Right-handed pitcher Chase Mobley (Plant City, Fla./Plant City) is back this summer to make his third run with the Canes. A 6-foot-4, 185-pounder committed to Florida State, Mobley had a big outing for us last 2 falls ago as a sophomore in Jupiter and is ready to get back there late this year.
“I really just wanted to join the organization itself because it is amazing how they do things and treat players is amazing,” Mobley said. “I’m looking forward to just getting out there with some of same guys I played with last summer and having fun again, Jupiter will be the main event I’m looking forward to.”
Another debutant with the Canes is left-handed pitcher Jacob Seek (Bozman, Md./Pro5 Academy VA). The Maryland commitment is ready to compete against the best players in the country.
“I wanted to join the Canes to play against high level competition. I felt like it is going to be a great opportunity to learn a lot of new things,” Seek said. “I’m looking forward to playing and going to big exposure tournaments. I feel as it’s a great opportunity to get on the radar and be around high-level guys.”
Joining the Canes for the first time this summer is left-handed pitcher Blake Larson (Des Moines, Iowa/Dowling Catholic), who stands 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds. Our social media team caught the eye of the TCU commitment, who knew then he wanted to join the Canes.
“What made me want to join the Canes was just hearing good thing from friends and seeing all the good things on Twitter,” Larson said. “I am looking for a great experience and to better my baseball skills and leadership skills. I am also looking forward to meeting new people.”
Pitcher Bradley Ferrell (Laporte, Ind./South Central) joins us for the first time this summer. The 6-foot-3 right-hander, committed to Kentucky, is looking to work with pitching coach Jason Mills to improve his craft against the best competition out there.
“I joined the Canes because I wanted to have the best chance to get better this summer. We are at the age where most coaches fill out a lineup card and say, ‘Let’s go,’” Ferrell said. “I wanted structure with the best guys possible around me. I also wanted to be valued during the summer. I have had issues in the past where other teams treat me like just another arm. I feel the value already and I haven’t even met anyone in person.”
Right-handed pitcher Brady Jones (Gaffney, S.C./P27 Academy), another South Carolina baseball commitment, saw so many Canes succeeding at the highest levels of baseball and wanted to join the organization. A long-time member of the Canes, the 6-foot, 175-pounder was part of a 16U team last summer that won the UBC.
“I am looking forward to being around my guys and seeing all the great things we are able to accomplish. We have one of the best teams I have ever seen and are going to do some pretty incredible things,” Jones said. “My most memorable moment with the Canes was winning the 16U UBC in West Palm Beach. We played excellent that week and came out on top. Celebrating that championship is something I’ll never forget.”
Also ready to see time on the mound for us this summer is right-hander Tegan Kuhns (Gettysburg, Pa./Gettysburg Area), who is committed to Tennessee along with right-hander Mavrick Rizy (Fiskdale, Mass./Worcester Academy), who is committed to UConn and Left Handed pitcher David Shields (Pittsburgh, PA/Mt. Lebanon) who is committed to Miami.
Canes National 17U will open the summer on June 13 at the USA Baseball Complex in Cary, N.C. in the USA Baseball 17U Championships. We’ll also take the field in the Ultimate Baseball Championship in West Palm Beach, Fla. from June 18-22 and then compete in the World Wood Bat Association Championships from July 16-23.