Monday, February 25, 2008
RT STaff Note: We will make it short. This is our ranking and not a copy of anyone elses. The thing about these polls is that it's really tough to gauge who is really better. If your team is on this list...you are very good, maybe better than the team ranked ahead of you...who knows...unless some of these teams play each other...which some do by the way...Play Ball!!!
1.Long Beach Wilson HS-California
It depends on which service you read, but in our book, there’s none better than the Bruins. This team just loads and re-loads. Despite losing first round supplemental SS, Ryan Dent, and Elliot Glynn to U-Conn, we can’t imagine this team losing many games this year…even in their tough league. Back from last years Baseball America’s mythical national championship team are AFLAC All American Aaron Hicks, and two Arizona State bound players, pitcher Ray Hanson and infielder Zack Wilson. Some services are saying that the Bruins have six players that have signed NLI's to play D-I baseball. (Put them on your web site LB Wilson. Be proud!) We rank them at the top based on their tough schedule and the fact that these players are seasoned with year round baseball and know this game like no other, thanks to their great coaching staff.
2.American Heritage HS-Florida
They are a relatively smaller school that plays really big. Two AFLAC All Americans in Eric Hosmer and Adrian Nieto is pretty impressive…but then add University of Florida bound Juan Carlos Sulbaran, Miami bound Kevin Youst, University of Jacksonville signee Joey Belviso and Bethune Cookman signee, Jeramy Matos and it doesn’t matter who they play…they can play. With this line-up, they should cruise to their division’s state championship.
3. St. Johns College HS-Washington DC
Nine….count ‘em…nine players are off to D-I’s next year…We haven’t been keeping count, but has there been a school with that many D-I’s on one team? Even more impressive, many of these colleges they will be attending are top rated programs…And, these players have some size…They are headed by 6’5” 205 LHP and AFLAC All American, Scott Silverstein who will be attending Virginia…6’1” 190lbs Rawlings second team All American, LJ Hoes who will be going to North Carolina…6’5” 210lbs, Hugh Adams a future Florida Atlantic player…6’4” 200lbs LHP and Mississippi State signee, Nick Routt and Clemson bound Kevin Brady at 6’3”, 210lbs. There’s also Cory Beahm/University of Hartford, Jeff Flax/LaSalle, Craig Miller/LaSalle, Michael Loeb/Davidson, Matt Mack/Radford. If we weren’t partial to the level of play in California and Florida, we would have rated this team number one. Give this team time; they may be there in the end.
4. Chaparral HS-Arizona
These guys are always in the national spotlight. They play good ball down in the desert. They also have a couple of pitchers that can bring the that patented desert heat. Prior to last year, the Firebirds of this Scottsdale school won four straight state championships and they could start another streak this year with the impressive line-up that includes 6 D-I signees. They are LHP Daniel Coulumbe/USC, RHP Chase Brewer/UCLA, P/1B Matt Summers/UC Irvine, Royce Bolinger and Ernesto Ortiz/Gonzaga and David Roney/Wofford.
5. Cy-Fair HS-Texas
The Cy-Fair High School baseball team put a fitting stamp on a 27-game win streak with a 6-1 win over Harlingen South in the Class 5A state championship in Round Rock last year. The win gave Cy-Fair its first state title in school history, which capped a 32-7 season that featured a District 17-5A championship and an undefeated playoff record of 12-0. That said, they return 15 seniors from last years squad. A good sign. Included in that roster is AFLAC All American Robbie Grossman/Texas, and Class 5A All Tournament team players, pitcher Tommy Collier, catcher Landon Lee and DH Kevin Sah.
6. Owasso HS-Oklahoma
The Kozma family will be busy this year keeping tabs on 2007 MLB first round draft pick Pete and his younger brother Ben who scored 48 runs last year while batting .423 as a junior. Meanwhile, National Coach of the Year- Larry Turner has to be happy with the fact that he has a very strong returning pitching staff in Wichita State Signee, Brian Flynn (10-1) and juniors Brandon Bargas and Austin Kirk who combined to go 8-0 last year. Owasso won its 9th state championship last year and finished 3rd in the USA Today Final poll. The way they stack up this year, they could make it ten.
7. Don Bosco Prep-New Jersey
Last year, it was Jersey’s Seton Hall Prep that was the pre-season favorite in the quest for a national championship. This year, another Jersey Prep, Don Bosco returns a squad that made it to the state semis. Oh, and did we mention that they have six signees with some impressive D-I schools? Top Slugger Steven Proscia will be attending Virginia, Mike Dennhardt-pitcher (9-0) signed with Boston College, Eric Phister-pitcher (6-0) is headed to Duke, leading hitter Michael Vargas/Florida International, Pitcher Sam Cerbo/Delaware and strong armed catcher, Ben Luderer/Marist. These Jersey Boys of Baseball have their eye on the prize this year both in the state and nationally.
8. Walton HS-Georgia
Georgia plays some tough baseball and winning a state championship is no easy feat…but Raider Nation just may repeat with two of the top pitchers in the southeast in Georgia Tech bound pitcher Mark Pope (11-3) and two sport athlete, Kyle Putkonen (13-1) who has not verbaled, but is being recruited by SEC and ACC schools. Eight starters from last year squad make them a good bet.
9. Calvert Hall HS-Maryland
Many Maryland players are on the loaded St. Johns College HS in nearby Washington DC, but that doesn’t take a way the incredible streak that the Cardinals have kept alive to the tune of 37 games in a row. Returning starters, Patrick Blair, Mike Dillon and Kevin Lingerman have been named to the 2008 MSABC Pre-Season All State Team and head Coach Louis Eckerl would like another 37 more. They finished 4th in the final USA Today rankings and are high in many pre-season polls. They get to prove just how good they are when they travel to our neck of the woods and play in Southern California’s prestigious Phil Nevin classic in late March.
10. Bishop Gorman HS-Nevada
This Las Vegas powerhouse features University of Southern California bound Brandon Garcia who batted .466 with six home runs and 38 RBI last season from the left side. Joey Rickard, a junior, also returns after batting .437 with 39 RBI’s as a soph. Paul Sewald goes into his senior season after batting .343 and helping the Gaels on the mound with a 5-0 record last year. They also host one of the other top tourneys in the west…the Bishop Gorman Easter Classic.
11. Aptos HS-California
They are ranked a lot lower in other polls, but this team is legit. Overall, they have five players going on to D-I ball. Most of the players on this team have been playing together since they were 10 and traveled to Williamsport as part of the Little League World Series in 2002. They play well together. Some of the better players….Bobby Crocker OF, is ranked No. 59 among the top 100 high school prospects in the country by Baseball America and will be attending Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in the powerful Big West as will Pitcher Kyle Anderson. Pitcher/SS Kevin Eichhorn is ranked as the 98th Best 2008 Prospect in the nation by Perfect Game Cross Checker and will be attending Santa Clara University with fellow teammate infielder Andrew Biancardi. Hard hitting catcher Beau Fraser has committed to University of Portland. Look for this team to finish in the top of the California rankings at the end of the year.
12. Kell HS-Georgia
Last years Georgia State runner up has 9 returning seniors and is poised to make another run to the championship this year. Hoping to get them there is 6’2” SS Jason Stolz, who is headed to powerhouse Clemson, 6’1” Pitcher, Adam Morgan a future player at Alabama and 5’11” pitcher Matt Smith who signed with North Georgia College and State University. Donnie English’s teams always compete and he has the horses to do just that this year.
13. Sarasota HS- Florida
Many polls have this team as high as #1, and they are good, but in the tough Florida leagues, they will suffer a few losses. Since all of these polls are mythical, it’s the teams with the least losses that usually end up on top. Nevertheless, they are led by super SS, Casey Kelly who is headed to Tennessee and LHP Josh Renfro. The thing about this team is that know how to win…hence last years 6A title…historically the toughest in the state.
14. Paul IV Catholic HS-Virginia
The state of Virginia has produced some big names in baseball the past few years and this team has some big recruits. The University of Georgia is very high on OF, Peter Verdin and East Carolina hails the talents of infielder Brett Bower and nearby Marlyland can’t say enough about middle infielder Matt Murakami…Thee guys have as much talent as anyone in the state…but we like the fact that only two starters are gone…experience will make the difference in the tough WCAC conference that this team competes in.
15. Jupiter HS-Florida
Do you know how hard it is to rank high schools in the pre-season…It’s impossible…especially when you have a team of Jupiter’s caliber all the way down at #15. We looked at their roster and they had an incredibly talented bunch of junior contributors last year who are all back and ready to make noise. AFLAC All American with the all American name, Jack Armstrong is a nasty Pitcher and talented at 1B and is going to Vanderbilt. Outfielder Tyler Thompson is a future Gator at Florida and in this talent rich state they will compete hard and just may come out on top.
16. James River HS-Virginia
Yes, another Virginia school. This one has AFLAC All American Daniel Marrs who like his name is an out of this world pitcher…possibly one of the best in the country. He is going to Wake Forest, if he isn’t drafted first. His fellow hurler, also going to Wake is no slouch either. Lefty Austin Stadler is super tough and having a staff consisting of a lefty and righty along with quite a few returners from last year will help them in their quest to repeat as state champs…especially if the two aforementioned pitchers are on the mound.
17. Centennial HS-California
California’s population of nearly 37 million makes it nearly impossible to have a state championship…so they don’t. Instead, the state is divided up into sections, which when you add up the population of each section, they are as big as or bigger than most states. Centennial won their section last year and return practically the whole team including Cal-State Fullerton bound and outstanding pitcher Garrett Martin. This team hits and hits a lot. Dustin Robinson will be a big spark in their line-up and Danny Armstrong will provide a formidable rotation to back up Martin.
18. Barbe HS-Louisiana
The Buccaneers have been district champs for the last twelve consecutive years and Coach Glenn Cecchini has guided them to 10 consecutive years of 30 win seasons. Impressive!!! They fell short last year, but have two D-I signees going to up and coming McNeese State. Sure handed SS Josh LeBert can hit and RHP Trey Brown, who will try to add to his unbeaten streak, will be teammates again next year in college. They have a strong core for offensive and defensive support and a great coach...so look for them to stay in the national spotlight.
19. Serra HS-California
This San Mateo school is best known for it’s famous alumni…Tom Brady, Barry Bonds, Lynn Swann. They are among dozens of successful athletes that call this their alma mater. This year, they may be known for their chance to win their section. They return All Metro, All Section and All State underclass outfielder Ryan Palermo who is headed to University of California at Santa Barbara in the tough Big West conference. Fellow All Metro, Section and All State Underclass infielder and closer Ryan Allgrove heads up an impressive roster that competes in the West Catholic Athletic League, arguably the nations toughest. Add hard throwing 6’9” lefty, Steven Lumpkins, headed to American University on a basketball scholarship and hard hitting junior Tony Renda and they will be an exciting team to watch.
20. Vista Murrieta HS-California
Another section champ…another slew of returning starters and a player going to one of the nation’s baseball elite colleges. Sounds like a top twenty nominee to us. They return a great pitching staff and a smooth shortstop in Derek Legg, who is headed to perennial power Long Beach State.