Monday, March 31, 2008

Changes in the Top 20

1. Owasso High School-Oklahoma 11-0 (1)
Ryan Mayfield hit a pop fly single down the left-field line that scored Ben Kozma with the winning run in the bottom of the seventh as the Rams defeated Ozark , MO 2-1. The Rams managed 8 hits but stranded 9 runners with Mayfield and Brandon Bargas driving in the only runs. Ozark scored their run in the second inning, but Owasso tied it up in the bottom half on back-to-back hits by Caleb Compton and Brandon Bargas. Bargas picked up the win tossing a 2-hitter, striking out 5. The Rams played stellar defense turning 2 double plays, picking off a runner and throwing out a runner trying to steal home.

2. Crespi Carmelite College Prep - California (NR)
They took on schools from across the U.S. that were ranked in the top 25 in many polls. They reached the final and took on the top team in Southern California. When the dust settled, they stood alone on top of the Anderson Bat Phil Nevin National Classic. The game itself featured some highlights of note. Starter E. C. McSweeney came back after his Monday start to do what he does best - frustrate good hitters - as he went five solid innings, holding down a solid hitting Orange Lutheran team for five innings. Ryan Hawthorne (Signed with Loyola Marymount University) came in for the final six outs in the 7 - 2 victory. Ryon Healy, Travis Forbes, and Jeremy Rodriguez (Cal State Bakersfield) were the offensive force for the Celts who pulled out all the stops, including a daring steal of home by Zack Wiley who did not even draw a throw. Congratulations go out to the tournament MVP -Jeremy Rodriguez. Travis Forbes was named the Best Offensive Player with clutch hitting in tight situations to bring home key RBI's. Sean Gilmartin (Florida State), Ryan Hawthorne, and Ryon Healy were all named to the All-Tournament team.

3. Bishop Gorman HS - Nevada - 17-1 (2)
Bishop Gorman has a tough schedule and went from winning the Cleats National to hosting its own Easter Classic and romped through its bracket until they faced a tough Newbury Park from California. They had a great 17 game run though and their winning percentage is impresssive, so they stay in the Top 5.

4. Orange Lutheran – California 12-2 (NR)
Gerritt Cole was named PG’s #1 Prospect in California and he has lived up to his billing by batting .381 with 18 RBI’s and 5 HR’s, while on the mound, he has 43 K’s in 23 innings. Aaron Gates is right there in the stats with Cole with a .382 BA and 38 K’s in 26 innings. They rolled through a strong field at the Anderson Bat National, only to run into a buzz saw in Crespi. Prior to their second place finish in the Classic, they were ranked #1 in Southern California by the Orange County Register.

5. American Heritage - Florida – 16-2 (7)
Two good wins against Coral Spring Charter and Pine Crest gives the Patriots a boost in the rankings this week. This star studded team’s leaders are no surprise. All American Eric Hosmer is hot at .550, Joe Belviso .512, Deven Marrero .509, Eric Acevedo .400 and Adrian Nieto .395.

6. Lake Brantley HS, Florida 15-0 (19)
It’s a good thing to have a nickname of Patriots this week. These Patriots remain perfect with a recent win against Hagarty.

7.Grossmont HS - California - 12-2 (4)
They lose to Santee and then take a double header with tough Mission Bay. Baseball is not a sport where a team goes undefeated. They drop, but not much.

8. Plant High School – Florida - 17-1 (12)
Two impressive conference wins versus Leto and Chamberlain. They are led by Dillon Henderson .571, Jared Womack .535, Rob Foster .471, Preston Tucker .429, Graham Ramos .362.

9. Jupiter - Florida - 16-2 (8)
Even though the Warriors had one loss (to eventual champion Crespi) at the Anderson Bat National Classic, they had a pretty impressive showing. They crushed Virgina power James River and Bishop Amat of California. Their last game was an impressive 6-4 victory against last weeks 12th ranked Aptos of California. They stay in the Top 10.

10. Don Bosco Prep - New Jersey - DNP (5)
They still haven’t played and they are one of only two teams that have yet to play a game in our top twenty. We are not penalizing them, but there are other teams busting it while the Ironmen collect rust. They move down.

11. Pleasure Ridge - Kentucky - DNP (11)
Do they play baseball in Kentucky? Doesn’t seem like it. The other polls like them. How do they know? We are annoyed.

12. Poway – California – 11-3 (14)
Even though they lose a pool game in the North County Tourney to Rancho Beuna Vista, they have two strong wins against Fallbrook and El Camino of Oceanside and move up a few spots.

13. Sarasota - Florida – 11-2 (15)
They are on a roll with two more wins against the Riverview and Plant City. They move up two spots.

14. Long Beach Wilson - California – 11-3 (16)
We don’t know what to think of the Bruins. No surprise that Zach Wilson is batting .500 and Aaron Hicks .486, (Hicks also has 18 stolen bases out of 20 attempts), but they lose a tough one to Lompoc and then rebound against Dana Hills and Carson. They do have a target on their back due to their high pre-season ranking and we think just enough of them to move them up this week.

15. Alvin HS - Texas – 19-2 (18)
It was erroneously reported that they lost two last week. We were given bad information and we stand corrected. They have two big wins over Ball HS and Clearbrook in conference play. We are one of the only services that have the Yellowjackets ranked this high, but we just can’t ignore their big wins over tough Houston competition like Cy Fair this season.

16. St. Johns College HS - Washington DC 5-2 (3)
They started off the National Classic with two good wins against Bishop Amat and Vista Murrietta and then lost their last two to Tourney champ Crespi and surprising Seminole Ridge of Florida. The Anderson Bat Phil Nevin National Tournament is arguably the toughest in the country and they faced the nations best. They drop out of the top ten, but St. Johns can play, so we expect them to climb back in.

17. Aptos HS - California - 11-1 (14)
They ended up 2-2 at the Anderson Bat National, but beat previously ranked Calvert Hall handily 10-1 and 10 time state champion Christian Brothers of Tennessee. They have a very good team and can compete against anybody.

18. Vista Murrietta - California – 10-4 (13)
They too go 2-2 against the tough Anderson at field. They too look good and beat some quality teams. They drop 5 spots, but are good enough to stay in the Top 20.

19. Barbe - Louisiana – 18-4 (19)
They go 1-1 last week, and stay put.

20. Serra HS – California – 12-3 (20)
They were idle last week for spring break after capturing their own tourney. The Padres take on the tough schedule of the West Catholic Athletic League this week through May that many consider the nations toughest baseball conference.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Crespi Wins National Classic

In a showdown of two California teams that dominated their competition in the Anderson Bat National Classic, it was Crespi that emerged the victor in the Championship game held at Cal State Fullerton Thursday night. The score was 7-2.

Crespi Carmelite College Prep as they are formerly known averaged over 7 runs a game this week and on the mound, used a mixed bag of off-speed, JV call-ups and a Kent Tekulve like throwback submarine pitcher to baffle opposing teams hitters. Orange Lutheran entered the contest as ranked number 1 in the Orange County Register poll and scored an average of 13 runs over the three days. But, Thursday night was a different story for the Lancers as the Celts E.C McSweeney got the start and allowed only two runs on the night.

Suprises of the Week
Other than the surprising dominance of Crespi, we were a bit suprised by how Calvert Hall played this week. As of Thursday night, they had yet to win a game. St. Johns started off well, but dropped their final two games. Cottonwood from Utah didn't seem to have the arms to keep them in games and went 1-3 as did 10 time Tennessee state champ Christian Brothers. Aptos played well enough, but came away with two wins and two losses.

The consolation scores were:
Cottonwood, UT (1) vs James River, VA (7)
El Dorado, CA (2) vs Vista Murrieta, CA (3)
Yucaipa, CA (5) vs Esperanza, CA (7)
Christian Bros, TN (0) vs Bishop Amat, CA (10)
Seminole Ridge, FL (5) vs St. Johns, DC (2)
Aptos, CA (4) vs Jupiter, FL (6)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

All California Final At The National Classic

The Orange County Register got it right last last week when they ranked Orange Lutheran the Number One team in Orange County. Prior to this weeks tournament, the Lancers had won eight in a row and had outscored their opponents 50-13 during the streak. That momentum continued this week as the OL from the OC scored 40 runs and allowed 16 in the first three games of the tourney and will play in the championship tonight. Included in those wins was a 1 hit, 13 K performance vs. Yucaipa by Gerrit Cole, ranked the Number 1 prospect in America by Perfect Game. Cole also went 2 for 2 with a home run and 4 RBI's.

Aaron Gates preceded Coles outing with a 10 K outing the day before against Cottonwood in Game One.

Yesterday's semifinal was a bit tougher as the Lancers faced a Seminole Ridge team that is playing a lot tougher than their record (6-10) would suggest. However, the Hawks from Florida could not keep the Lancers off the bases and lost in a slug fest, 16-11.

Joining Orange Lutheran in the final is another California team in Crespi Carmelite College Prep. The 10-3 Celts beat a very strong St. Johns College Prep featuring AFLAC All American Scott Silverstein and 8 other D-I signees, 8-6. Crespi from Encino, CA features Carlos Lopez, a Cal State Fullerton signee and Jeremy Rodriguez who will be attending Cal State Bakersfield.

According to the Crespi web site, which is very well done and informative...

"Crespi came from behind in a classic to defeat nationally ranked St. John's of Washington DC, 8 - 6. The game, which did not end until 12:30 am, went back and forth in the early innings with Crespi starting on top 1-0, only to go quickly down 4-1. After coming back to 4-3, the Celts put together a five run fourth and never looked back. Big Game Harry Grace got the start and the submariner did his thing in keeping the Celts in the game despite a couple streaks of wildness that he continued to work on as he picked up his second win of the tournament. With so much pitching being used in the first two games, the Celts called up closer Josh Mason from the JV's on Wednesday afternoon and, of course, threw him into the fire immediately. Mason was smart enough to use his defense to get the first varsity out of his career as he allowed the St. John's hitter to single to left where Zack Wiley picked up the ball and threw a strike to Jeremy "The Wall" Rodriguez who was waiting patiently at the plate to apply the last out of the inning. Mason, a sophomore, then went on to throw the fifth inning, relying on his 87mph fastball to do the job and pick up a 'hold'. The sixth and seventh innings belonged to the Crespi All-Time save leader, Sean Gilmartin, who came in and completely shut the door for the final two innings, striking out 5 of the 6 batters he faced. The win sent the Celts to their second National Classic final (2004) where Crespi lost 2 - 1 to Villa Park. Game 1 starter E. C. McSweeney will get the start followed by anyone left who can raise their arm above their shoulder."

Game time is 7:30 at Cal State Fullerton.

California teams have won 11 and lost 5 versus their out of state rivals. Here are the scores from yesterday's games:

Calvert Hall, MD (2) vs Cottonwood, UT (7)
James River, VA (12) vs West Linn, OR (7)
Aptos, CA (6) vs Christian Brothers, TN (4)
Jupiter, FL (11) vs Bishop Amat, CA (4)
El Dorado, CA (3) vs Yucaipa, CA (11)
Esperanza, CA (3) vs Vista Murrieta, CA (1)
Seminole Ridge, FL (11) vs Orange Lutheran, CA (16)
Crespi, CA (8) vs St. Johns, DC (6)

The Consolation games today are:
Game #25 - Calvert Hall, MD ___ vs West Linn, OR ___ at Field #4, 4:00pm
Game #26 - Cottonwood, UT ___ vs James River, VA ___ at Field #4, 9:00am
Game #27 - El Dorado, CA ___ vs Vista Murrieta, CA ___ at Field #4, 12:00pm
Game #28 - Yucaipa, CA ___ vs Esperanza, CA ___at Field #2, 10:00am
Game #29 - Christian Bros, TN ___ vs Bishop Amat, CA ___ at Field #2, 2:00pm
Game #30 - Seminole Ridge, FL ___ vs St. Johns, DC ___ at Field #1, 2:00pm
Game #31 - Aptos, CA ___ vs Jupiter, FL at Field #1 __, 10:00am

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

National Classic Day 2

RT Staff Note: This week, we will be covering the elite Anderson Bat Phil Nevin National Classic. This tourney has many of the nations top ranked teams from east to west pitted against each other in the warm climate of Orange County, CA.

Pat Lacroy's 2 run HR turned a very close game into insurmountable late inning lead as Seminole Ridge proves it is the team to beat as it gives El Dorado it's first loss of the Classic with a 6-3 win.

Crespi shows it's a formidable foe by winning a tough game against Esperanza, 7-5 and Aptos rebounds and hands East Coast power Calvert Hall it's second loss with an impressive 10-1 win.

St. Johns shows that it's nine D-I signees are a force to be reckoned with as it downs another RT Top Twenty team in Vista Murietta handily, 9-4.

Orange Lutheran pounded Yucaipa 16-0 and finds itself into the final four with St. Johns, Crespi and Seminole Ridge.

Yesterday's scores are:

Calvert Hall, MD ( 1) vs Aptos, CA (10)
Christian Brothers, TN (19) vs Cottonwood, UT (10)
James River, VA (4) vs Jupiter, FL (16)
West Linn, OR (0) vs Bishop Amat, CA (7)
El Dorado, CA (3) vs Seminole Ridge, FL (6)
Yucaipa, CA (0) vs Orange Lutheran, CA (16)
Esperanza, CA (5) vs Crespi, CA (7)
Vista Murrieta, CA (4) vs St. Johns, DC (9)

Today's Match-ups are:

Game #17 - Calvert Hall, MD vs Cottonwood, UT at Field #4, 12:00pm
Game #18 - James River, VA vs Loser Game #12 at Field #4, 4:00pm
Game #19 - Aptos, CA vs Christian Brothers, TN at Field #1, 2:00pm
Game #20 - Jupiter, FL vs Winner Game #12 at Field #2, 10:00am
Game #21 - El Dorado, CA vs Yucaipa, CA at Field #1, 10:00am
Game #22 - Esperanza, CA vs Vista Murrieta, CA at Field #2, 2:00pm
Game #23 - Seminole Ridge, FL vs Orange Lutheran, CA at Field #3, 5:15pm
Game #24 - Crespi, CA vs St. Johns, DC at Field #3, 8:00pm

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

National Classic Results

One of the top high school tournaments in the country is the Anderson Bat Phil Nevin National Classic in Anaheim. The event is organized by Todd Rogers of the summer travel team Placentia Mustangs. The games are played at El Dorado HS, Esperanza High School and Cal State Fullerton.

This years Classic is loaded with top teams from both coasts. From the East is RT Top Twenty teams...St. Johns College Prep, Calvert Hall, Jupiter, as well as pre-season favorites Seminole Ridge and James River. From the West are Aptos and Vista Murrietta. Today's results were a bit of a surprise with El Dorado thumping Top Ten favorite Calvert Hall of Maryland, 11-6...Seminole Ridge dominated a strong Aptos team 11-3 and Crespi of California put up 9 and beat a surging Jupiter, FL team 9-6.

We predicted a good showing for DC's St. Johns College Prep and they responded with a 6-3 victory over Bishop Amat of CA. Overall, California teams went 5-2 against it's out of state rivals. The scores are as follows...

Game #1 - Calvert Hall, MD (6) vs El Dorado, CA (11)
Game #2 - Aptos, CA (3) vs Seminole Ridge, FL (11)
Game #3 - Christian Brothers, TN (4) vs Yucaipa, CA (7)
Game #4 - Cottonwood, UT (5) vs Orange Lutheran, CA (8)
Game #5 - James River, VA (2) vs Esperanza, CA (3)
Game #6 - Jupiter, FL (6) vs Crespi, CA (9)
Game #7 - Vista Murrieta, CA (7) vs West Linn, OR (6) 11 innings
Game #8 - Bishop Amat, CA (3) vs St. Johns, DC (6)

Today's (Tuesday) games have some interesting match-ups... The match-ups worth noting are James River vs. Jupiter, Aptos vs. Calvert Hall and Vista Murrieta vs. St Johns.

Loser Game #1 Calvert Hall, MD vs Aptos, CA ___ at Field #1, 10:00am
Game #10 - Christian Brothers, TN vs Cottonwood, UT at Field #4, 12:00pm
Game #11 - James River, VA ___ vs Jupiter, FL ___ at Field #2, 10:00am
Game #12 - West Linn, OR ___ vs Bishop Amat, CA ___ Field #4, 4:00pm
Game #13 - Winner Game #1 ___ vs Seminole Ridge, FL ___ at Field #1, 2:00pm
Game #14 - Yucaipa, CA ___ vs Orange Lutheran, CA ___ at Field #3, 7:15pm
Game #15 - Esperanza, CA ___ vs Crespi, CA ___ at Field #2, 2:00pm
Game #16 - Vista Murrieta, CA ___ vs St. Johns, DC ___ at Field #3, 4:30pm

RT Staff

Monday, March 24, 2008

Little Change In The Polls, But Big Tournaments Dominate This Week.

1. Owasso High School-Oklahoma 8-0 (1)
5 straight wins on the road in Arizona at the Lancer Baseball Classic is more than enough to keep the mighty Rams on top of the polls this week.

2. Bishop Gorman HS - Nevada - 12-0 (2)
Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, NV,) is currently 12-0 after winning the Cleats National Invitational in Scottsdale, AZ this past week. They hit 12 home runs in the five games, including five in the 8-0 championship win over Rocky Mountain, CO. They hit the jackpot by setting a Cleats record with back-to-back-to-back home runs in the first inning of the championship game.

3. St. Johns College HS - Washington DC 3-0 (3)
The expected to play more than 3 games before they head off to very warm and sunny Anaheim to face Bishop Amat of California in the first game the Phil Nevin-Anderson Bat National Classic. 5 teams in our top twenty are in this tourney.

4.Grossmont HS - California - 10-1 (4)
This El Cajun, CA team is still scoring a lot of runs, but ran out of arms after 6 games in 6 days at the Lions tourney in San Diego. They ran into a tough Poway team that halted their 10 game win streak. This team though, can play and there won’t be many teams at the high school level that will be undefeated this year. They stay in our top ten and we look for another 10 game winning streak from this team

5. Don Bosco Prep - New Jersey - DNP (5)
The Ironmen have to be getting a bit rusty. They still haven’t played and they are one of only two teams that have yet to play a game in our top twenty.

6. Calvert Hall - Maryland – 2-0 (6)
No official games scheduled last week. They are in SoCal as we speak at the prestigious Phil Nevin. First up is El Dorado of California. They too may wish they had a few more games behind them prior to their trip to SoCal.

7. American Heritage - Florida - 13-1 (7)
The Patriots not only played traditional power Russell County of Seale, AL, they beat them handily, 10-3. They could move up the ladder with some key conference wins this week.

8. Jupiter - Florida - 14-1 (8)
This team is the real deal and has outscored it’s opponents 26-1 in the past three games. Let’s just say that the Warriors are one of the elite teams in the country.

9. Plant High School – Florida - 15-1 (12)
After outscoring their opponents 125-13 in just their last 7 games, they drop a close one to Jesuit 2-1. It happens. Despite the loss they still climb in our poll due to their dominating performances over tough Tampa competition.

10. Lake Brantley HS, Florida 11-0 (19)
The Patriots are averaging 12 runs a game over the past two weeks and move up considerably due to their perfect record.

11. Pleasure Ridge - Kentucky - DNP (16)
This is the only team that moves up for not playing. You'd think Kentucky was near the North Pole as late as they start. What's up with that? There can't be too much Pleasure in Pleasure Ridge without baseball.

12. Aptos HS - California - 11-1 (14)
They rack up two more wins and move up a notch. They too are in the Nevin and open up against Seminole Ridge of Florida.

13. Vista Murrietta - California – 8-2 (13)
They drop another tough one against Temescal Canyon, but can redeem themselves in the Nevin. Their first game is against a loaded West Linn of Oregon.

14. Poway – California – 9-2 (NR)
They have a remarkable team batting average of.355 and have swatted 15 Home Runs. Five players in their line-up are batting over .400. Four Titans are headed to D-I schools next year…Jason Brunansky, son of former Minnesota Twin Tom Brunansky, is going to Kansas, RHP Brian Busick is going north to Stanford and Alex Dickerson and LHP Drew Leininger to Indiana.

15. Sarasota - Florida - 7-1 (14)
They drop a game against Charlotte, then rebound against Plant City and Riverview. They drop, but not far.

16. Long Beach Wilson - California – 8-2 (10)
The Bruins dropped a game to Millikan 5-4 and then rebound to beat Jordan and Santa Margarita…but drop in our poll. As a pre-season #1 in most polls...they have a huge target on their back.

17. Barbe - Louisiana - 17-3 (19)
The reason the Buccaneers schedule so many games out of state is that no one in state can stay with them. They won five easily in the last 8 days and move up.

18. Alvin HS - Texas - 17-3 (12)
They drop two against Clear Creek, but we can’t ignore that they still have 17 wins. They drop a bit in our poll, but remain in the Top Twenty.

19. Highland Park HS, Texas (17-4) (18)
The Scots had some good wins against Pearce and Heritage.

20. Serra HS – California – 12-3 (NR)
They have reeled off 9 consecutive wins and their pitching staff is responsible for two back to back no-hitters and two more shut-outs. Over the last 28 innings, the Padres have allowed no runs and scored 39 and make it back into our Top Twenty.

Friday, March 21, 2008

April 9th NLI Signing Period is Coming Up

As the late NLI signing date nears in April, many have e-mailed us about the signing process. The following is right off the National Letter of Intent web site. It should answer most of the questions that you may have as April 9th nears. We ran this post in November and thought it would be appropriate to run it again.

Signing the National Letter of Intent

Who signs a National Letter of Intent?
Generally, only prospective student-athletes enrolling in a four-year institution for the first time sign a National Letter of Intent. Student-athletes who start their academic career at a four-year institution and then transfer to a junior college may also sign a National Letter of Intent if they plan on entering a second four-year institution.

How do I get a National Letter of Intent to sign?
The institution recruiting you will send you the National Letter of Intent. It can only come by express mail, courier service, regular mail, e-mail or facsimile machine. The materials you receive must include an offer of athletics financial aid for the entire academic year (two semesters or three quarters).

Is it OK for a school to send me my National Letter of Intent via e-mail?
Yes. It is permissible for an institution to provide a prospective student-athlete with a National Letter of Intent as an attachment to an e-mail, provided the offer of athletically-related financial aid is also included in the e-mail. In this situation, you should print out the NLI and financial aid agreement, sign two copies, and send one copy of each document back to the institution. (Be sure to keep the other copy for your records.)

Is a National Letter of Intent considered valid if I submit it to the institution via facsimile or electronically?
Yes. When you sign the National Letter of Intent you enter into an agreement with the institution. Fax and e-mail only represent the means by which you transmit the National Letter. Accordingly, a National Letter of Intent transmitted by facsimile or electronically is considered valid. In addition to sending the fax or e-mail, you should also return the hard copy of the National Letter to the signing institution. (Be sure to keep one copy of the NLI and financial aid agreement for your records.)

Can a coach be present when I sign the National Letter of Intent off campus? No. A coach cannot be present when you sign a National Letter of Intent off campus. Pursuant to NCAA Bylaw, any in-person, off-campus contact made with a prospect for the purpose of signing a National Letter of Intent or attendance at activities related to the signing of the National Letter of Intent is prohibited.

Is it permissible to receive a National Letter of Intent while on campus for an official or unofficial visit? Yes. While under the terms of the NCAA and National Letter of Intent program a coach or institutional representative may not hand-deliver a National Letter of Intent off campus, there is nothing that precludes you from receiving a National Letter of Intent while on campus for an official visit. Please remember that you may only sign a National Letter of Intent during a permissible signing period. Furthermore, signing a National Letter of Intent is a big commitment. Accordingly, it is strongly suggested that you consult your parent or legal guardian in this decision-making process.

When is the permissible time period for signing a National Letter of Intent? You may sign a National Letter of Intent only during the designated signing period. If you sign a National Letter of Intent outside the appropriate signing period, the National Letter of Intent shall be considered null and void. Presuming you are within the permissible signing period, you and your parent or legal guardian must sign the NLI and financial aid agreement within 14 days of issuance.

You may find the appropriate signing period for your sport on the Signing Dates page of the National Letter of Intent web site.

Am I required to sign the National Letter of Intent on the initial signing day for my sport? No. Signing the National Letter of Intent is voluntary at any and all times. Students are not required to sign the NLI on the first day of the signing period, commonly called "Signing Day" in the sport of football. Many students do choose to sign their NLI on the first available day to bring to an end the recruiting process, as the NLI recruiting ban goes into effect when the student signs the Letter. You should note NLI Provision 13 allows a student 14 days from the date the NLI is issued (or the initial signing date if the Letter is received before that date) to sign the Letter and still have it be declared valid.

If I do not live with a parent or legal guardian, is it necessary for a parent or legal guardian to sign the National Letter of Intent? Yes. If you are under the age of 21, regardless of marital status, your parent or legal guardian must sign the National Letter of Intent in order for it to be considered valid. If you are 21 years of age or older, it is not necessary for your parent or legal guardian to sign the document.

If my parent or legal guardian lives in a different location than I do, is it permissible to sign a Letter sent by facsimile or electronically? Yes. While not ideal, it is permissible to obtain signatures on a National Letter of Intent via fax or email. From a procedural stand point, you should make two copies of the fax or email and sign both individually. Once signed, you should retain a copy for your records and return the other copy to the institution. When the institution receives its copy, administrators will forward a copy to their conference office.

Can I sign a National Letter of Intent if I don't have a parent or legal guardian available to sign with me? Under specified circumstances. If your parent or legal guardian is not available (incarcerated, death, etc.), it is permissible for another individual to sign the NLI with you. He or she must be approved in advance by the Policy & Review Committee before you sign the NLI. In order to gain Policy & Review Committee approval, you should work with the school recruiting you to put together a statement with the following information: (1) Explain why your parent or legal guardian is unable to sign the NLI with you. (2) Include the name and signature of someone (not a coach or athletics administrator) who has agreed to sign with you. (3) Sign the statement yourself. (4) Have the school submit the statement and any supporting documentation to the NLI Policy & Review Committee for review and a decision.

If I sign a National Letter of Intent in one sport may I sign a second National Letter of Intent in a different sport? No. You may only sign one valid National Letter of Intent annually. Furthermore, when you sign a National Letter of Intent, the Letter is signed with an institution and not with a coach or with a specific sports team.

If I am going to walk on to the team, may I sign a National Letter of Intent?
No. An institution is strictly prohibited from allowing you to sign a National Letter of Intent if you are a non-scholarship walk-on. In order for a National Letter of Intent it be considered valid, it must be accompanied by an athletics financial aid award letter, which lists the terms and conditions of the award, including the amount and duration of the financial aid. The athletics financial aid offer must be signed by both the student and his or her parent or legal guardian. Simply put, there must be an athletics scholarship for a National Letter of Intent to be valid.

May I sign a National Letter of Intent before I am certified as eligible by the NCAA Eligibility Center?
Yes. You may sign a National Letter of Intent before you receive your final certification determination from the NCAA Eligibility Center. When you sign a National Letter of Intent you agree to submit the necessary information and documents to the NCAA. If you are classified by the NCAA Eligibility Center as a qualifier, the National Letter of Intent is considered valid. If you are classified as a nonqualifier pursuant to NCAA Bylaw 14.3, your National Letter of Intent is rendered null and void.

Where is my signed National Letter of Intent filed, and who is responsible for filing it?
You should sign your National Letter of Intent in duplicate. Once you have signed it twice, retain one copy of the signed Letter for your records. You should send the other copy back to the institution. When the institution receives your Letter, it will keep the signed document and forward a copy to its conference office. The institution must file your NLI with its conference office within 21 days after the date of final signature. If this filing deadline is not met, the Letter will be void.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Making The Grade

We were browsing the web and checking up on travel team sites, when we came across a commentary from the founder of NORCAL Baseball, the powerhouse travel organization from The Bay Area. They address the age cut-offs of youth and teen baseball and make a great point They state...

"that the organizers came up with an arbitrary birth date cutoff of August 1 to separate the age levels. In 2000, Little League, in conjunction with USA Baseball, decided to change the cutoff date to May 1 to be closer to the international baseball birth date cutoff (which is January 1) without going too far away from the previous date. Soon after, all youth baseball organizations followed suit: USSSA, Super Series, Triple Crown... The landscape of youth baseball as we know it changed dramatically. The best players have gravitated toward "travel" or "select" teams in search of the best competition."

With that change in age cut-off come big problems according to NORCAL.

"This "happy medium", new cutoff date has created a competitive unbalance for the lower levels and made an absolute mess at the upper age, elite level. For now, this commentary will address the upper age, elite level (14U-18U).

The new May 1 cutoff has changed the grade composition of aged-based teams. A 14 year old team previously consisted of 80% 8th graders and 20% freshmen. The present ratio is closer to 50-50. The obvious problem is half your team is playing high school baseball in the spring and your team is depleted. The bigger challenge is those 14 year old high school players are going to have to "play down" with kids a grade below during the summer months. They are not being challenged- therefore, they are not progressing."

As it relates to this blog, we couldn't agree more with the following statement.

"The other age group being affected most is the 16's. To reiterate, most 16 year old teams are now made up of half sophomores and half juniors. The college recruiting timeline has been moved up (for better or worse) almost a full year. It is not uncommon for juniors to verbally commit before they have played an inning of their junior year. Baseball Organizations are now asking a large group of juniors to "play down" with sophomores (and some freshmen). These juniors need to be playing with other juniors and seniors in venues will challenge their abilities and showcase their talents. Playing down is doing those kids a disservice."

Norcals solution is to make their program grade based...what a concept America! Hat's off to NORCAL for doing something that makes sense. That's exactly what recruiters want to see too! They want their job to less confusing. When they go to a tournament and see a bunch of players that they like, they shouldn't have to sift through the roster to see who's a prospect and who's a two year follow. They want to know up front that the team they are watching are all incoming sophomores, incoming juniors or uncommitted incoming seniors...period. Here's what NORCAL is doing and what the rest of the travel ball community should emulate...

"NorCal Baseball has decided to go to a grade-based classification for our teams. We made the change in our program for many reasons:

1. The first reason is that we felt our players needed to be challenged. They need to compete against players in the same grade or above. Those same players that they were competing against on the field were the same ones that they were being measured up to by the college coaches and pro scouts. Coaches and scouts don't recruit or draft by age. They do it by grade. In short; it is best for the player.

2. Norcal Baseball’s program has always been about helping our players get to the next level. When a college coach or pro scout watches one of our teams, the players are easily identified by their grade- thus, making the scout’s job easier.

Act or Re-act, what should we do? The older players need a change. The age classification currently in place does not work for what these players are trying to accomplish. Select Teams who want to change to the grade based teams feel they might be at a competitive disadvantage because they will be playing against “older” teams to a certain extent. The answer to that is simple- Is your program in it to win plastic trophies or to develop players to help get them to the next level? This will be NorCal Baseball’s, first full year of grade-based teams. The results in the fall were very promising. There is no question that the elite programs in the country will evolve to grade-based classifications. This is what is best for the student-athletes and this is what the college coaches and pro scouts want to see. The sooner we accomplish this, the better for the sake of the player."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Do Teams In Warm Weather States Play Better Ball?

This is a ongoing discussion that message boards from East Coast, West Coast and South Coast have been hotly debating for years. Alvin High School in the Greater Houston Area has already played 18 games. Contrast that to teams in the Northeast, Midwest and even Kentucky that haven't played a single game yet. Many of our Top Twenty teams in California, Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Nevada and Georgia have played at least 10 games thus far. Does that give them an advantage over their cold weather counterparts? We give a lot of credit to St. Johns College Prep of D.C and Calvert Hall of Maryland to put that theory to the test at two of the toughest tournaments Southern California has to offer in the Anderson Bat Classic and the prestigious Phil Nevin Classic.

Our money is on the Capitol Boys of St. Johns to do some damage at the Nevin. We aren't convinced that weather has any thing to do with the fact that they have 9 players committed to D-I's on this team. College recruiters didn't single these guys out because the pickings were slim. They signed them because they can play...all nine of them. They may have less games under their belt and may not be as "season ready", but playing in the SoCal warmth is a huge incentive to players that don't get a daily dose of this climate 12 months of the year.

And, that brings us to another point. Warm weather ballplayers aren't better all round athletes. They are just more seasoned. There may be just as good or better potential talent in Midland, Michigan...just not the ample time to play the game enough to be as good as many warm weather players that play year round. But, that's even changing. There are indoor facilities popping up everywhere. New Jersey could hold the record for the most indoor hitting facilities per capita. There seems to be a batting cage on every corner. Jersey does love it's does Virginia, Maryland, New York, Indiana, Michigan and other states that have something to prove to the rest of America that they too can play ball. Who would have thought that the University of Missouri would be ranked in the Top 10? Look at their roster...Mostly local kids. It just so happens courtesy of one of our corespondents in the Midwest, that Kansas City, St. Louis and other cities around the state of Missouri have tons of indoor batting cages to keep them in the "swing" of things.

There are other schools such as Ohio State that have entire indoor fields to practice on. As baseball becomes more of a revenue generating sport, we may just see more and more frost belt states investing in more indoor facilities and increasing the competitiveness of the players and their ability to compete over their sunbelt competitors. The question is...if you build it will they come? Can todays youth be excited to play and practice indoors if there is a foot of snow on the ground? Do the passions run as deep as they do in SoCal, where a player can play outdoors 365 days a year? It seems that in places like Missouri and Jersey...that they do. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the future.

Newcomers in The Bottom 10...No Change in The Top 10

1. Owasso High School-Oklahoma 5-0 (1)
Senior lefty Brian Flynn ran his record to 3-0 and first baseman Caleb Compton stroked a 2-run homer to lead the Rams to a 10-1 victory over Catalina (AZ) High School. This game marked the opening round of pool play in the Lancer Classic Tournament in Arizona.

2. Bishop Gorman HS - Nevada - 1-0 (2)
Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, NV) is holding up to all the National hype they are receiving. As of this weekend, they just completed a four-game sweep of four respectable Utah teams in a St. George, UT tournament to bring their season record to 7-0.Leading the way on the pitching mound are Univ. of Arizona signee, Donn Roach who is 1-0 with 10 K's in six innings, Univ. of San Diego Commit, Paul Sewald who is been masterful and is 2-0 with a 0.00 era in 10 innings and 7 K's. USA National Team member Jeff Malm (junior) has also showed command on the mound with a 1-0 record and 15 K's in 7 innings. Jeff Malm is also leading the way offensively with a .625 BA, 11 RBI, 6 2B and 1 HR. Univ. of So. California signee Brandon Garcia is showing his power at the plate batting .450, 11 RBI and 3 HR's in seven games.

3. St. Johns College HS - Washington DC 2-0 (3)
The Cadets are off to a good start with wins over pre-season favorite, Stafford and Potomac. Big test coming up on the 24th - 27th on the left coast at the Anderson Bat National Classic in Anaheim, CA.

4.Grossmont HS - California - 6-0 (4)
This El Cajun, CA team is still averaging over 12 runs a game and had big wins over Monte Vista and Valhalla.

5. Don Bosco Prep - New Jersey - DNP (5)
No game, no change

6. Calvert Hall - Maryland – 2-0 (6)
Avila and Dematha were no match for the Cardinals as they get their season off to a great start at 2-0. Spring Break has yet another East coast team traveling to SoCal to play in the prestigious and stacked Phil Nevin Classic.

7. American Heritage - Florida - 11-1 (7)
The Patriots lost and dropped to number 7 last week and remain here this week. But, only because nobody lost ahead of them. After their loss to Stephens County, they walloped their next three opponents by a combined score of 32-6. They have a huge test this weekend against traditional power, Russell County of Seale, AL.

8. Jupiter - Florida - 12-1 (8)
Like American Heritage, Jupiter has found it’s way. Four more wins last week against tough league competition. They could be playing some of the best baseball in the country right now.

9. Chapparel - Arizona - 8-1 (9)
After a close 3-0 win against Cactus Shadows the week prior, the Firebirds poured it on with an impressive 20-1 win in a rematch last week. Starting today, they have a big test in the Cleats National Invitational.

10. Long Beach Wilson - California - 6-1 (10)
Aaron Hicks-.571, Bryan Haver-.500 and Zach Wilson-.429 have found their groove and so have the Bruins, as they rack up two more wins last week..

11. Alvin HS - Texas - 17-1 (12)
We don’t know what's more amazing. The fact that Alvin has won 17 this early in the season…or the fact that they have played 18 games by mid March. They switch places with Vista Murrieta. If not for the perfect week by the teams ahead of it, this team should be ranked higher with impressive wins over some of the top teams in the Houston Area.

12. Plant High School – Florida - 11-0 (NR)
OF Preston Tucker is going to University of Florida, Maryland-bound Logan Welshand senior RHPs David Bergin/Georgia Southern and Tyler Stinson/Navy lead a potent attack and has propelled this team to the top of the Florida rankings. They also leap frog a bunch of teams in our poll.

13. Vista Murrietta - California – 7-1 (11)
A loss in the Loara Tourney championship is the only blemish the Broncos suffered, while adding 3 more wins.

14. Aptos HS - California - 9-1 (13)
Two more wins for the Aptos gang. This talented squad from Northern California has a couple of tough games ahead with up and comer Santa Cruz and Los Gatos, who has a win over a former RT Top Twenty team.

15. Sarasota - Florida - 7-1 (14)
An impressive 3-2 win over Lakleland for the Sailors is a good sign that this may be the team to beat come play-off time in the state of Florida.

16. Pleasure Ridge - Kentucky - DNP (17)
Is the weather that bad in Kentucky that they can’t get a game in before the end of this month? They move up because the two Virginia teams lost their home openers.

17. Centennial - California - 7-1 (18)
Three more big wins kept the Golden Hawks in the Top Twenty.

18. Highland Park HS, Texas (15-3) (NR)
The Scots of Dallas have had a great year thus far with Baylor-bound IF Joey Hainsfurther, Arkansas-bound IF Johanthan Perlman, OF Seth Gardner and New Mexico State-bound RHP Travis Jones.

19. Lake Brantley HS, Florida 5-0 (NR)
Florida-recruit Greg Larsen, Central Florida-bound D.J. Hicks, Miami-bound OF Ted Blackman are the stalwarts of this potent offense.

20. Barbe - Louisiana - 13-3 (19)
As we said last week, we have to give credit to the Buccaneers for scheduling so many teams out of state, despite their 3 losses.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Got Core?

RT Staff Note: We will update our Top Twenty in tomorrows post. Here's another submission courtesy of Jon Doyles web site from Norman Eng.

By Norman T. Eng, DC, CSCS

Welcome to the first installment of Baseball Core Training.

Every time I turn on the TV, there's a new commercial with a buffed up guy or waif looking woman promoting a new ab machine. All these little contraptions make excellent door stops, and are great if you have an empty house and you're looking for a new household ornament to fill space. Whichever commercial I encounter, they all seem to relay the same message: ripped abs means you have a great core! Ehmm. Sure. The reality is that a truly strong core extends far beyond the beach body six pack.

The concept of core training really amuses me. When I was a trainer in the gym, I would walk through the crowded aisles, listening to the sounds of clunking iron and witnessing unsightly visuals of the meatheads wrapped in sleeveless spandex, which they call workout clothes, admiring their shredded abs (and more often not so shredded) in the mirror. What's more entertaining is the weekend warrior doing 500 crunches a day to try and eliminate the 6 pack a day stomach. Adjacent to this guy would be an aspiring athlete with a $2 Fruit of the Loom tank top, pumping biceps curls while standing on 1 leg.

Without even asking these misled athletes, I would immediately know what they were TRYING to do….work the core. They probably saw the exercise in a magazine or on TV, and as we all know, it must be good since it was in a magazine or on TV, right? WRONG!! Unbeknownst to the misinformed and their brethren, the only thing that they're doing is succumbing to the fallacies spewed out by the media. How will this help you in athletic greatness? With all the information spread about core training, let's get to the truth and what needs to be done to achieve optimal performance.

The Core and Core Stability

Firstly, what is the core and core stability? Your everyday Joe or Jane thinks core refers to rippling abs that look great in a bathing suit, but that's incomplete. In reference to core, there are numerous muscles involved. Depending on the field of practice, differing ideas have emerged. From a clinical perspective, the core, also known as the inner unit, consists of the following muscles according the works of Vleeming(1), Lee(2), and Gracovetsky(3):

Superiorly - Respiratory diaphragm
Inferiorly - Pelvic diaphragm
Posteriorly - Lumbar Multifidus
Antero-Posterior - Transversus Abdominis

Spinal Column
These muscles are deep and not muscles you can see in your mirror. Currently, it is proposed that these muscles co-contract through external loading and help facilitate ballistic and normal movements in activities of daily living. Internal/external Oblique and rectus abdominus are also critical components of core stability.

According to McGill, when all of these muscles contract in symphony, it creates stiffness far superior than any single muscle group4. These muscle groups must activate within milliseconds prior to arm movements and hip movements5, 6. Thus, we can conclude that stiffening of the spine by the core muscles precedes movements of the extremities. Furthermore, greater contraction is required if these movements are ballistic and abrupt.

Let's review the performance requirements for a baseball player. They need to possess explosive lateral movement, quick feet, seamless hand/eye coordination, power, flexibility, linear speed, and the reflexes of a ninja. All of these factors require that the body, particularly the core, create maximal contraction in a ballistic fashion. Translation, core contraction has to be explosive and powerful.

To create maximal amplitude and speed of muscle contraction, let's try and envision how a single leg bicep curl will create maximal and explosive contraction in the core. That's right, it doesn't. So get rid of your $30 ab roller you bought off of an infomercial, stop doing 500 crunches a day, stand on 2 feet when working out, and follow a well-guided core regimen like the one found on Jon Doyle's Unbreakable Abs DVD.

About Norman Eng, D.C., C.S.C.S

Dr. Norman Eng is owner of 14th Street Chiropractic based in Atlanta, GA, which specializes in the conservative management of neuromusculoskeletal conditions. He is a certified Graston Technique and Active Release Technique provider. Dr. Eng is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). In 2005, he coached the boys' Wethersfield High School 4x100m relay team to All-American status at the Nike Outdoor Nationals.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Rewind...Are JC's Right For You?

We have mostly talked on this site about how to go about how to go about getting recruited by 4 year colleges and little about Junior Colleges. We don’t mean to slight JC’s. In fact, Junior College baseball is in many cases a perfect fit for some high school players. And, like D-I, D-II and NAIA, JC’s offer scholarships at the NJCAA-I and NJCAA-II level.

There are many reasons to go to a JC, but like the four year colleges, we at Rounding Third stress that you go to a place of higher get an matter if it's a D-I or JC. If a player is going to a JC to improve his academic standing to get into a better four year college, then that needs to be the focus. While he is accomplishing that goal, he can also enjoy the great, competitive baseball environment that many JC’s offer. JC baseball is sort of a hybrid that combines the local schedule of highschool ball with the rigors of long bus rides to other regional or cross state match-ups. This provides many young freshmen a chance to ease into what it would be like at a four year, while they concentrate on getting their academics in order at the same time.

Another reason to attend a JC is if certain players didn’t get accepted into their list of four year selections, due to size or developing ability. Many four year coaches and recruiters will tell a prospect with potential to use the Junior College to work with the strength and conditioning coaches to develop a stronger core, build more muscle and quickness. That alone, in many cases can build a players confidence as well. After that, it is up to the baseball coaches to develop the talent. Many JC’s have year round conditioning that include fall scrimmages and games, winter work-outs to get ready for the long season ahead. But more importantly, it gives that player a chance to play.

Let’s say a very good player gets a small offer from a D-I, but he has two established sophomores ahead of him in his primary and secondary positions. It may behoove that player to go to a JC to develop and play, rather than sit the bench his first two years in college. And yet another scenario involves enrolling in a four year college and playing for a close-by JC that is known to be a feeder to that school. That's a win-win for both the player and the 4 year coach, because the player gets a better chance to play and also enjoy the atmosphere of college life away from home. The 4 year coaches have the advantage of keeping close tabs on what could be their future player in their own backyard.

Finally, there are some players that may have been drafted in the later rounds (15th and higher) and choose to play at the JC to improve their draft status the following year. Unlike four year colleges, in which a player is not eligible for the draft until after his junior year, a JC player is eligible both years that he attends that JC. Including the year after high school, that player could possibly be drafted three times before his junior year. In some cases, a MLB team could draft a player and then hold the rights to that player until next year. That way, they have a full year to evaluate his progress throughout the summer. If into the fall and spring seasons, all goes well with the players progress, that MLB team could then exercise their right to sign him in the ten days prior to the next draft. This is called a “Draft and Follow”.

So we have covered D-I, small colleges and now JC’s and there are advantages to all. Bottom line, really study all of your options hard and do what is best for you and the career path you choose to follow in your adult life.

Rounding Third Staff

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Friday Night Lights

We recently attended a high school game under the lights a few Fridays ago. The atmosphere was outstanding. There were over 500 fans, barbecue pits were blazing, popcorn popping and seeds being spit. The largest contingent were the students...something you don't always see at a 3:30 start time afternoon baseball contest. It was the social event of the night with boys and girls from the entire area there to meet, socialize and watch some good ball.

Is High School ball missing out by not playing night games more often? The host school made some good money charging at the door and with their food concessions. In fact, they may have made more money than their basketball or even football teams this particular night. I heard many students after the game proclaim, "We have to come to more games...This was a blast." Yes it was.

Now there are more than a good number of schools that don't have that luxury of lights...but, if there is a local venue or park with lights that can accommodate a game, we highly suggest that high schools explore more than a few weekend night games this year. Having a full stadium with a schools students in the stands supporting their team is electric. It's also good for the game, great morale booster for the players and an excuse for the local media to cover a high school game. It also can make baseball a self sustaining revenue generator for the school. Several thousand dollars were made at the game we attended. And, with our economy faltering to the point that states are making cut-backs in education and sports programs, it's a real good time for baseball to start supporting itself the way football and basketball does.

It's America's Past Time folks. Let's promote it as such.

RT Staff

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Follow Up

As a follow up to yesterday's post from Carmen Bucci, we would like to reiterate that any players that have been getting interest from recruiters via e-mail or letters, should take the time to respond with meaningful information. If a player was participating in a showcase or high profile tournament and had a good showing at these events, then recruiters may send out letters to prospects stating that they were impressed by what they saw at those events. A player may get several letters a piece from various colleges and their recruiters. Unfortunately, many players don't know what to do when they receive these letters and many are ignored altogether. Why? Players don't know how to repond to those letters and that's the focus of this post.

Thank Them
First, a player should tell the recruiters that he appreciates the interest and if it is a school he is interested in, he should tell them that he will be following their team as well and that their team is on his list of schools he wants to attend.

Send them Stats
Many recruiters are assistant coaches and don't have time to follow a players progress at high school games, so a player should send them his stats and highlights. They will apreciate the information. Remember, they sent the letter to the player becuase they saw something they liked at a weekend or weeklong event. However, they will still want to know how a player stands up over an entire high school season. This is the one time it's OK for a player to brag about himself a bit. The recruiting game is like a job interview. A player has to sell himself and convince the recruiters that he is the best choice for them.

Compliment Them
If a player is truly interested in a certain school, follow them on Gametracker and "watch" their games. Players should compliment them on their wins to show that he is genuinely interested in their school and has become a fan. This shows that the player is not only enthusiastic, but has a love for the game as well.

Do it Yourself must take the initiative. Parents...don't do it for them. College is all about independence and self expression...this exercise is a great start to practice his future independence.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

You Make the Call…Literally

RT Staff Note: The following is from Carmen Bucci, President of The Complete Athlete. Carmen teaches high school athletes how to communicate better with their current coaches, college coaches and/or professional scouts. He is a great resource and if players want to get serious about the recruiting process...Carmen's site is a must see.

By Carmen Bucci...
Sometimes how you say something is more important than what you say. We’ve all heard the phrase, “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” In this day and age of text messaging, instant messaging, and whatever other kind of messaging that High School Students create on a daily basis, that phrase has never been more true…Especially in the realm of Athletic Recruiting.

Do you prefer to get an e-card wishing you a Happy Birthday or Congratulations, or a phone call? I know it’s the thought that counts, and sometimes those animated cards are very funny….sometimes. Personally, I like getting a phone call, and so do college coaches. You don’t have to call and wish them a Happy Birthday, but instead of sending emails all the time, do something to separate yourself from the pack. Sure emails are easy, quick, and it’s what we do now, but that doesn’t mean it’s always the best means of communication. Are you going to email everyone on your team during the game? NO. You need to be able to communicate with the coaching staff, and your teammates. Show that to the college coaches right now, in high school.

In the business of Athletic Recruiting, it’s essential to develop relationships with college coaches. Think of it this way….. In high school, people start to date. Doesn’t it feel good to get a phone call from someone that you like and find out that they like you too? Of course it does. Or, how about getting a call from someone that you didn’t know likes you, but they happen to be the perfect person for you? Great, right? Well, that goes for college coaches too, especially if you want to be the one that gets offered the scholarship. One way to start the relationship is to write a letter to a coach. Another way is to send an email. But one of the most effective ways is still verbal communication. You won’t have the opportunity to meet face to face with every coach during the recruiting process, and some of the time you’ll get recruited off of your video and through conversations over the phone. A coach is going to feel more confident about the decision to offer you a scholarship, if he’s gotten a chance to get to know you, over time, as a player and especially a person. Remember, their reputations and their jobs are on the line based on who they recruit, and the results that come of it.

If you’re interested in some schools, and you fit in there academically and athletically, pick up the phone and call the coaches. They would love to hear from you! I know what you’re thinking, “There are rules about when a coach can talk to me.” Not True! There may be rules about when coaches can call you, but there are no rules as far as you calling them…Big difference (See for phone call dates for each sport). As a student-athlete, you can call a coach anytime you’d like. By you picking up the phone, you’re showing those coaches that you’re really interested in their school and their athletic program. Coaches want to recruit athletes that want to be there. And many coaches use that phone call to get a better idea about you as a person. How you come across on that first phone call, whether initiated by you or the coach, can have a huge impact on whether the process goes any further. Some coaches translate how you communicate on the phone to your ability to handle the academic, social, and athletic environment at their school.

Always have some questions ready by the phone. Be prepared. You never know when a coach will call. Don’t you prepare for a test, or an athletic competition? Don’t tell me you’re not prepared for the phone call. This could be your one shot to make a great first impression. Remember, it’s not mom or dad’s job to call the coach. Coaches are recruiting you for their team, not your parents. The best line I’ve heard from a coach about parents calling is, “We’ve never recruited a kid whose parents didn’t think they were good enough.” Like anything else, if you want it, you have to go and get it.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Shake-Up in The HS Top Twenty

RT Staff Note: There were many losses by Top Twenty Teams. Two teams dropped out and two appear for the first time. It was a crazy week. That's baseball.

1. Owasso High School - Oklahoma - 3-0 (5)
The Rams capped off the week with a 8-1 victory over Bishop Kelly. Ace Brian Flynn struck out 11 of the first 12 batters and allowed only 4 hits. Flynn is 2-0 on the season with 26 strikeouts in just two games.

2. Bishop Gorman HS - Nevada - 1-0 (10)
Big opening day win for the Gaels with a 12-1 win over Western HS. This week will be a big test for the Las Vegas school with 7 games over 7 days.

3. St. Johns College HS - Washington DC DNP (3)
They get #3 by default. But we bet they rather be playing.

4.Grossmont HS - California - 4-0 (11)
This El Cajun, CA team is averaging 14 runs a game and has a team batting average of .410, led by Charlie Prio(.538) and Derek Baum (.533).

5. Don Bosco Prep - New Jersey - DNP (8)
Another ranking by default due to teams suffering losses last week.

6. Calvert Hall - Maryland - DNP (9)
Doesn't seem fair but they get the six spot by default.

7. American Heritage - Florida - 8-1 (2)
The Patriots start off 8-0 but drop from #2 due to a loss to Stephens County in Toccoa, GA. Stephens held the Patriots to just 5 hits, with 2 coming from AFLAC All American, Eric Hosmer.

8. Jupiter - Florida - 8-1 (6)
Another top 10 team starts 8-0, but loses a tough one Friday night to Palm Beach Gardens 12-8. We are impressed with their start and quality wins, so they drop only two spots.

9. Chapparel - Arizona - 8-1 (4)
They play a very tough schedule and a 11-10 loss to Desert Mountain causes them to slip in the rankings. They play in the Cleats National Invitational in the next few weeks, so the schedule doesn't get any easier. Can they keep their Top Ten status?

10. Long Beach Wilson - California - 4-1 (1)
After Katella HS held Aaron Hicks and Zach Wilson to a combined 1 hit, in their win over LB, the dynamic duo went on a bit of a tear with Hicks hitting .583 and Wilson .353. They just need some production out of the rest of their line-up. They stay in the top 10, but need more than just Hicks and Wilson to stay there going forward.

11. Vista Murrietta - California - 4-0 (13)
Four tough road wins is an impressive start to the season. Brian Venezuala (.625), Charlie Gorzo (.545) and Derek Legg (.500) lead VM's attack.

12. Alvin HS - Texas - 15-1 (NR)
This team came from nowhere and has big wins over Cy-Fair and College Park, who also beat Cy-Fair. Despite the one loss, they have 15 wins, which in baseball is another way of saying that these guys compete!

13. Aptos HS - California - 7-1 (7)
This Northern California teams started 7-0, but just lost a 2-1 battle with Top 20 newcomer Valley Christian of San Jose. Their tough schedule and roster of D-1 players keeps them in the top half of the second ten.

14. Sarasota - Florida - 4-1 (14)
A win over Riverview gets the Sailors back on track.

15. Paul IV - Virginia - DNP (15)
They stay put.

16. James River - Virginia - DNP (16)

17. Pleasure Ridge - Kentucky - DNP (17)

18. Centennial - California - 5-1 (18)
Three big wins kept the Golden Hawks in the Top Twenty.

19. Barbe - Louisiana - 11-2 (19)
They either win big or lose ugly. But, since they travel long distances for their games, we'll keep then in the Twenty despite two losses. They are averaging 11 runs a game...mostly on the road, which is a sign of a very good team

20. Valley Christian - California - 7-1 (NR)
This San Jose school was ranked in other polls and they have big wins over San Benito, Aptos, and Elk Grove. Their only loss was to WCAL league rival Mitty. They have three D-1 signees in Jonathan Hughes (Santa Clara U), Anthony Kupbens (UC Davis)and Michael Reiling (San Jose State).

Friday, March 7, 2008

Make a Difference

The article we ran yesterday is one of our favorites from High School Baseball Web...and, it serves as the focus of our post today. One of the key points Bob Howdershell makes is “A “player” never changes his game, no matter what the score." Today, we watched the emotional press conference from Brett Favre. As an athlete, there was no player that epitomizes that statement more than Brett. He brought his "A" game to every contest he ever played from the time he was a kid. It was practically ingrained in his DNA. His self discipline started early in his life.

Favre started for the Hancock North Central baseball team as an eighth-grader (there's our baseball reference to this story folks) and earned five varsity letters. He played quarterback, lineman, strong safety, placekicker and punter in a primarily option, run-oriented offense coached by his father, Irvin Favre. After high school, Southern Mississippi offered Favre a scholarship (the only one he received). Southern Miss wanted him to play defensive back but Favre wanted to play quarterback instead. Favre began his freshman year as the seventh-string quarterback and took over the starting position in the second half of the third game of the year against Tulane on September 19, 1987 and led the Golden Eagles to a come-from-behind victory with two touchdown passes.[7] In his junior season, Favre led the Golden Eagles to an upset of Florida State (then ranked sixth in the nation) on September 2, 1989. Favre capped a six-and-a-half-minute drive with the game-winning touchdown pass with 23 seconds remaining.

That kind of success only comes with determination, hard work, and belief in yourself and your dreams. If you look at the top baseball players in the game today, you will find those same traits that propelled Brett to the greatest quarterback in the game today. A-Rod takes 500 swings a day. Jeter takes hundreds of ground balls...there are countless stories of players going that extra mile, seeing the bigger picture, to make themselves better...but it all started when they were young. They didn't get to the Bigs and all of a sudden, decided to work on their game. They were working on their game with that same work ethic since they were kids. That's what made them better and that's what made scouts take notice. It may be the little things that make scouts take a look, but a player has to look at the bigger picture too. High school's not too late. Have a plan and stick to it. It will seem like hard work at first...but as one of my coaches used to say...The Harder you Work, The Easier It Gets.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Little Things Count

RT Staff Note: I guess the best thing about being a blog is that the rules are a bit different. We try to write as much of our content as we can, but our real jobs sometimes get in the way. We have always admired this article written by Bob Howdershell for High School Baseball Web…personally one of our favorite sites…just because it’s regular posters are the most passionate baseball fans we have ever seen. Enjoy this article…

By: Bob Howdeshell
High School Baseball Web

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to be allowed to sit with several college coaches as they evaluated talent at a very good high school baseball tournament. This was a small tournament with only six invited teams, held at a major division 1 college campus. A “showcase” tournament.

No player’s names are being used, no teams are being mentioned and I will try to stay as generic as possible with the description of these players. The focus of this article is to make a point, not to embarrass any particular player.
The following are some of the comments and discussions that I was allowed to listen in on:

The first involves a player with a “national reputation” listed as a top prospect in several sources that I am familiar with. He is a position player. The coaches were in agreement that this player had several nice tools …. Good arm strength, good glove and good speed. The question that each of them had was his ability to hit at the upper end of college baseball.

Some coaches told me that the solid tools that the player had would make him a prospect to them even without “plus” hitting abilities. What happened next amazed even me. The player was struggling with his bat but showed flashes of an “upside.” However on defense the player did not move well. Did not show good anticipation, did not follow foul balls (showing a jump). More often than not only moved from his position if he was involved in the play.

Some of the coaches REALLY did not like the “lazy” (their words – not mine) attitude shown. On a couple of stolen base attempts (where the player was covering the bag) he did not make an attempt to stop a “less than perfect” throw. Basically he flagged at the ball and got out of the way.

One coach told me that he wanted players that were interested in “sticking their nose in there and getting dirty.” This coach is with a team that would be considered a “national power.”

Some of the coaches told me that they would have to see the player again – later this summer before making any decision regarding a potential scholarship offer. Other coaches told me that they probably would not pursue this player any further.

Next Up - A right handed pitcher that was throwing solidly in the upper 80’s. He has a slight movement on his fastball, an okay breaking ball and a fair change-up.

This player however did impress many of the coaches. WHY ????
He did not have his best control at times. At times was getting penalized by a “moving” and small strike zone, and had 5 errors made behind him, by his defense. What caught the coach’s attention was his ability to battle and keep challenging the hitters. He did not drop his head or slump his shoulders when things went against him. He showed no expression when a ball was called on an obvious strike. He even went so far as to walk over and speak to his second baseman, after a costly error and then pat him on the back as he walked away. The coaches I was sitting near did not miss this!

Each of the coaches that I spoke to admitted that they did not have the player on their lists of potential recruits. Each also said that they would be making a point to see the player pitch again this summer. This player became a prospect with several “big time” schools on a day when he was the losing pitcher and did not have his best stuff. Because of his attitude and the heart he showed.

Third Example: Is a big first baseman. This young man does not run like a gazelle, does not have a great arm. (average at best) He is not what you would term “athletic” but he is not fat. However he made points with several of the coaches in attendance.

Of course you have guessed it by now …. The young man can hit with the best of them. There is a little more to the story though. He can hit to all fields with power. He displayed a good ability to “go with a pitch.” He showed a good knowledge of the strike zone. I personally did not see him chase a bad pitch.

With runners on second and third and no outs in a one run ball game this young man hit a ground ball to the right side of the infield. He did this with a 2-strike count. He made an out and the run scored. He did his job for his team.

He hit a home run or two over the weekend, a double or two to the spacious gaps, had several “screaming” singles, but more importantly he hustled! This player ran hard on and off the field, every inning He did not quit as most of his teammates did in a blow out loss at one point in the tournament. As one pro scout commented to me …. “A “player” never changes his game, no matter what the score. A “player” plays as hard if his team is behind seven runs or ahead seven runs, or if his team is in a one run ballgame."

If you think that college coaches and professional scouts do not notice the “little things” you are mistaken. As one coach told me …. “We have to pay attention to each of the intangibles, it is the only real separator between some of these guys.” He went on to explain that each recruiting year they will have several players on their board that are essentially equal in athletic skills and ability. What then makes the difference is the “Little Things.”

So the next time you think that it doesn’t matter how you hustle or present yourself maybe you should revisit that part of your game. As another coach told me … “A player can hustle and give his maximum effort even on a day when he and/or his team is not playing their best game. It doesn’t take any athletic ability to hustle.”

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Rewind...What Colleges Should You Contact?

Did you know that there are 270 NCAA Division I programs? Are you good at math? That's over 9,400 student/athletes on D-1 baseball rosters right now. Want more? There are 1,200 Division II, Division III, NAIA, and Junior College teams. (See link of NCAA Colleges that have baseball teams in the Sidebar to the right under Useful Sites and Links)Based on the same 35 man roster, there are 42,000 active players at D-2 or lower. No problem right? Your son should be a shoe-in to play college ball...Right???? Well, not exactly. There are several other factors you should consider before you start packing up the trailer for college. First and foremost, college baseball doesn't usually hand out 100% scholarships. In fact, they are required to only offer 33%. If you want more than that and want to attend a top school, the your son better be one of the top 100 players in the country. If he isn't, here's help...

If your son is a freshman, start researching camps and showcases and make sure he is on one of the top travel teams...If he is a sophomore...start now!!!

Grades and Talent

You hear stories about how easy academics are for student athletes in college...Well, it is NOT! Especially in baseball. If your son is to play at the college level he must have good grades...period!!! He must also have projectable baseball tools that the college programs are looking for to fill their immediate needs.

As soon as he enters high school, his focus should be on the books. Establish a good grade point early, because as he gets older and the demands of high school baseball get greater, he will need some cushion. But high school baseball is only a small part of the process. In the summer, he needs to get serious and attend "select" camps at colleges where he might want to go to school, and play on a competitive select, travel ball summer and fall team. Scouts tend to follow the teams with the better athletes that enter the better tournaments. Simple economy of scale.

In the summer following his sophomore year, he should develop a list of realistic schools -- Again be realistic...that list should be all inclusive...from junior colleges to top 50 D-1 or D-2 programs. Parents should listen at the camp and showcase scouts...they will tell you what level your son can play or what he needs to work on to get there.

The following is an excerpt from Baseball Parent Magazine...

...How do you market your son's baseball talents? Who might really be interested in him? How many -- if any -athletic "exemptions" (special academic consideration for athletes) do prospective colleges allow? Where does your son want to play? What will determine where he chooses to play? And will anyone help you with the search? Probably / maybe not. You and your son just may have to do it all by yourselves.

For starters, his high school coach may be too busy to worry about your son's college career. On the other hand, he might be a great help in steering your son to the best program, for him. He might take the initiative to send introductory letters to coaches notifying them of your son's interest in playing college ball and his legitimacy as a prospect. He might also provide spring, summer and fall game schedules and post-season statistics. Over the course of a several month recruiting process, he might spend hours on the telephone with coaches promoting your son. Some coaches may even spend still more hours helping your family weigh his decision.

Early on in the process you'll want to assess the reputations of college baseball programs that are of interest. Eventually you'll want to make visits to check out baseball facilities; the coaching staff; the quality of the program; the off-season conditioning and training facilities; the number of fall, intersquad, exhibition, and regular season games (which could be as many as 100); and to check out the community support.

Explore the possibility of signing early, in November of your son's senior year. For some families, this can be a good decision, because it could spare your son the frustration of a prolonged search and allow him to enjoy a less anxious senior year waiting to see who wants him. If an early signing is an option, college visits should begin during the fall or winter of your son's junior year.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

HS Coaches...Make Sure Your Players Are Placed for the Summer

This year, more than ever, it is nearly impossible for a college program to scout a high school game. Because of the insane ruling the NCAA imposed on all college teams, baseball didn't start until Feb. 22nd this year. Now, in order to squeeze in 56 games by the same ending date, college teams are scheduling 5 games a week. They have no time to see high schools play. The recruiters are usually the assistant coaches. They are needed at the games and at home.

Therefore, more and more recruiters are going to rely on the big name showcases and tournaments to scout talent. As we have stated many times on Rounding Third, Showcases and high profile tournaments are the most cost effective way to see a huge group of prospects at one place. Gone are the days of the traveling recruiter paying a visit to Johnnies home. The state of the college recruiting biz is a sophisticated and intense procedure. With college baseball approaching top revenue status with new TV contracts with CSTV, Fox, Comcast and ESPNU, there is accountability at stake here. Even without the shortened season, recruiters already embraced the showcase and tourney scene because it gave them an opportunity to see the best playing the best. Occasionally they would head over to a high school game if time allowed, but now there is no time.

The solution? Coaches...your high profile players...if they haven't done so already, need to be placed on teams that will benefit their chances to play at the next level. Don't have time? Consider the lack of time a college coach has with year round conditioning, fall ball scrimmages, and media guide prep. They still find the time to place their players in summer leagues from the Cape, to Northwood’s, to Alaska to the Carolinas. This is a tremendous opportunity for their players, because like travel ball, many of these elite summer leagues combine the best of all the colleges. Why do the college coaches place them in that situation? Mr. Obvious says that it's to make them better players.

So, why should high school coaches place their players? Plain and simple...Travel ball is better competitive baseball and it will make them better there is the added benefit that they will be noticed by the dozens of scouts that will attend those venues that they play in. Now HS baseball is better baseball from the aspect of team camaraderie, school spirit, bigger crowds and tons of local press...Don't misunderstand what we are saying...Travel ball, by virtue of the top all league players all playing on one team against alike teams is what makes it more competitive. So, it's a win-win for the player and the HS coach. The player gets better and the coach gets a more seasoned, tougher leader next season. It's not too late...get on the phone now...Travel the high school coaches...we have hundreds of you reading this blog everyday. Use the college coach analogy when explaining the benefits of travel ball...

Monday, March 3, 2008

High School Top Twenty-Week 2

RT Staff Note: There were more than a few teams that suffered a loss or two. Therefore, we dropped a few out of our top twenty if they were in the bottom half of the poll. There are a few that had a loss that stayed in by virtue of a loss against a cross town rival or another very competitive team in the area.

1. LB Wilson-California - 1-0 (1)
So far, so good for LBW. It’s surprising in this warm weather climate of Long Beach that they only have 1 game under their belt, but according to their schedule, they have a few tournaments ahead.

2. American Heritage-Florida - 6-0 (2)
It’s a great start for this small Florida school with big name talent. In their 6 wins, they outscored their opponents 52-20.

3. St Johns-Washington DC - DNP (3)

4. Chapparel-Arizona - 4-0 (4)
They compete in a tough conference, but that doesn’t stop this team from also scheduling tough non-conference foes. They have fared very well early including a big 6-2 WIN over perennial power Horizon.

5. Owasso-Oklahoma - DNP (6)

6. Jupiter-Florida - 6-0 (15)
Big jump for Jupiter…all based on their record and what they did to their opponents. The big Jupiter bats dominated, outscoring opponents 48-6.

7. Aptos- California - 6-0 (11)
They are proving us right. Not many thought they should be ranked so high. We disagree. Included in their 6 wins were tough battles over Bellarmine and Gilroy.

8. Don Bosco-New Jersey – DNP (7)

9. Calvert Hall-Maryland – DNP (9)

10. Bishop Gorman- Nevada- DNP (10)

11. Grossmont-California 1-0 (NR)
They crack our top twenty due to more than a few losses last week. They have a D-1 star in Josh Simms, who will be attending University Of the Pacific. They also have contributors Bryan Haar and Levi Stevens.

12. CY-Fair-Texas - 6-1 (5)
They did rack up 6 wins, which is admirable in the tough and baseball rich Houston area. We dropped them down, but not out. Their loss was to College Park.

13.Vista Murrietta – Unknown (20)
They played, but there’s no record anywhere what the results were. By virtue of teams dropping out, we moved them up anyway.

14. Sarasota-Florida - 3-1 (13)
We said that this team would lose a few, due to their highly competitive schedule and we were right. We didn’t think it would be this early, but we didn’t move them much because this team is good.

15. Paul IV-Virgina – DNP (14)

16. James River-Virginia – DNP (16)

17. Pleasure Ridge Park-Kentucky- DNP (NR)
A newcomer to our poll…When you have a coach that has over 800 wins and did so in only 28 seasons…Let’s see that’s over 28 wins per season. They deserve to be here.

18. Centennial-California - 2-1 (17)
A loss to Bakersfield’s Liberty, 7-6, knocked this high flying team back down to earth, but they remain in our poll, just down a few notches.

19. Barbe-Louisiana - 8-1 (18)
They still won 8 games…not bad, so they too, remain in the Top Twenty. Their only loss was to Florida Christian in the Houston Invitational.

20. Chatsworth-California – 2-0 (NR)
Two good wins against Fillmore and Calabassas propels this perennial power into the top Twenty. This team just may move up and up as the season progresses.