Not a lot of states in action yet but plenty of storylines to follow in the southern part of the country. Including some great pitching performances by big time prospects in Florida and Texas as well as an impressive hitting streak.
Florida: #23 Tampa Jesuit opened new 500-seat Hyer Family Park Saturday night by beating rival Tampa Catholic 4-3 in 8 innings. Former Minnesota Twin and Jesuit alum Brad Radke threw out the first pitch. RHP/SS Lance McCullers, the #1 ranked player in the 2012 class, threw 4 innings allowing one hit and two earned runs, while striking out ten. The Tigers moved to 2-1after dropping their opener to Jefferson 5-4 and beating Lennard 17-0.
#1 Gulliver Prep split two games over the weekend. They lost 11-5 to American Heritage on Thursday as Esteban Puerta, Brandon Sedell, and Mike Marlin each picked up three hits for Heritage. Gulliver bounced back with an 11-1 win Saturday over Westminster Christian. John Ruiz had a huge day at the plate with a pair of doubles and 5 RBI. Ramsey Diaz had 3 hits and 2 RBI as well.
Gulliver is part of a very intriguing Florida-Georgia Challenge in the Valdosta area this weekend. Other Florida teams making the trip north are Florida Christian, Ponte Vedra, and Pace. The Georgia schools are #9 Columbus, #25 Parkview, Pope, Lowdnes, and Valdosta.
Alabama: Oxford, the host team of tournament that included some of the top teams in the state, had a big weekend with four wins including a 7-5 victory over defending 6A champion Auburn, and a 16-8 win over Clay Chalkville.
OF Matthew Goodson continued his sizzling start with 6 homers on the week. On the day Saturday he went 8-11 with two homers, three doubles and 9 RBI. For more information on the tournament check out our High School News and Notes Blog.
Mississippi: Saturday’s Petal vs. Sumrall matchup lost a bit of its luster with Sumrall’s loss Friday night to Forrest County Ag, as well as Petal star OF Anthony Alford absence (recovering from football injury), but the game turned out to be one of the best of the weekend. In a back and forth affair, it looked like Cody Conkle’s three-run 5th inning home run to give Petal a 6-4 lead would be the difference, especially after he set the Bobcats offense down in order in both the 5th and 6th. But the Sumrall offense rallied in the 7th, scoring three runs capped by a walk-off single by Luke Lowery.
The heartbreaking loss for Petal adds even more intrigue to a March 26th rematch. The two teams opened the season ranked 1-2 in Mississippi baseball polls and look to again be two title contenders as well as Top 50 teams in the nation. For more on this game check out our 3 Up/3 Down in our High School Baseball Forum.
Texas: The Woodlands (#38) dominated defending 5A state champions Corpus Christi Carroll (#16) 13-3 on Saturday in the Highland Classic tournament. The Highlanders were led by Elliot Richoux and Alex Dunlap who each homered. Woodlands finished the tournament 3-1 as they completed the sweep of Saturday’s doubleheader beating Flower Mound in the nightcap. The Highlanders look to continue their momentum into the Montgomery Tournament beginning on Thursday.
Carroll wasn’t the only highly ranked team to pick up an early season loss in Texas. 10th ranked Klein Collins (top Texas team in PG National Top 50) dropped a tough one on Friday against Kingwood 8-7 for their second loss of the season. The Tigers rebounded with a 12-3 blowout of Cypress Creek on Saturday to finish their preseason tournament 3-1. Though this is a team that is capable of better than a 4-2 start, there’s no great cause for alarm just yet.
Rockwall Heath’s Jovan Hernandez’s 42 game hitting streak came to an end on Friday. The streak tied a state record which is also held by Orangefield’s Jeff Granger who reached that mark back in 1990. Earlier in the day, RHP Jake Thompson threw a 14 strikeout no hitter of Del Valle in the Waco ISD tournament opener. These two players are a huge part of why the Hawks are currently ranked 31st in the nation and have a chance to climb throughout the season.
Arizona: Mountain Pointe received their first loss of the season at the hands of nationally ranked Gilbert 17-7. Each team piled up 5 HRs and 21 of the 24 runs scored in the game came via the longball. C Kevin Cron of Mountain Pointe continued his torrid start, going 3-4 with his 2nd HR of the season, though the performance did drop his batting average to .815. Cron tied the state record with 25 bombs last season and with the start to 2011 he has had, it is not out of the question that he breaks his own record. Gilbert improves to 3-0 on the year with the win and will take on Chaparral today at 3:45 and then will host the Championship game on Saturday against the winner of Pool B. The winner of Pool B will be determined later today with several teams still in the running. Check back tomorrow for updates.
Salpointe Catholic ran the table at the Cowboy Up Invitational in Tucson, going 5-0 with a combined score of 66-29. The Lancers won a slugfest title game against 2010 state runner-up Catalina Foothills 21-13 yesterday. The Lancers will open their regular season at home against Basha tomorrow.
California: Valencia’s doubleheader with Harvard Westlake and West Torrance was rained out on Saturday. The Vikings will host Harvard Westlake today, as two of the best players in the class of 2012 will square off in Lucas Giolito and Trey Williams.
Justin Bruce of #6 St. Francis (Mountain View) threw a complete game 1-hit shutout of Wilow Glen with no walks and 5 strikeouts. The Lancers move to 2-0 on the year with a 1-0 victory. They will face 2-0 Los Gatos tomorrow. It was an impressive performance to say the least, especially considering Wilow Glen was coming off an 18-1 season opening victory.
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