This is the third of a 7-part series unveiling the 2011 Perfect GameNational High School Top 50 Rankings.
February 18: # 6-10
February 21: #5
February 22: #4
February 23: #3
February 24: #2
February 25: #1, entire top 50 list
No. 4 Forsyth Country Day School (Lewisville, NC)
NCISAA (Piedmont Athletic Conference)
2010 Results: 19-9 (NCISSA Class 3A State Runner-Up)
Key Losses: INF Nick Ferri; C Vince Rogers (Lenoir-Rhyne)
Top Players: RHP/OF Adam Griffin (North Carolina); LHP/OF/1B George Carter (North Carolina); OF Seth Constable (South Carolina)
Notable Matchups: March 28 vs. Horizon (AZ) @ Horizon Tournament; March 30 vs. Spanish Ford (UT) @ Horizon Tournament; May 2, 3, 6 vs. Wesleyan Christian
As the 2011 North Carolina high school baseball season gets set to begin next week, there are five exceptional young ballplayers who will find their names listed on the team roster and in the everyday lineup at Forsyth Country Day School (FCDS) in Lewisville, N.C.
Last summer and fall, these standouts were listed on the roster of the Dirtbags, the nationally prominent travel team also coached by FCDS head coach Andy Partin, that finished as co-champions at the 2010 Perfect Game WWBA World Championship in Jupiter, Fla.
And in the years ahead, those same five names just might end up in the official program at the NCAA Division I College World Series in Omaha – conjecture based on the schools those players have committed to.
FCDS seniors Adam Griffin and George Carter have signed with the University of North Carolina, a member of the powerful Atlantic Coast Conference. Senior Seth Constable has signed with defending national champion South Carolina of the Southeastern Conference, and junior DC Arendas has also committed to the Gamecocks. Senior Brandon Culbreth signed on with North Carolina State University from the ACC.
And just for good measure, FCDS 6-foot-7, 235-pound senior right-hander/outfielder Tyler Alberts has signed with UNC – as a football player.
With so many high-level D-I student-athletes on the roster, it should really come as no surprise that Forsyth Country Day School settled comfortably into the No. 4 spot in the Perfect Game National High School 2011 Preseason Rankings. It doesn’t surprise Partin, who feels his 2011 Furies are worthy of the recognition.
“If you’re just basing it on our roster and you see that these kids are extremely talented, and then you just look at where they’re going (to college),” he said of the rationale. “We can make a good argument for being ranked fairly high, but it doesn’t mean we’re going to change how we’re going to prepare, or anything like that.”
Partin is set to begin his third year as head coach at FCDS, which is a member of the 82-school North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association (NCISAA). The Furies were runners-up at last year’s NCISAA Class 3A state tournament and the expectation is they should return to the title game again this spring.
“I really haven’t thought about the end result,” Partin told Perfect Game before the Furies’ scheduled season-opener on Feb. 26. “There’s some buzz that we’ve got a shot to compete again for a championship. We were there last year and we kind of want to pick up where we left off and move in that direction. But right now we’re just talking about how we’re going to get to the end.”
It was at the end of last season when the Furies really turned it on. They grabbed their “statement” win when they beat Charlotte Christian – winners of eight of the last 10 NCISAA 3A state championships – in the semifinals of the state tournament.
Right-handers Griffin (PG-ranked No. 103 nationally, No. 5 North Carolina class of 2011) and Culbreth (500-30), and lefty Carter (168-12) give Partin three top-end starters. All three are also valuable position players when they’re not on the mound; Griffin was 11-0 as a pitcher and hit .500 with 10 home runs at the plate.
“We’ve got three kids who are ACC-bound pitchers, and I would definitely say that’s the strength of our team,” Partin said. “We’ve got really good pitchers with high ceilings, but we’ve got to throw strikes and that’s something we’re going to really concentrate on.”
Partin said the Furies have a lineup that should produce a lot of home runs in their small ballpark – they hit 40 last year – and they are also sound defensively, especially with Griffin in right, Constable (280-15) in center and Arendas (174-6, 2012) at short.
“I like our club,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of strength at the plate and on the mound.”
FCDS is a member of the five-school Piedmont Athletic Conference of Independent Schools (PACIS). The league also includes Wesleyan Christian Academy, the team that beat the Furies in the 2010 3A state championship game.
Outside of conference play, Partin likes to test the Furies against other top teams in the state. In early March, they have non-conference games against Pinecrest – with standout right-hander Dillon Maples – and could face right-hander Benton Moss from Rocky Mount a week later. Both pitchers have signed with UNC.
“I really try to challenge our kids. I try to put together the best non-conference schedule I can get,” Partin said. “We’re trying to match-up with the best teams we can play.”
The Furies will also play four games at a spring-break tournament in Horizon, Ariz., where they are scheduled to meet No. 8-ranked Spanish Fork (Utah) on March 30.
“It’s going to be fun,” Partin said. “The last two years we went down to the Florida for spring break, but this year we’re going to get a little western flavor.”
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