Another big weekend of high school baseball is upon us with top prospects and tournaments playing all over the Sun Belt. Check our High School News & Notes all weekend for updates and the High School Baseball Forum for this week’s 3 Up/3 Down discussion.
Top Arms Set To Throw
The state’s top pitchers will take action this weekend with a few of them possibly matching up. The Spain Park/OakMountain game may see Chris Ellis as Spain Park’s starter against Oak Mountain’s Jake Hubbard.
Spain Park with Colton Freeman also takes on Thompson Friday, and Pellham has two of the best armsin the state in Trevor Fitts and Alec Rash. Both may pitch against Clay-Chalkville and Trent Higginbotham.
Cleats 101 Tournament
Pinnacle faces Mountain Ridge and Notre Dame faces Liberty in the semifinals. The two winners will play tomorrowat 2:00 at Desert Valley High School for the tournament title game.
Click here for a rundown of Saturday’s matchups. Check back Monday for the results and highlights of the championship game between Gilbert and Mesquite. Mesquite wontheir first regular season game yesterday against Desert Ridge 2-1 in a good pitchers duel.
Owens makes first 2011 start for Edison
LHP Henry Owens of Edison (Huntington Beach) will make his 2011 pitching debut todayagainst Pacifica. Owens was an Aflac All-American in 2010 after posting a 9-1 record with a 0.98 ERA as a Junior last year. Owens looks to boost his MLB draft stock this spring.
St. Francis in action thisweekend
The 6th ranked team inthe nation, St. Francis (Mountain View) takes on Salinas this afternoon beforea big matchup tomorrow at St. Mary’s. Early reviews have been quite positive coming out of northern California about St. Mary’s SS Mitchell Walding, and chance to see him and St. Francis 3B Tyler Goeddel will likely draw a large crowd of scouts.
Pool play gets underway in Easton Southern California Showdown
Click here for a schedule and pool pairings. We will cover the tourney throughout its duration over the next two weeks, check back for more.
Mike Hazlett tournament finals set
Tournament host Wilcox knocked off Santa Cruz 9-2 to advance to the finals where they will meet Archbishop Mitty. The two teams met earlier in the tournament on Wednesday with the Monarchs coming away with a 4-0 victory behind a solid outing by RHP Tyler Davis. Wilcox will have their hands full tomorrow night when they face RHP Brett Fuller (San Jose State commit).
Other matchups include Santa Clara vs.Oak Grove at 10:30, San Benito vs. Monterey at 1:30 and Palo Alto vs. Santa Cruz for the 3rd place game at 4:30.
Palm Beach Area Matchups Highlight Action
Palm Beach is the place to be in the state with two big matchups. Friday, Park Vista and their talented 2012 class (Jamal Martin, Robbie Coman, Tyler Kendall) face off against Palm Beach Gardens and Central Florida commit SS Tommy Williams.
Saturday, West Boca plays at Palm Beach Central and the pitching matchup could face Florida commits Michael Kelly (West Boca) and Bobby Poyner (PBC) against each other.
#33 Harrison Gets First Big Test of Year
Saturday- Lassiter vs. Colquitt County
Colquitt County looks to throw RHP Cole Pitts, a Georgia Tech commit against a very strong Lassiter team with OFs Nelson Ward and Wes Burns, and C Reed Anthes.
Saturday-Harrison vs. Wheeler
Harrison, #33 in our poll, is looking to repeat as AAAAA champs. They take on Wheeler and RHP Sam Bragg.
Two Tournaments Headline Big Weekend
-La Grange Tournament
In its 12th season, the tournament has routinely featured some of the top teams in the southeast. Current major leaguers Stephen Drew (Lowdnes County), Jeff Francouer (Parkview), Jason Heyward (Henry County), Wade LeBlanc (Barbe, LA), Buster Posey (Lee County), and Colby Rasmus (Russell County, AL) all played in it as high schoolers.
This year’s tournament is bolstered by out of state teams, Bolles (FL), Spanish Fort (AL), and Auburn(AL). They are joined by Georgia schools Newnan, Loganville, Brookwood, and Northside-Columbus along with host La Grange.
The big event of the weekend is a two-day event in Valdosta with eight teams, four each from Florida and Georgia. The biggest matchups:
#1 Gulliver Prep (FL) vs. Pope (GA), Saturday 10 am, Valdosta HS
Pace (FL) vs. #9 Columbus (GA),Saturday 10 am, Lowndes HS
#1 Gulliver Prep (FL) vs. #25 Parkview (GA), 1:30 pm, Valdosta HS
-Parkview, after splitting its first two games has a brutal schedule upcoming, along with facing Gulliver they take on Florida Christian Friday, followed by Monday vs. Marist, and Tuesday vs. Cartersville.
After a March 9th game against Collins Hill, they face two more tough foes March 14th as they travel to West Georgia University to take on Columbus, and then to Lassiter two days later.
Catholic and Barbe Back in Action
-The Mike Harvey Chiropractic Classic is where Gavin Cecchini and Barbe find themselves this weekend. They will take on St.Amant, Byrd, Hahnville, and Zachary in the three day tourney.
Zachary LHP Taylor Guilbeau will most likely make the start against Barbe in the tournaments marquee game. Guilbeau was very strong in his outing at last weekend’s Stephen Richardson Tournament, running his FB up to 89.
Byrd features two top 2012 prospects in 3B/RHP Harrison Spruiell and OF Richard Carthon.
-44 teams from around the state will be competing in the Trey Altick Louisiana Prep Classic. The tournament is named after the former Neville shortstop who died in a boating accident in 2008, shortly after his sophomore season.
Two 2010 state champions and three state runners-up will be in attendance. #18 Baton Rouge Catholic will be the top ranked team, with RHP Aaron Nola possibly making his first start of the season. Neville C John Clay Reeves and Belle Chasse C/OF Nick Thurman are two of the other top prospects playing.
Mid Mississippi Classic
The Mid Mississippi Classic is a three day tournament that began Thursday March 3 played at four sites in the Jackson area. Seven teams from the state of Alabama are making the trip west with Cullman and Huntsville being the headliners. The most talented team in the tournament is #43 Madison Central with the pitching trio of Spencer Turnbull, Josh Laxer, and Zach Irwin.
Here are some other players towatch:
Biloxi, MS RHP Hawtin Buchanan
Northwest Rankin, MS SS/RHP Reid Humphreys
Huntsville, AL MIF AJ Cole
Grissom, AL LHP Grant Bush
Grissom, AL RHP/1B Alex Luna
Defending Champs Take on Up and Comers
While Wednesday’s Forsyth CountryDay vs. Pinecrest was this week’s headliner another intriguing game is East Rowan vs. Northwest Cabarrus.
East Rowan is the defending 3A champion and NW Cabarrus has possibly the best underclass keystone combination in the nation with SS Corey Seager and 2B Tanner Bigham.
Powerhouse La Cueva travels toRio Grande for doubleheader
Defending champions La Cueva had a huge performance in their season opener, with a 16-0 win over Atrisco Heritage on Tuesday. The Bears are the overwhelming favorite to repeat in 2011 according to most sources and began the year ranked 44th in the PG National Top 50. But these expectations are based on past performances and talent, actually performing on the field is another story. Though their biggest game of the regular season look to be at Cleveland on April 5th and April 16thagainst Eldorado, tomorrow’s doubleheader will start to give an indication if this team can live up to the hype.
Other top teams in action
Albuquerque Academy travels to Sandia at 5:00 on Saturday in a very good matchup between two of the better teams in the state. Eldorado will face Mayfield in a doubleheader on the road Saturday. Cleveland plays in the Artesia Invitational tournament, knocking off Hobbs yesterday and will play again today and tomorrow. Volcano Vista travels to defending 4A state champion Piedra Vista for a doubleheader tomorrow in arguably the state’s best matchup of the weekend.
Owasso visits neighbors after big win in opener
Coming off a dominant performance in yesterday’s opener, the 11th ranked team in the nation, the Owasso Rams (OK) will travel to Bentonville, AR.
Broken Arrow has busy weekend
The Tigers moved to 2-0 with an 11-1 win over Stillwater yesterday. Tomorrow they will play a doubleheader in Edmond, against Memorial and North. Archie Bradley put an end to yesterday’s affair early, with a solo Home Run to invoke the 10-run rule after six innings. RHP Mason Hope pitched very well after allowing an unearned run in the first, finishing with 10 strikeouts and holding the Pioneers scoreless over the final five frames.
Update on pre-season Arkansas favorites
After opening the season on Tuesday with a 7-1 victory over Nettleton, Searcy will be back in action as they play host to Conway at 1:30 tomorrow. The Lions have reached the State Championship game each of the past two seasons but have not managed to win a title, this will be the last chance for the senior class led by RHP Dillon Howard.
Defending 7A Champions Bryant is off to a 2-0 start with a 10-2 win in the opener at Pine Bluff and another win (10-4 over Watson Chapel) yesterday. The Hornets will hit the road to face Lake Hamilton tomorrow.
Top ranked team in state back on track, look to continue hot hitting
It started to look like the Klein Collins Tigers had fallen victim to the PG jinx, as the 10th ranked team in the nation stumbled out of the gate to a 2-2 start. But the Tigers have now won 5 straight with a combined score of 61-22. In Thursday’s doubleheader to open the KISD tournament they combined for 7 HRs. The Tigers play 2 more today and again on Saturday. 2B Austin Dean was named the Houston 5A Baseball Hitter of the Week for his 4 HR, 13-for-20 performance. Klein Collins is starting to prove they deserve all of the early attention and look to be on the right track to make a deep run in theplayoffs.
Klein, who ended the Tigers’ season in the Regional finals is also in the field and won both of their Thursday games by a combined score of 19-3.
Two top teams in the nation are in this field and after each swept their opening games on Thursday, appear headed for a collision course in the championship game on Saturday at 7:30. Brenham (nationally ranked 45th) won 14-3 and 11-9 yesterday and will host Texas City and Lamar this evening. The Woodlands (No. 38) won 4-3 and 14-0 yesterday and faces Santa Fe and co-host Montgomery today. Lamar has also won their first two games, so their matchup with Brenham at 7:30 tonight likely will be for a berth in the championship game.
Ewell Jackson Tournament
To read our overview of the tournament click here. Opening round games got underway on Thursday afternoon. One of the biggest matchups of the 2nd round will be Fort Bend Clements (last year’srunner-up) at St. Pius X at 6:00 tonight. We will have an in-depth recap of tournament action on Monday in our weekend recap, check back then.
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