High School | Rankings | 1/25/2021

HS Team Breakdowns: 41-50

Colton Olinger         Vincent Cervino         Tyler Russo        
Photo: Jayden Melendez (Perfect Game)
2021 High School Baseball Preview

41. Yucaipa Thunderbirds (Yucaipa, Calif.)
2020 Record: 6-5
Notable Standout(s): SS Caiden Huber (Southern California), SS Jacob Reimer (Cal State Fullerton), OF Owen Egan (UCLA), C Luke Scherrer (Cal Poly)

Yucaipa will look to continue their run of Citrus Belt Championships this year as they come in to 2021 trying to make it three in a row. Up the middle, senior Caiden Huber and junior Jacob Reimer will look to lock it down. Huber is coming off a combined high school and PG 2020 season where he hit .390 and in a shortened season last year had an OPS of .899 for the Thunderbirds. Not to be out done, Reimer lead the Thunderbirds in average, slugging and on-base percentage a year ago. You can also look for sophomores Owen Egan and Luke Scherrer to build on their shortened freshman campaigns. Egan will return with the most innings of anyone and is coming off a loud summer where he punched out 30 in 24 innings. Scherrer will likely see an uptick in his mound usage as the right-hander allowed only two hits in 12 innings this summer and struck out 17. This combination of youthful experience on the mound as well as the potential for explosive offense has the looks of something potentially special for the Thunderbirds.

42. The Bolles Bulldogs (Jacksonville, Fla.)
2020 Record: 4-4
Notable Standout(s): OF Jackson Mayo (South Florida), RHP/C Jackson Baumeister (Florida State), RHP Sullivan Brackin (Florida), 3B Tanner Zellem (Tennessee)

The Bolles comes in at No. 42, and although they may have been in the headlines more recently for football alumni, this year’s baseball team is loaded with big-time names and will surely make some headlines of their own. Deep playoff runs are nothing new to this program and this year’s class of seniors will look to continue that tradition and stamp their own mark on the program with a state title. Seniors Jackson Mayo and Jackson Baumeister were both freshmen on a 2018 state runner-up team and have each continued to take on a bigger role each year. This year, Baumeister will be counted on at the plate, as well as on the mound, and behind the dish as he is one of the top two-way talents in the country. Junior Sullivan Brackin will factor into the rotation as the big right-hander can run his fastball up to 93 mph with heavy life. Much like Baumeister, Bracken will get some at-bats as well as he is capable of providing some power from the left side. Junior third baseman Tanner Zellem is coming off a strong 2020 where he hit over .300 in PG events including hitting .500 at the loaded Elite Championships.

43. Huntington Beach Oilers (Huntington Beach, Calif.)
2020 Record: 6-3
Notable Standout(s): RHP Tyler Prystajko (Washington), OF Aidan Espinoza (UCLA), C Raffaele Velazquez (ASU)

At No. 43 we go back out to California with the Huntington Beach Oilers. This is a club that despite a 6-3 start last year definitely had the attention of a lot of people in Southern California with their only losses coming to powerhouse J Serra Catholic. The Oilers bring back 15 guys from the 2020 roster and will get a good test out of the gate as they start their season in a strong Anaheim Lions Tournament. On the mound, junior right-hander Tyler Prystajko will bring an upper-80s fastball to the bump, with good movement, as well as a changeup that he has shown the ability to use to create swings and misses. Look for this combination to provide success for Prystajko as he takes on his first season in the rotation for the Oilers. Sophomore catcher Raffaele Velazquez returns from last year’s club where he saw some playing time as a freshman. If his career numbers at Perfect Game are any indication that playing time was well earned, as he has hit over .400 in his two years of PG events. He will bring great value defensively as he pairs up as the battery mate of fellow sophomore Aidan Espinoza. Espinoza will look to help create depth on this team as the sophomore will likely see time in both the lineup as well as on the bump.

44. Brother Rice Crusaders (Chicago, Ill.)
2020 Record: N/A
Notable Standout(s): OF Cameron Hill (Purdue), OF Jack Lausch, C Zion Rose (Louisville), 3B Amir Gray (Purdue)

Brother Rice comes in at 44, the first team unveiled in this year’s rankings from the Midwest region. The Crusaders will have a completely different roster than the last time they took the field in 2019. Not to be fooled though, this squad still has the talent to make another deep playoff run like this program has become accustomed to. The bats will be the key for this group as Brother Rice has the power to become the Bash Brothers. Senior outfielder Cameron Hill will bring a dynamic aspect to the lineup with a long, wiry frame and the ability to do multiple things at the plate. Junior outfielder Jack Lausch has as good of tools at the plate as anyone as his left-handed swing already shows big time power with more to come. He is coming off as summer and fall where he hit .391 and slugged .656 with three home runs in PG events. Sophomore catcher Zion Rose may be tasked with providing some protection for Lausch in the lineup, but don’t be fooled as he is more than capable of changing the game in his own right with his elite speed and power from the right side. Sophomore Amir Gray adds even more depth to the lineup as he has a career PG batting average over .400.

45. Westminster Christian Warriors (Miami, Fla.)
2020 Record: 4-6
Notable Standout(s): C Jayden Melendez (FIU), 3B Sal Stewart (Vanderbilt), SS Rene Ramirez Jr.

South Florida continues to turn out some of the most talented high school teams in the country. Checking in a No. 45, the Warriors look poised to be right there at the end again this year as they were in 2019. Senior catcher Jayden Melendez will provide a spark for the club on both sides of the ball. He is widely known for his elite abilities behind the plate where he can handle the pitching staff and shut down opposing teams running game with his catch-and-throw skills. Offensively you can expect him to reach base at a high clip and set the table for junior thumper Sal Stewart. In Stewart’s last full high school season, he took South Florida by storm hitting a staggering .467 while seemingly driving in a run on all 28 of his hits in his freshman year. His power from the right side is game-changing and will certainly make navigating this lineup that much tougher. Junior shortstop Rene Ramirez Jr. will give the lineup even more depth with his ability to impact the baseball from both sides of the plate.

46. Fairview Knights (Boulder, Colo.)
2020 Record: N/A
Notable Standout(s): RHP Greysen Carter (Vanderbilt), SS Gabe Springer (Stanford), C JD Jones (Miami), OF Adam Moser (Oklahoma)

Coming in as the highest ranked team from the Centennial state, we have the Knights of Fairview. This year’s club will look to take a step towards becoming a power in the state with what might be the most talented roster in the area. Senior Greysen Carter will be the ace on the mound as he is capable of running his fastball into the mid-90s and came to the WWBA World Championships and showed a much improved 12-6 breaking ball. When it comes to defense, a coach always wants to be strong up the middle. Fairview has that with senior Catcher JD Jones, junior shortstop Gabe Springer, and senior center fielder Adam Moser. Jones will provide leadership behind the plate as he is set to start for a fourth straight year and has some thump at the plate where he drove in 14 runs in his last season with the Knights. Springer is coming off a summer where it seemed as if each of his hits was going for extra bases with seven doubles, a triple, and a home run. Moser will bring a well-rounded approach to the plate where he can use either his speed or power to change the game.

47. Silverado Skyhawks (Las Vegas, Nev.)
2020 Record: 4-2
Notable Standout(s): RHP Christopher Cortez (Arizona) RHP Tanner McDougal (Oregon)

The Skyhawks will come into this season with a ton of optimism as they return all but four innings on the mound from last year’s squad that was off to a 4-2 start against some quality completion. Last year, the pitching staff ended the year with a 3.24 ERA and brings back seniors Tanner McDougal and Christopher Cortez. McDougal comes back after striking out 10 hitters in his seven innings of work and posting a 1.00 ERA. He is coming off a very loud performance at the WWBA World Championships where he sat in the low-90s with his fastball and ran it up to as high as 94 mph. Power is not his only trick on the mound as he has also shown great feel for his secondary pitches with a diving changeup and tight-spinning breaking ball. Cortez was off to a 1-0 start last season with 10 strikeouts through 10 innings and a 1.56 ERA. Look for this 1-2 punch to lead the Skyhawks this year as they look to make a deep playoff run.

48. Buchanan Bears (Clovis, Calif.)
2020 Record: 9-1
Notable Standout(s): C Austin Young (Fresno State), SS Temo Becerra (Stanford), RHP Sam Tookoian (UC Santa Barbra), OF Evan Wallace (UC Irvine), RPH Jayden Mandal (Fresno State), SS JP Acosta

The Bears have been a power in the Golden State, winning over half of their conference championships since 2000. There seems to be no reason to expect anything different from the Bears this year as they bring back a talented squad lead on the mound by junior right-hander Sam Tookoian. Tookoian will bring a physical presence to the mound with the ability to run his fastball into the low-90s. Jayden Mandal could be slotted in the rotation as well, as the sophomore has shown the ability to miss barrels and maintain his mid-80s velocity deeper into starts. Two of the more experienced bats in the lineup are catcher Austin Young and shortstop Temo Becerra, who are the face of the offense and have some of the most career at-bats on the squad. If the fall is any indication you could expect to see Mandal make an appearance in the lineup as well. He would be joined by Evan Wallace and potentially fellow sophomore JP Acosta. Wallace is coming off a loud year at the plate in PG events where he went 7-for-11 with three extra-base hits. Acosta will bring a solid defender up the middle and a bat that could be used in a multitude of ways up and down the order.

49. Palo Verde Panthers (Las Vegas, Nev.)
2020 Record: 3-2
Notable Standout(s): OF Thomas Dilandri (TCU), OF Mason Neville (Arizona), 3B Kody Bialas

The Panthers bring back 12 guys off of last year’s loaded roster. Despite losing a talented senior class, this year’s group still shows the depth to compete at the top end of the state’s highest classification. What this year’s team doesn’t have in terms of pitching experience they will look to make up at the plate. The lineup brings back six guys who were hitting over .300 when last year came to an abrupt end. Senior Thomas Dilandri will look to lead the offense this year, as he was hitting .547 last year and is coming off a very strong outing at the WWBA World Championships where he hit .400 with two doubles. Junior Mason Neville should provide the spark at the top of the lineup to give Dilandri plenty of RBI opportunities as Neville reached base at a .500 clip last year and possesses game-changing speed. Sophomore Kody Bialas could be a candidate to take one of the vacated starting position as he hit .304 last year in PG events. All three of Dilandri, Neville, and Bialas could be options on the mound as well as Senior Joey Loubert, who brings back the most experience on the mound.

50. Reagan Raiders (Pfafftown, N.C.)
2020 Record: 3-0
Notable Standout(s): LHP Josh Hartle (Wake Forest), SS Tommy Hawke (Wake Forest) SS Austin Hawke (North Carolina), OF/RHP Carter Boyd (Arkansas)

The Raiders may have lost two Division-I signees in the class of 2020, but this year’s team returns plenty of talent as they will look to continue on the path of last year’s 3-0 start. Josh Hartle will headline the staff as the senior left-hander is a proven commodity on the mound and will look to use the command of a low-90s heater to stifle hitters and mix in a slider to keep them honest. Carter Boyd looks to be in line for the No. 2 spot in the rotation as the junior will take on a bigger role with the departure of his brother CJ Boyd (ECU). Carter’s bat will be important in a lineup that will also feature brothers Tommy and Austin Hawke. The elder of the two brothers, Tommy Hawke is coming off a summer where he hit .444 in PG events, just edging out younger brother Austin Hawke who hit a staggering .410.This consistency at the top of the lineup paired with their rotation gives Reagan hopes of a deep playoff run.
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