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Tournaments | Story | 12/28/2021

Year In Review: High School

Tyler Russo      Colton Olinger     
Photo: Stoneman Douglas Baseball (Perfect Game)
Year In Review: PG Events

Stoneman Douglas Back On Top

For the first time since 2016, the Stoneman Douglas Eagles were able to navigate their way through a difficult South Florida-based schedule to claim the state’s largest state title, the 7A State Championship, and were rewarded with the National Championship because of it. A roster that included a ton of talent from top to bottom, their 28-2 record was representative of just that: a team with a ton of depth. They were led on the mound by junior Chris Arroyo and sophomore Christian Rodriguez, who combined for 18 wins and nearly 200 strikeouts while posting an ERA of just 1.23, while offensively it was the firepower of juniors Santiago Ordonez, Roman Anthony, Jake Clemente and senior Gavin Conticello, all of whom hit over .350 with double-digit extra-base hits, that paved the way for contributions from numerous underclassmen. This is a roster that didn’t lose much to graduation and will certainly be in the discussion when it comes to some of the country’s best in 2022.
Ostingers Win Jupiter
Like most events in 2020, the WWBA World Championship had some alterations (being moved to Fort Myers) but didn’t miss a beat in 2021 as it made its way back to its namesake, Jupiter, Fla. and home at Roger Dean Baseball Complex. The location made no difference for Ostingers Baseball Academy as the Tampa, Fla.-based club made its way across the peninsula to claim the coveted Jupiter Championship in walk-off fashion. 
With the altered format to the 2021 bracket due to excessive rain delays early in the week, the Ostingers Baseball Academy had to navigate 23 innings on Championship Monday. This included extra innings in the championship game to take down the runners-up Dirtbags out of North Carolina in an exciting 2-1 walk-off finish provided by 2023 Florida State shortstop commit Arjun Nimmala. Nimmala was joined up the middle for most of the week by Tournament MVP and Wake Forest commit Marek Houston.

| 2021 WWBA World Championship event page |

High School Showdown Continues in Hoover
As High School baseball made its way back to normal in 2021 after the shortened 2020 season, so did one of the country's premier spring baseball tournaments with teams from across the Southeast and Florida once again finding their way to Hoover, Ala. for the High School Showdown, with some of the country’s top prep draft prospects once again headlining the loaded rosters. 
Oxford, (Ala.), IMG (Fla.), and Buford (Ga.) found a way to claim the championship in their respective pools, as IMG and Buford have become staples of the event over the last several years, while Oxford claimed their title in their first appearance. Combine Academy won the Academies portion of the event, making their way through the largest field to date to win their first crown in as many appearances. IMG and Buford both came into the season as preseason top-five teams with legitimate national championship hopes while Oxford spring-boarded themself into the top-50 nationally, where they stayed for eight weeks. Combine Academy was in its first year at The Showdown out of North Carolina and proved to be more than capable of hanging with the big academies across the country, as they cruised to a championship and ended the season ranked No. 33 in the country. 
As has come to be expected, both the High School Showdown and the Academies version were packed with top talent across each class. Second round draft picks James Wood and Edwin Arroyo were the two highest drafted prospects from last year's events, while Woods' IMG teammates and fellow PG All-Americans Tommy White and Drew Gray also had big showings. This event also gave a sneak peek into some of the top 2022 talent, with seven eventual PG All-Americans in the field, including current No. 2 and No. 3 players in the class, Elijah Green and Dylan Lesko

| 2021 PG High School Showdown event page |

Showdown Expands to West Coast
With the massive success the High School Showdown has had on the East Coast over the last 10 years, it was only a matter of time before the event would make its way west to the talent-rich state of California. On March 9-12 of 2022, Southern California will serve as host to some of the top programs across the West Coast in a format that will put some of the region’s top talent in a single location for families, fans and a large number of scouts. With programs from California, Arizona, Colorado and Washington already committed to attend, and many others on the horizon, the outlook for the first-ever PG West Coast High School Showdown couldn’t be better.

| 2022 PG West Coast High School Showdown event page |

Lile Headlines National Players of the Year
In a year full of big performances following the almost nonexistent season of 2020, there were three that stood out among the rest for their respective category as a National Player, Pitcher and Two-Way Player of the Year were named at the conclusion of the high school season across the country. 
A PG All-American and second-round pick by the Washington Nationals, Daylen Lile was absurd on the offensive end for No. 11 Trinity HS (Ky.) as he hit .550 in 43 games, including 42 extra-base hits (12 doubles, 12 triples, 18 home runs), 66 runs, 60 RBI and an OPS over 2.000 against just seven strikeouts on the year. His numbers not only propelled him to National Player of the Year honors, but also helped Trinity take home the state title.
The National Pitcher of the Year, Jack Walker, was the ace of No. 3 Barbe HS (La.) and was outstanding as he worked his way to a 13-0 record on the year with a 0.48 ERA and 121 strikeouts in 84 innings and allowed just 24 hits and 22 walks, including not a single extra-base hit over the course of the season and a gutsy 10 no-hit innings in the state semifinals which propelled Barbe to the 5A Louisiana state title.
The final national award given, the National Two-Way Player of the Year, went to Braden Montgomery, a PG All-American and long-time two-way talent on the national stage. For No. 4 Madison Central (Miss.), he hit .479 with seven home runs and 50 RBI while posting a 9-0 record on the mound with a 0.74 ERA, allowing just 17 hits and striking out 116 over 56 innings of work, all of which were crucial in their state title run.

| 2021 High School Players of the Year |

Preseason Top-10 in Hindsight
It was an eventful year for teams throughout the preseason rankings, but especially so at the top as just four of the preseason top-10 finished inside the top-10. IMG Academy (Fla.), Buford High School (Ga.), Thousand Oaks (Calif.), and Orchard Lakes St. Mary’s (Mich.) all ran the table, holding their spot inside the top-10 from wire-to-wire while navigating some of the stronger schedules in the country. Preseason No. 1 IMG landed at six in the final rankings after a strong showing against a national schedule where they went 23-2 including a championship at the Perfect Game High School Showdown in Hoover, Ala. Eight of the top-10 preseason teams ended up in the top-25 at the end of the season, with Calvary Christian Academy (Fla.) finishing at a respectable No. 37 as the lowest-ranked preseason top-10 team at the end of the season after going 19-5-1 including a win over IMG Academy. 
Stoneman Douglas ended the year at No. 1 after starting just outside the top-10 at No. 11. Four of the other five teams to join the top-10 by the end of the year all started in the preseason top-50, with Harvard Westlake out of California making the long climb from unranked to No. 9 nationally as they finished on a 20-game win streak, including wins over nationally-ranked Orange Lutheran and JSerra Catholic to bring home the Division 1 Southern Sectional title.

Rk Preseason ST Final Ranking ST
1 IMG Academy FL Stoneman Douglas FL
2 JSerra Catholic CA Orchard Lake St. Mary's MI
3 Calvary Christian Academy FL Alfred M. Barbe LA
4 Buford GA Madison Central MS
5 Hamilton AZ Thousand Oaks CA
6 Thousand Oaks CA IMG Academy FL
7 Orchard Lake St. Mary's MI Rockwall-Heath TX
8 Tampa Jesuit FL Buford GA
9 Bishop Gorman NV Harvard Westlake CA
10 Lake Travis TX Baylor TN

| Final 2021 National High School Top 50 |
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