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High School | General | 1/26/2022

Preseason HS Top 50: 21-30

Tyler Russo      Colton Olinger     
Photo: Perfect Game
2022 High School Baseball Preview Index | 41-50 | 31-40

21. Auburn (Auburn, Ala)
2021 Record: 36-7
Head Coach: Matt Cimo
Notable Standout(s): OF Brendan Wall (UAB), C Walker Zapp (Air Force), SS Ryan Olson (Auburn), RHP Evan Pope (Southern Union CC), 3B Patrick McGlon, MIF Todd Clay, RHP Griffin Stewart, SS Jace Norton (Mississippi State), OF Cade Belyeu (Auburn), RHP Patrick Davidson (Army), 3B Henry Allen (Mississippi State), 3B Tanner Waldrop (Auburn)
 
Looking to replace seven seniors off last year’s state championship team, the Tigers are bringing back talent across the board. The 2022 roster will feature a balance of guys who played big roles a year ago and underclassmen who look poised to fill some of the big shoes left behind. Offensively, the depth is borderline absurd. Seniors Patrick McGlon, Ryan Olson, and Walker Zapp all hit over .300 in consistent time as juniors. Junior Connor Crosby and sophomore Henry Allen both came on late as key pieces last year and figure to see their roles grow this season. Rounding out what will surely be a balanced lineup, the likes of Todd Clay, Jace Norton, Cade Belyeu and Tanner Waldrop will leave opposing pitchers no place to rest as they try to navigate their way. On the mound, seniors Evan Pope and Griffin Stewart will have to be key arms as the Tigers look to make it back-to-back 7A titles.
 
22. Houston County (Warner Robins, Ga.)
2021 Record: 33-7
Head Coach: Matt Hopkins
Notable Standout(s): OF Gage Harrelson (Texas Tech), SS Kaden Galason (Belmont), SS Blaydn Alaniz, OF Drew Burress (Georgia Tech), RHP Andrew Dunford, LHP Ryker Chavis (Georgia), C Eli Stephens, RHP Camden Cunningham, OF JT Withers
 
Unfortunately for those in Georgia’s Class 6A, this year’s Houston County club will bring back a good chunk of last year’s lineup that averaged over eight runs a game on their way to a state title. Bringing back seniors like outfielder Gage Harrelson and infielders Kaden Galason and Blaydn Alaniz will go a long way in setting the tone for the Bears lineup. Behind those seniors, talented underclassmen Drew Burress, Eli Stephens and JT Withers will be counted on to be consistent run producers. On the mound, Coach Hopkins and his staff are looking to replace two big arms from 2021, guys to keep an eye on will be Andrew Dunford with his mid- to upper-80s fastball, Ryker Chavis and his arsenal of strikes, as well as sophomore Camden Cunningham, who averaged over a strikeout an inning over his 2021 travel circuit campaign.
 
23. Santa Margarita Catholic (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.)
2021 Record: 17-13
Head Coach: Chris Malec
Notable Standout(s): RHP Matthew Porchas (Texas), OF Preston Dorand, C Luke Lavin (Stanford), RHP Alex Wallace, C Blake Balsz (UCLA), RHP Jack Svinth (Stanford), LHP Sammy Cova (Oregon), SS Blake Wilson (Washington), OF Drew Rutter (San Diego State), OF Logan de Groot (UCLA), RHP Cade Townsend (Ole Miss), C Jake Lavin, 1B Cole Grey, C Lucas Owens
 
It was tough sledding for Santa Margarita in 2021 as the gauntlet that is the Trinity League ends up as one of the toughest schedules in the country for those that are a part of it. While that certainly won’t change this spring, this group is primed for success with commitments to Power 5 schools all over the roster. They’re still a little young overall but the leadership of right-hander Matthew Porchas will certainly be felt. This group of juniors is impressive with guys like Luke Lavin, Blake Balsz, Blake Wilson and Drew Rutter all playing nice roles while sophomores Logan de Groot and Jake Lavin make up part of the team’s impressive depth. Porchas leads the way on the mound but the group of Alex Wallace, Jack Svinth, Sammy Cova and Cade Townsend should all see important innings, too.
 
24. Madison Central (Madison, Miss.)
2021 Record: 34-2
Head Coach: Patrick Robey
Notable Standout(s): C Ross Highfill (Mississippi State), LHP Beau Bryans (Auburn), RHP Austin Tommasini (Mississippi State), LHP Jake Cook (Southern Mississippi), SS Gatlin Sanders (Louisiana-Lafayette), 1B Chase Russell (Southern Mississippi)
 
The Jaguars are coming off one of the more impressive seasons in 2021, where they started the year on a 24-game win streak and closed it out with a state championship. This year’s senior class will have some big shoes to fill but with guys like PG All-American Ross Highfill back to lead this year’s team, Coach Patrick Robe and his 2022 squad look poised for another historic season. Along with Highfill they will get back seniors Jake Cook and Gatlin Sanders after all three hit .400 or better in their junior campaigns. On the mound, Austin Tommasini and Beau Bryans bring back the most experience and both are more than ready for bigger roles this season after solid summer performances. Cook could factor in on the mound as well as the Jags look to replace all three of last year’s senior starters. Keep an eye on sophomore Chase Russell, as he could be another candidate to fill some of those lost innings with his mid- to upper-80s fastball.
 
25. Servite (Anaheim, Calif.)
2021 Record: 13-15
Head Coach: Shawn Gilbert
Notable Standout(s): RHP Xavier Cardenas III (San Diego State), OF Jarrod Hocking (UCLA), LHP Mikiah Negrete (San Diego), OF Trevor Schmidt (Arizona), LHP Chris Gothues (UCLA), RHP David Ladjevic (Long Beach State), SS Roman Martin (UCLA), 1B Jonathan Rodriguez, C Camden Clewett
 
Servite is another that gets beat up a bit by playing in the Trinity League but there’s no doubting the talent on the roster, and this one is deep in the senior class which usually bodes well given the experience that comes with an old club. Xavier Cardenas III is the big name here that’ll draw significant draft attention this spring as he can run the fastball into the upper-90s, but there’s plenty of depth behind him, specifically in the senior class with left-handers Mikiah Negrete and Chris Grothues, as well as right-hander David Ladjevic. Jarrod Hocking is an offensive piece that’ll draw some draft attention with significant power shown by his seven home runs in just 17 games on the circuit, while he’s joined by the likes of Trevor Schmidt, underclassmen Roman Martin and Jonathan Rodriguez and talented young two-way Camden Clewett.
 
26. The First Academy (Orlando, Fla.)
2021 Record: 31-1
Head Coach: Scott Grove
Notable Standout(s): RHP Ben Barrett (FSU), SS Greg Pettay (UCF), C Riley Parker (UCF), LHP Isaac Sewell (Virginia Tech), RHP Dewon Brazelton Jr., OF Jaden Bastian (Jacksonville), SS Matthew Perez, OF Jaden Huygens, RHP Nathan Seeber (Maine)
 
This team is just simply full of winners, and they showed that a year ago in running the table and coming home with Florida’s 3A state title, one that certainly isn’t easy to win. What Scott Grove should certainly be excited about is that the bulk of that roster is back in 2022 and with another year under their belt, should be among the favorites to make another run. Ben Barrett and Isaac Sewell are the one-two on the mound as Barrett shows power stuff while Sewell has high-level pitchability to eat up innings in bunches. Offensively, they’re steadied by seniors Greg Pettay and Riley Parker who have shown the innate ability to produce in big spots while juniors Jaden Bastian and Matthew Perez are athletic with the kind of production to give this lineup both strength in the heart and depth throughout.
 
27. Jackson Prep (Jackson, Miss.)
2021 Record: 35-3
Head Coach: Brent Heavener
Notable Standout(s): RHP Will Gibbs (Mississippi State), OF Thad Bridges (Louisiana-Monroe), OF Cy Craig (Northwest Mississippi), C Elijah (Eli) Berch (Louisiana Tech), 3B Owen Abney, LHP Jagger Mooneyham, OF Rives Reynolds (Mississippi State), C Duncan Mathews, OF Konnor Griffin, OF Cole Gideon
 
Graduating your top two starters and 61% of your innings is never an easy thing to replace. With that being said, not many high school teams are bringing back guys like Will Gibbs and Jagger Mooneyham, both of whom have pitched against top level competition and are ready for even bigger roles this season. The full-time addition of the country’s top freshman, Konnor Griffin, won’t hurt either as he brings with him a fastball that already touches low-90s. At the plate, this 2022 team brings back a lot of guys who have had success and will be counted on to do it in bigger roles this season. Across the outfield will likely be a combination of seniors Thad Bridges and Cy Craig joined by sophomore Rives Reynolds and the previously-mentioned Griffin. Behind the plate, Elijah (Eli) Berch and Duncan Mathews are both proven backstops that can bring high level offense at the position. Owen Abney and Cole Gideon will be other freshman names to keep an eye on as both have played well against high level competition on the travel ball circuit.
 
28. Hanover (Mechanicsville, Va.)
2021 Record: 13-3
Head Coach: Tyler Kane
Notable Standout(s): LHP Levi Huesman (Coastal Carolina), C Cannon Peebles (North Carolina State), SS Seth Keller (Old Dominion), RHP Anthony Gabello (James Madison), RHP Chase Hustead (James Madison), SS Owen Deshazo (Boston College), RHP Jackson Barnett (Hampden-Sydney College), LHP Brett Alvis (Mount St. Mary), LHP Nolan Williamson
 
The 2022 Hanover club has depth across their senior class like very few across the country can claim. Just in their senior class this team will have eight players moving on to play baseball at the next level. On the mound, Levi Huesman will be the tone-setter with his propensity to miss barrels and pound the strike zone with a low- to mid-90s heater. After Huesman, it gets no easier for opposing hitter as guys like Anthony Gabello, Chase Hustead, Jackson Barnett, Brett Alvis, and Nolan Williamson will all factor into this year’s staff, giving Head Coach Tyler Kane a full stable of horses to turn to. Position player-wise, the Hawks are strong where it matters in the middle of the field. Senior Cannon Peebles will handle the staff behind the dish while seniors Seth Keller and Owen Deshazo will lock down the middle of the infield and likely the middle of the order.
 
29. Baylor (Chattanooga, Tenn.)
2021 Record: 27-4
Head Coach: Greg Elie
Notable Standout(s): OF Hunter Herndon, SS Henry Godbout (Virginia), C Jonathan Larrea, OF Carson Yates (Middle Tennessee State), RHP Patrick Johnson (Middle Tennessee State), OF Caleb Hampton (South Carolina), 3B John Emendorfer, SS Henry Ford (Virginia), OF Amari Jefferson (Tennessee), 3B Kennith Lohmann
 
With nine primary position players ranked at least within the top 1000 of their class, this Baylor offense appears to be more than prepared to replace the departure of some big bats off last year’s state championship team. Hunter Herndon, Henry Godbout, Jonathan Larrea and Carson Yates will return with the most experience offensively after playing bigger roles on the way to last year’s championship. Tasked with proving the kind of depth they will need throughout the lineup, youngsters Caleb Hampton, John Emendorfer, Henry Ford, Amari Jefferson and Kennith Lohmann have each shown they’re more than capable of performing against high level competition during their time on the travel circuit. On the mound, senior Patrick Johnson looks to be in position to take over the role of the ace of the staff as he comes back after finishing second in appearance a year ago with nine while pitching to a 1.24 ERA with a 4:1 strikeout to walk ratio.
 
30. American Heritage Plantation (Plantation, Fla.)
2021 Record: 17-6
Head Coach: Mike Macey
Notable Standout(s): LHP Brandon Barriera (Vanderbilt), RHP Evan Dobias (Virginia), OF Ray Bermudez (Miami), LHP Erik Blair (Florida), RHP Brandon Gonsalves (UCF), RHP Quin Spalding, OF Dakota Jones (FGCU), OF Manuel Henriquez, SS Spencer Butt (FSU), C Mateo Serna, 1B Nate Taylor, OF Jordan Rich
 
There were good expectations for this team last spring, and they made a respectable run in the playoffs losing to the eventual state champion in their classification just two games from the state semifinals. This year they’re back with the talent to make a serious run and beat a lot of good teams in doing so. Brandon Barriera is where the discussion starts as he’s got the potential to go pretty early in the first round in this year’s draft, giving them a true elite ace. Evan Dobias will be a solid No. 2 behind him with vast experience under his belt, while transfer Erik Blair and right-hander Brandon Gonsalves give them a strong group at the top of the rotation. The lineup should be made up of a variety of ages with guys looking to step into big roles, but guys like Ray Bermudez, Spencer Butt and Mateo Serna all saw significant at-bats last spring and should again here in 2022.
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