High School : : General
Thursday, March 10, 2011

HS Regional Preview: Southeast

Todd Gold         Ben Collman        

Perfect Game High School will releasing previews for each region in the coming weeks. The previews will be released two weeks prior to first regional rankings. The schedule is as follow:

Florida - Week of February 28

Southeast (AR, LA, MS, AL, GA, TN)- Week of March 7

Pacific (CA, HI)- Week of March 7

Texahoma (TX, OK)- Week of March 14

Mid-Atlantic (SC, NC, VA, MD, DC, WV, DE)- Week of March 21

Southwest (NM, AZ, NV, UT)- Week of March 28

Midwest (WI, IL, IN, MI, OH, KY)- Week of April 4

Great Plains (CO, MO, IA, MN, NE, KS, ND)- Week of April 4

Northeast (PA, NJ, NY, CT, RI, MA, VT, NH, ME)-Week of April 11

Northwest (WA, OR, ID, AK)- Week of April 11

Top Storylines

1. Is Farragut #1?

The question will linger all year as expectations are huge for the team that brings back C Nick Delmonico and LHP Phillip Pfeifer among others from a team that has won three straight state titles. Coach Matt Buckner has loaded up his schedule with a game against preseason #4 Forsyth Country Day (NC). The April 30 game against Daniel Norris and Science Hill also looms large.

The team opened the year at #2 behind Gulliver Prep (FL) and will look for LHP Xander Taylor and RHP Derek Chandler to step up in the two and three spots in the rotation. The Admirals will be a team that should hover around the top of the national rankings all year.

2. Who is Georgia’s #2 team?

Columbus looks to be the top team, but a long list of teams will challenge them as well as fight for the #2 slot. Parkview started the season #25 in our National Rankings but have split their first 6 games. Marist has picked up where they left off last year and have begun the year undefeated.

AAAAA champion Harrison and Brookwood have stumbled out of the gates as other teams like Lassiter, Luella, Pope, Hillgrove, and Buford have played very well early. The state may not have as many high level prospects as last year when they produced five of the first 30 picks in the draft, but the depth of teams look to be very strong.

3. Daniel Norris

Ranked as the #1 player in the country, Norris looks to attract tons of scouts at each appearance this year. He has been up to 96 mph with his fastball but usually works in the 91-93 range. He compliments it with a hammer curveball and a changeup with fade. Norris is a good athlete, repeats his delivery and has been lights out every time Perfect Game has seen him.

The only question might be how high Norris will go in the draft. Recent mock drafts by Perfect Game Draft experts Patrick Ebert and Allan Simpson have him going #12 and #17 and he looks to compete with Oklahoma RHPs Archie Bradley and Dylan Bundy as well as Alonso (FL) RHP Jose Fernandez to be the first high school arm off the board.

4. Louisiana

Early season tournaments have given us a glimpse of the top teams and players. The state is deep in talent and has a trio of top teams in Catholic, Barbe, and Parkview Baptist. Barbe has faced each team so far falling 3-2 to Catholic and 7-4 to Parkview.

Prospects look to be plentiful in the 2011 and 2012 class. 2B Connor Castellano, RHP Carson Baranik, and RHP Aaron Nola will get lots of looks from pro scouts this year, and SS Gavin Cecchini and C Stryker Trahan look to receive a lot of buzz in 2012.

5. Sumrall or Petal?

The battle for Mississippi will most likely come down to these two teams as it has the last couple of years. Sumrall got a lot of press with their nation long winning streak and ended the year #3 in PG National Rankings. Petal went 30-4 en route to a 6A title.

Sumrall won the first contest between the teams with a 7-6 come from behind victory and Petal looks to even the score on March 26. Both teams have started a bit slowly with Sumrall losing their opener to Forest County Ag and Petal dropping a contest to Poplarville. These teams look like they will again compile huge win totals and be the favorites in their classes. Another team to watch is Madison Central and their highly ranked trio of arms.

Top Teams (alphabetical order)

Barbe (LA) - Will battle Catholic for state’s best team. SS Gavin Cecchini has been on fire to start the year and they have a talented freshman class that regularly has four players in the staring lineup.

Baton Rouge Catholic (LA) - 
Have one of the best pitching staffs in the nation led by RHP Aaron Nola and RHP Alex Massey. Offense is led by OF Chris Sciambra.

Columbus (GA)
 - Defending 3A champions are the early favorite for top team in Georgia. They return LHP Will Solomon and LHP/OF Kyle Carter, the defending AAA Player of the Year.

Farragut (TN)
- May be top team in nation. Three time defending state champions also feature talented underclassman SS AJ Simcox and CF Cameron Strickland.

Madison Central (MS) - Pitching trio of RHP Spencer TurnbullRHP Josh Laxer, and LHP Zach Irwin make them a formidable foe.

Marist (GA) - Return 8 starters on a team that won the AAAA title, including top pitchers Blake Stevens and Brandon Leibrandt.

Oxford (AL)-Have supremely talented junior class that includes RHP/1B Tucker Simpson3B/RHP Jackson Stephens, and OF Matthew Goodson.

Parkview (GA) - 1B/RHP Matt Olson is one of the state’s top players. Return four of top five pitchers and offense will get boost from sophomore OF Josh Hart.

Spain Park (AL)-RHP Chris Ellis and LHP Colton Freeman give them two 90 mph arms and junior SS Mikey White leads the offense.

Sumrall (MS)-
Three time defending 3A champs dropped their opener to Forest County Day, but came back to beat rival Petal the next day. They return Southern Miss commits LHP Luke Lowery and SS Connor Barron.

Top Matchups

March 17- Harrison (GA) @ Lassiter (GA)

Harrison won the AAAAA championship last year and although they have stumbled to a 1-2 start this season this year they are still one of the state’s top teams. Lassiter has gotten off to a hot start led by OF Nelson Ward and C Reed Anthes.

March 23, 25, April 12, April 15- Pascagoula (MS) vs. Biloxi (MS)

The teams square off four times this season, all likely to be heavily attending by scouts looking at Pascagoula OF Senquez Golson and Biloxi RHP Hawtin Buchanan. Both have a chance to be high draft picks in June.

March 26- Sumrall (MS) @ Petal (MS)

The rivals were the 3A (Sumrall) and 6A (Petal) champions a year ago and finished 1-2 in the final MS poll. Sumrall won the first meeting in come from behind fashion. Petal looks to rebound with the return from injury of top 2012 OF Anthony Alford.

March 29- Thompson (AL) @ Pelham (AL)

Pelham got off to a 10-0 start before dropping a game to Spain Park over the weekend. Thompson boasts Alabama commit LHP Jonathan Keller.

April 2, 18- Oxford (AL) vs. Spain Park (AL)

The two top teams in Alabama. These two games could go a long way in determining which has the upper hand. Both have played very well in the early season.

April 2, 14, 28- Barbe (LA) vs. Acadiana (LA)

The two top 2012 prospects in the state will face off in Barbe SS Gavin Cecchini and Acadiana C Stryker Trahan.

April 9- Forsyth Country Day (NC) @ Farragut (TN)

Could be the game of the year (apologies to Bundy/Bradley matchups in Oklahoma). Both teams are loaded with talent and debuted in the top 5 of our National High School Rankings.

April 29- Marist (GA) @ Columbus (GA)

Defending AAAA and AAA champs return a ton of talent from a year ago. Currently the top two teams in the state in PG National Rankings.

April 30- Science Hill (TN) @ Farragut (TN)

Scouts could be in triple digits for a Daniel Norris (Science Hill) vs. Phillip Pfeifer (Farragut) pitching matchup. Farragut will most likely be battling for #1 National ranking at this point.

May 6- Beebe (AR) @ Searcy (AR)

RHP Dillon Howard (Searcy) is currently ranked #8 in the nation and has a chance to be a first round pick. Beebe may be his toughest competition in Arkansas this year.

PG High School Southeast Dream Team

C- Nick Delmonico, Farragut (TN)

1B- Matt Olson, Parkview (GA)

2B- Connor Castellano, Evangel Christian (LA)

3B- Palmer Betts, Cook (GA)

SS- Gavin Cecchini, Barbe (LA)

OF- Dwight Smith, McIntosh (GA)

OF- Senquez Golson, Pascagoula (MS)

OF- Jo-El Bennett, Houston Academy (AL)

Util- Kyle Carter, OF/LHP, Columbus (GA)

P- Daniel Norris, LHP, Science Hill (TN)

P- Dillon Howard, RHP, Searcy (AR)

P- Kevin Matthews, LHP, Richmond Hill (GA)

P- Phillip Pfeifer, LHP, Farragut (TN)

P- Hawtin Buchanan, RHP, Biloxi (MS)

Regional Best Tools

Best Hitter For Average: Gavin Cecchini, SS, Barbe (LA)

Best Hitter For Power: Dwight Smith, OF, McIntosh (GA)

Best Baserunner: Michael Hodorowksi, OF, Harrison (GA)

Best Defensive Catcher: Evan Powell, Sam Houston (LA)

Best Defensive Infielder: Julius Gaines, SS, Luella (GA)

Best Defensive Outfielder: Senquez Golson, Pascagoula (MS)

Best Infield Arm: Breck Kline, SS, Northshore (LA)

Best Outfield Arm: Trevor Haggard, Jackson Christian School (TN)

Best Fastball: Daniel Norris, LHP, Science Hill (TN)

Best Offspeed Stuff: Daniel Norris, LHP, Science Hill (TN)

Best Command: Phillip Pfeifer, LHP, Farragut (TN)

Best Pitchability: Matthew Crownover, LHP, Ringgold (GA)

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