High School : : General
Thursday, March 24, 2011

Regional Preview: Mid-Atlantic

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 follows:

Florida - Week of March 3

Southeast (AR, LA, MS, AL, GA, TN)- March 10

Pacific (CA, HI)- March 11

Texahoma (TX, OK- March 17

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. How Good is Forsyth Country Day?

The Furies were ranked #4 in the preseason National Rankings based on their top level talent including five players committed to high Division one programs. The Furies have beaten the teams they are supposed to but have dropped three contests. They were beaten by Pinecrest and Dillon Maples, Rocky Mount and Benton Moss, and a talented Florida Christian team. Games at the Big League Dugout Invitational and against #2 Farragut will be big tests for one of the most talented teams in the country.

2. Draft Stock of Taylor Guerrieri

The top ranked RHP transferred from North August (SC) to Spring Valley (SC) but has not missed a beat, rising up the PG rankings as well as draft boards with dominant performances, including a no-hitter last week vs. Lugoff-Elgin. Guerrieri has consistently been 93-96 with his fastball, topping at 98. He has done most of the damage with his fastball so far, but if he can consistently command a sharp breaking 81 mph curveball that rates as one of the best off-speed pitches in the class, he will make life even tougher on SC hitters.

3. Top Virginia Arms

Both Kecoughtan LHP Jake Cave and Menchville RHP Deshorn Lake played in the AFLAC All-American last August and have a chance to be early round draft picks. They squared off this week but threw a combined seven innings due to early season pitch counts. Their next matchup figures to draw more scouts and longer stints for the hurlers. Lake has had his fastball clocked up to 94 and is an ECU commit, while Cave is also a top prospect as a power-hitting OF and is committed to LSU.

4. Maryland Dynasties

C. Milton Wright and Calvert have dominated the Baltimore metro area high school baseball scene over the last few seasons. C. Milton Wright went undefeated last year, ending at #84 in the final 2010 National Rankings. They are the favorite in the area again, returning a number of talented players. Calvert Hall (MD) had their streak of five straight MIAA titles snapped in 2010. The Baltimore school has a record of 169-31 since 2005. DeMatha, St. John’s, and Gilman are other Maryland schools to watch in the 2011 season.

5. Which North Carolina Arms will emerge?

The state has twenty pitchers from the 2011 class ranked in the top 500, as many as California and Georgia, and more than Texas and Florida. The state lacks a slam dunk first round pick and which pitchers separate themselves will likely determine which teams make to Raleigh for the state championship. Dillon Maples and Benton Moss are currently the top rated arms with Dixon RHP Rookie Davis dominating so far, and Holly Springs LHP Carlos Rodon, Crest RHP Mason McCullough, and Clayton RHP Jason Creasy throwing very well.

Top Teams (alphabetical order)

Ardrey Kell (NC) - The Knights have started the year 11-0 and have established themselves as the top team in the region. They are lead by 2B Collin Keefer, C Brett Lang, RHP Chris McCue, SS Logan Ratledge, and OF/P Trent Thornton.

C. Milton Wright (MD) - The team finished last year 23-0, including 12 shutouts from one of the best pitching staffs in Maryland state history. They look to be the strongest in the state again with Dematha and St. Michaels looking to be their biggest tests.

Forsyth Country Day (NC) - The team has some of the best talent in the nation with RHP/OF Adam Griffin, RHP Brandon Culbreth, LHP/1B George Carter, and OF Seth Constable. They will get a big test at the Big League Dugout Tournament with games against Horizon (AZ), Montclair Prep (CA), and Spanish Fork (UT).

Pinecrest (NC) - Dillon Maples has been lights out and Pinecrest has started the season 9-1 with big wins over Forsyth and Riverside, their only loss is to Florida Christian. Seniors Joey Vecchione and Bailey Rush have come up huge in the early season.

Poquoson (VA) - They have won two straight Division II state championships, won 56 of 58 games and again look like one of the top teams in the state. Austin Davis, Tee McConnell, and Dylan Hill are three top performers that return. They will have to replace 183 of 187 innings pitched last year.

Providence (NC)- C Brett Austin is the team’s star, and senior Jake Fincher talented juniors 3B Jackson Campana and RHP Ty Buttrey make this one of the best teams in the region. The Panthers have dropped a conference game to South Mecklenburg, and have big matchups upcoming with Ardrey Kell.

St. James (SC)- They began the year 8-0 including winning the prestigious International Paper Classic, featuring some of the top teams in SC. RHP Robert Troiano was named MVP, and RHP Anthony Cossentino, SS Gunnar Heidt, 1B Gunnar Kines, and OF Tanner English have all played starring roles.

Western Branch (VA) - The preseason favorite in the state, the Bruins have started the year 2-1, scoring a total of 27 runs. They return a top of talent from a team that went to the state semifinals last year. RHP Nick Thompson is an East Carolina commit and possible draft pick, and junior OF Garrett Brooks is another ECU commit that will be counted on this year.

White Knoll (SC) - They have started the year 6-1 with their only loss coming to AC Flora in the RBI Tournament they hosted. 1B/P Caleb Blackman and  OF/P Ricky Harrison were named to the all tournament team and are two key players for the Timberwolves along with Charleston commit C Ray Murphy.

Wren (SC)- Wren was the champion of the aforementioned RBI Tournament with 2B Brett Cash taking home MVP honors. C/RHP LJ Newman and RHP Tyler Jackson also were named to the all tournament team and 3B Elliot Caldwell is committed to Winthrop. The team has dropped games to White Knoll and Greenville, and is 9-2.

Notable Matchups

March 29- Blythewood (SC) @ Spring Valley (SC)

Spring Valley won the first matchup behind Taylor Guerrieri’s pitching and offense. Can Grayson Greiner and Blythewood beat him in their second try?

March 31/May 2- Providence (NC) vs. Ardrey Kell (NC)

Kell has started the season 11-0 and is ranked #12 in the latest National Rankings. Providence has been very impressive as well, going 5-1 behind star C Brett Austin.

April 11- Mallard Creek (NC) @ NW Cabarrus (NC)

The game features the state’s top SS prospect in the 2011 and 2012 classes, both South Carolina commits. Mallard Creek has Mikal Hill (2001) and NW Cabarrus features Corey Seager (2012).

April 12- TL Hanna (SC) @ Wren (SC)

Wren has been hot to start the year, including winning the Red Bank Invitational. Hanna will be a worthy foe, led by brothers Garrett and Ben Boulware.

April 12- Pinecrest (NC) @ Scotland (NC)

Dillon Maples struck out 18 Scotland batters in a one-hitter their previous meeting. This one could feature Maples matched against top 2012 RHP Curt Britt.

April 19- Dorman (SC) @ Byrnes (SC)

Dorman 3B Hunter Cole is the state’s #2 prospect and could be an early round pick, Byrnes has a talented young roster along with senior RHP Daniel Gossett.

April 19- Western Branch (VA) @ American Heritage (FL)

Western Branch, who was #50 in the National Rankings before dropping a game to Nansemond River, will get a big test when it travels south to face traditional power American Heritage.

April 22- Menchville (VA) @ Kecoughtan (VA)

Kecoughtan won the first matchup of star pitchers Jake Cave (Kecoughtan) and Deshorn Lake (Menchville) with both pitchers on pitch counts in early season play. They should be stretched out for this matchup, making it a must see for area scouts.

May 2- St. Johns (DC) @ Paul VI (VA)

Our top ranked team in DC takes on a tough foe in Paul VI. Virginia commit 3B Nick Howard leads St. John’s, while Paul IV has VCU commit OF Matt Kianka and RHP Damon Frezza.

May 6- C. Milton Wright (MD) @ Gilman (MD)

Perennial Maryland power Wright, which hasn’t lost since a game since 2009 faces a talented, young Gilman squad with RHP Brandon Casas and 1B/LHP Ryan Ripken (son of MLB HOFer Cal).

PG High School Mid-Atlantic Dream Team

C- Brett Austin, Providence (NC), Sr.

1B- Kyle Martin, Wade Hampton (SC), Sr.

2B- Josh Tobias, SE Guilford (SC), Sr.

3B- Hunter Cole, Dorman (SC), Sr.

SS- Corey Seager, NW Cabarrus (NC), Jr.

OF- Shon Carson, Lake City (SC), Sr.

OF- Tanner English, St. James (SC), Sr.

OF- Seth Constable, Forsyth Country Day (NC), Sr.

Util- Jake Cave, Kecoughtan (VA), Sr.

P- Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Spring Valley (SC), Sr.

P- Dillon Maples, RHP, Pinecrest (NC), Sr.

P- Deshorn Lake, RHP, Menchville (VA), Sr.

P- Rookie Davis, RHP, Dixon (NC), Sr.

P- Carlos Rodon, LHP, Holly Springs (NC), Sr.

Regional Best Tools

Best Hitter For Average: Corey Seager, SS, NW Cabarrus (NC)

Best Hitter For Power: Rookie Davis, SS/1B, Dixon (NC)

Best Baserunner: Tanner English, St. James (SC)

Best Defensive Catcher: Brett Austin, Providence (NC)

Best Defensive Infielder: Mikal Hill, SS, Mallard Creek (NC)

Best Defensive Outfielder: Seth Constable, Forsyth Country Day (NC)

Best Infield Arm: Hunter Cole, 3B, Dorman (SC)

Best Outfield Arm: Tanner English, St. James (SC)

Best Fastball: Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Spring Valley (SC)

Best Offspeed Stuff: Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Spring Valley (SC)

Best Command: Shawn Morimando, LHP, Ocean Lakes (VA)

Best Pitchability: Patrick Andrews, RHP, Hilton Head Prep

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