Tournaments : : Story
Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Showdown: Savannah Christian

Jeff Dahn         Todd Gold        
Photo: Will Hodges
2013 Perfect Game High School Showdown event page

Perfect Game High School Showdown Team Previews:

Florida Georgia
Venice Indians Parkview Panthers
Sarasota Sailors Blessed Trinity Titans
Mater Academy Lions
Cartersville Hurricanes
Montverde Academy Eagles Savannah Christian Raiders

Savannah Christian Raiders
Roster | Schedule

Savannah Christian Preparatory School sends its baseball team to the inaugural Perfect Game High School Showdown as a decided underdog in the eyes of many, if only because it is the smallest enrollment school participating in the eight-team event.

Just don't tell the Raiders anything about being underdogs. The program at Savannah Christian Prep under 24th-year head coach Carl Carter and fourth-year associate head coach Chris Spurlock is regarded as one of the best in the Georgia High School Class A ranks.

"Savannah Christian has always had a strong baseball program," Spurlock told PG. "We feel like we're a team that's going to be in the title hunt year-in and year-out for the single-A state championship. We have a lot of talent at all levels, including the young guys coming in, and we just feel like we're going to be really good for a long time. We're just kind of at the tip of the iceberg as far as how good we're going to be."

Carter has guided the Raiders to six Georgia Class A state playoff semifinal appearances, including one last season. He boasted a record of 448-160 coming into the 2013 season, and the Raiders are 81-42 since Spurlock came on board in 2009.

This year's team is 10-5 heading into the Showdown, which pits four powerhouse teams from Georgia against four equally impressive teams from Florida. Savannah Christian opens the Showdown on Thursday with against nationally No. 35-ranked Mater Academy from Hialeah Gardens, Fla.

"We know what we're getting ourselves into; this is going to be the best competition we're going to see all year," Spurlock said. "Our goal is to go down there and be competitive and learn from the level of competition. It will make us stronger and when the playoffs roll around it will make us a better team."

The 2013 Savannah Christian roster took a hit when seven varsity players left the program during the school year for non-baseball related reasons. As a result, left-hander Matt Morefield and second baseman Jacob Lightle are the only seniors on the roster; junior outfielder/third baseman Wes Putman and freshman right-hander/outfielder Will Hodges are the Raiders' two most highly regarded prospects.

"We are a team built on defense and pitching depth," Carter said in a special release to PG. "We have some very high level freshmen who have had to step up this year and they have been great."

Morefield, Putnam and junior utility player Bryce Evans were the team's preseason all-state selections. Hodges is the cousin of Oakland Athletics' right-fielder Josh Reddick.

"He's been a pleasant surprise for us this year," Spurlock said of the young Hodges. "He's come in and pretty much started every game, and he's been excellent."

Spurlock said that 13 former Savannah Christian Prep players have gone on to play collegiately just in the past four years and several from this year's team will eventually play on the college level. He also said it takes a certain kind of young man to play for the program.

"Number one, the baseball players here at Savannah Christian Prep are special," Spurlock said. "Our academics are very accelerated; this is not a school for everyone and you have to be an academic high-achiever to just to get in here.

"And number two, our guys are just high-character guys," he continued. "We play the game very hard and we've got guys who battle through adversity and just love to go out there and really enjoy being out there, and they're just good kids that compete and play hard every day. Our kids are just extremely well-rounded both in the classroom and on the field."

And they never consider themselves an underdog.

High School Team Breakdown: Savannah Christian

Top Prospects (Position, Class, PG National Rank):
1.  Will Hodges, RHP/OF, 2016, Follow
2.  Wes Putnam, OF/RHP, 2014, High Follow
3.  Matt Moorefield, LHP, 2013


2016 OF/RHP Will Hodges is pacing the offense in the early going with four home runs while playing centerfield. 2014 SS/OF Bryce Evans has moved to shortstop to fill a void for the team, but has played outfield in the past and projects there long term thanks to his speed. Evans has perhaps been the player who has taken the biggest step forward this season amid the adversity and is currently hitting .460 with a home run and eight stolen bases.

2014 RHP/OF Wes Putnam has been a key player at times for them this season after coming into the year as the expected leader, but he's missed some time recently due to injuries and is now getting close to being cleared to return to the lineup. 2016 IF Chase Marini is a three sport athlete (also a quarterback and point guard) with some upside, currently plays at 3B but coaching staff expects him to potentially profile at shortstop later in his high school career.

2013 LHP Matt Moorefield went 5-0 last year for the Raiders during their run to the final four, and he has been counted upon again this year. 

2016 RHP/OF Ben Hauesseler has been a pleasant surprise for the Raiders, showing low 80s velocity from a low three quarters arm slot with good arm side run and a promising breaking ball. He's already getting hitters out at the varsity level and the Raiders coaching staff is excited about his potential. RHP Trey Kramer is another freshman who has seized the opportunity after being pressed into action from day one.

There may be some growing pains for this young team as they match up against some of the best teams in the nation, but the experience they gain will be very valuable going forward.
Copyright 1994-2018 by Perfect Game. All rights reserved. No portion of this information may be reprinted or reproduced without the written consent of Perfect Game.