Tournaments : : Story
Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Showdown: Mater Academy

Jeff Dahn         Todd Gold        
Photo: Perfect Game
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

Mater Academy LionsRoster | Schedule

The mission statement on Mater Academy Charter High School's website tells in very straightforward language just about everything you need to know about the 11-year-old school in Hialeah Gardens, Fla.:

"The mission of Mater Academy is to develop the intellectual and social skills of its students by facilitating a rigorous college preparatory curriculum and a wide range of educational resources within a safe learning environment. Students are expected to perform at or above grade level availing success in high school and within a global society."

Those are high expectations, indeed, but ones every department in the school strives to reach, including athletics. The baseball program is certainly no exception when it comes to working to achieve excellence, despite its relative youth.

The team with one of the most impressive rosters at this week's first Perfect Game High School Showdown may also be the team with the shortest amount of history behind it. Mater Academy is playing just its ninth season of varsity baseball in 2013 yet has already established itself as one of the top programs in the state of Florida.

The school, with nearly 4,000 students, is an academic gem. It's a priority not lost on head baseball coach Edward Gorriz, who is also the school's athletic director.

"Our biggest accomplishment is that 90 percent of my graduating seniors go to college on a scholarship, be it athletic or academic," Gorriz said.

The 2013 Lions will bring a 15-2 record to Fort Myers, Fla., for the PG High School Showdown, an eight-team event that runs Thursday through Saturday and pits four standout Florida teams against four equally impressive Georgia teams. Mater Academy will not be overwhelmed by any of those top Georgia programs.

Senior outfielder William Abreu, the No. 47-ranked national prospect in the class of 2013 and an alumnus of the 2012 PG National Showcase, leads the Lions. He is joined in the outfield by junior Daniel Reyes, the No. 30-ranked national prospect in the 2014 class. Abreu has signed with Miami (Fla.) and Reyes is uncommitted.

Other top guys include seniors Kevin Abraham (Florida Atlantic) and Juan Escarra (Florida International), and junior Michael Mediavilla (Miami).

Although the baseball program is only in its ninth year, it already has one quite famous alumnus. Outfielder Albert Almora was a 2011 Perfect Game All-American and 2011 PG National Showcase participant that the Chicago Cubs snatched-up in the first round (sixth pick overall) of the 2011 MLB amateur draft.

"Having Albert Almora drafted with the sixth pick by the Cubs (was special), and having him here with me since he was in sixth grade is also amazing," Gorriz said.

Abreu is ranked as the 162nd top overall prospect in the 2013 draft, which puts him the fourth- to fifth-round neighborhood.

High School Team Breakdown: Mater Academy

Top Prospects (Position, Class, PG National Rank):

1.  William Abreu, OF, 2013, 47
2.  Daniel Reyes, OF, 2015, 30
3.  Kevin Abraham, C/1B, 2013, 179
4.  Juan Escarra, 3B/SS, 2013, 194
5.  Michael Mediavilla, LHP/1B, 2014, 342

While they graduated a top 10 pick from their outfield last year, that remains an area of strength for the Lions thanks to 2013 OF Willie Abreu and 2015 OF Daniel Reyes. Abreu has had success at numerous high level events over the course of a long amatuer career, both at team events as a member of the South Florida Elite Squad, and in showcase settings like the PG National, East Coast Pro and Tournament of Stars. Abreu shares one important trait with the departed Almora: his overall game plays at a level above his physical tools.

Reyes is still a young player who is maturing, but he turned some heads as a sophomore at the 2012 WWBA World Championship in Jupiter and is one of the highest ranked 2015 grads in the talent rich state of Florida. The outfield duo is joined by two other Division I commits in the lineup, with Florida Atlantic recruit 2013 C Kevin Abraham and Florida International recruit 2013 IF Juan Escarra. 2014 LHP Michael Mediavilla, a Miami commit also contributes with the bat and can handle 1B for the Lions when he's not on the mound.

It is easy to see why this team has had no trouble scoring runs this season. It'll be interesting to see if they can continue their hot hitting when they come up against highly talented opponents from Georgia.


Youth is the theme on the mound, as 2014 LHP Michael Mediavilla is the top arm on the staff, while several other underclassmen will be counted upon to contribute meaningful innings. Mediavilla has been very good so far this season for Mater Academy, and he should give them a chance to win the game he pitches, but whether or not anyone else will step up to take the pressure off the offense to score a lot of runs will be the key.

Through 15 games the staff has allowed 36 runs, and had been playing in low scoring affairs until a recent stretch where they've relied a bit more on the offense.


Offensively, the Lions can match up with anyone in the tournament, and their 14-1 start to the season and national ranking reflect that. But facing other highly talented teams, they will have to find a way to prevent their opponents from lighting up the scoreboard as well, or find a way to win slugfests.
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