Category: Baseball

NCSA: 2019 college baseball camps

USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the college recruiting process. Here, you’ll find practical tips and real-world advice on becoming a better recruit to maximize your opportunities and play at the college level. Kyle Winters was a standout high school pitcher who tossed seven scoreless innings in a major tournament during his senior year. That performance against some heavy-hitting future MLB draft picks helped Kyle earn a full-ride scholarship to the University of New Mexico. However, Kyle opted to play professional baseball and was drafted by the Florida Marlins in the fifth round and played seven seasons for various minor league teams. Kyle is just one of many former college and professional players, college coaches and parents who are part of the Next College Student Athlete team. Their knowledge, experience and dedication, along with NCSA’s history of digital innovation and long-standing relationship with the college coaching community, have made NCSA the largest and most successful athletic recruiting network in the country.

Attending college baseball camps can offer many benefits, including quality training, exposure to college coaches and possibly checking out a college that you may end up attending. It’s an important part of the college recruiting process, but it can also take a significant amount of research and preparation to find the right camp for you. If you’re scrambling to find solid options for upcoming baseball camps, look no further — we’ve put together a definitive list of every college NCAA Division I, Division II, Division III, NAIA and junior college camp in the country. You will also find the date, type and cost of each camp, potentially saving you hours of research time. Check it out here:
NCSA’s complete list of 2019 college baseball camps
Before you register
There are a few steps you can take to make the most of your camp experience. First, do your research on the school and program before you register for camp. You should focus most of your efforts on attending camps at colleges where you can get admitted, because otherwise you could be wasting your time. It’s important to measure how you stack up both athletically and academically.
Also, make sure to build a relationship with coaches ahead of time. Ideally, you want to be on their radar before you arrive for camp so that you can improve your chances of being evaluated. You need to be strategic in choosing the right camp to attend, since just showing up won’t guarantee you’ll get noticed by college coaches. If you really have your heart set on a specific program and are struggling to get in contact with that coach through email or your club coach, attending their camp and catching their attention is still a possibility — but this shouldn’t be your main strategy for camps.
Read more: How to Find the Right Baseball Camp, Tournament or Showcase for Your Recruiting
How to make the most of your camp experience
Make the most of your camp experience by following a few simple tips:

Be prompt. College coaches notice student-athletes who arrive late. Double check registration and start times to ensure you’ll get there early.
Bring all the essentials. You’ll want to be at your best when competing in front of college coaches. Make sure you have all the equipment you need to do just that: glove, bat, cleats, water, towel, sunscreen, etc. You can check the camp’s website, too, as it typically outlines everything you should bring.
Stay positive. College coaches look for recruits who are coachable, so they’ll evaluate your body language and attitude on and off the field. It’s important to stay positive because it shows coaches that you’re mentally tough.
Check out campus. Stick around after camp and visit the university to get a feel for the campus. If there’s another college nearby, make the most of your day and check out that one, too. Seeing a college campus in person can help you decide if it’s the right fit for you.

After camp, make sure to follow up with coaches and thank them for the opportunity. You can also ask them for feedback. Afterwards, whenever you have noteworthy updates to share, such as new video, grades or accomplishments, email them about your progress. Building relationships with college coaches is essential to staying on their radar and getting an offer.
Read more: How to make the most of college camps 

Investigation finds Tenn. baseball booster club overcharged student athletes $1000s

A Tennessee high school finds itself in the unwanted crosshairs of a state comptroller after an investigation revealed that the school’s booster club had overcharged each of its student-athletes some $400 per person for their participation as a member of the varsity baseball program.
As reported by the Daily Memphian, the Collierville (Tenn.) Schools baseball booster club charged students a total of $2,100 when only a total of $1,700 — $100 across the board as participation fee and an additional approved $1,600 baseball fee — was ever approved by the school board.
The booster club is designed to help defray the cost of coaches and uniforms for teams, but in this case is alleged to have deposited the surplus fees into the booster club’s account rather than the schools, with those totals potentially swelled by incomplete accounting of the program’s concession stand revenues.
While there is allegedly a board structure of the booster club aimed at preventing a similar mishap occurring, that doesn’t mean that the Collierville booster club will escape penalties for what has already transpired.
The results of the comptroller’s investigation were first released publicly March 12, but there has yet to be any further information about the timing of any prospective resolution of the issue.

Thunderstorm downburst completely wrecks Northern Kentucky dugout

A Northern Kentucky baseball dugout was thoroughly wrecked by a weather phenomenon known as a thunderstorm downburst. The result left a high school program in disarray and needing extra help from the community to get their facility in working order for the season.
In an intriguing twist, the damage to the dugout occurred precisely as one of the program’s former managers was being laid to rest.
As reported by Cincinnati ABC affiliate WCPO, the Conner High School baseball dugout was struck by a dangerous downburst on Thursday night, at approximately the same time that former Conner team manager Dallas Willoughby was being laid to rest following his sudden death in March.
“It’s Dallas’s last gift to Conner baseball,” Conner coach Brad Arlinghaus told WCPO. “We’ll get a new dugout out of it. He was up there, he was working for us. He knew how bad our dugouts were.”
Apparently so did the community, which rapidly rallied around the Conner program in a time of need. According to the coach, multiple people in the community came forward and offered to rebuild the dugout within four days so it could be ready before the team’s season opener.
And that’s the one silver lining to Conner’s sudden disaster: The team claims it needed another dugout. And now it could very well get one.

Conner High school’s baseball dugout has been destroyed from the recent storm. Any help or donations would be [email protected]
— Ethan Hite (@Ethan_Hite44) March 14, 2019

Collin Demas' first hit since being cancer-free helps Horizon win baseball game

It was a win for the team. And a huge victory for Collin Demas.
After missing all of his junior season while battling leukemia, and after recently being told by doctors that he was cancer free, the Scottsdale Horizon senior first baseman connected on the first pitch he saw in his first start of the season Friday afternoon for his first hit since his world was turned upside down in January 2018.
He laced it for a double that brought in a run during the Boras Classic at Tempe Corona del Sol High School. His best friend, shortstop Kody Huff, added a solo home run and picked up the save.

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Those would be big runs, as Horizon went on to beat Glendale Mountain Ridge 3-2.
Collin’s comeback moment was captured on film by his sister, Addie Demas.
“It felt great,” Collin said. “I was guessing first-pitch fastball.”
Last season was about Demas’ battle, as Horizon players wore shirts that said, “#9strong: and “CollinStrong” and “We Are In This Together!”
RELATED: Horizon’s Collin Demas beats cancer

With Demas winning the cancer war, this has been about a new beginning, as former Horizon standout Jeff Urlaub took over the program from legendary coach Eric Kibler and named Demas one of his captains.
“I was cheering him non-stop and I could just feel something great was meant to happen when he came up,” said Huff, who has signed to play baseball at Stanford. “He’s earned it with all of the adversity he’s dealt with in the past year.
“Watching him cruise into second base after knocking in what ended up being a crucial run was awesome. The smile on his face was priceless and I know this was something him or any of his teammates won’t soon forget.”
Demas said he won’t pitch this season because of an injury to his arm, the toll the rounds of chemotherapy took that weakened his body.
But he hopes to get some more shots at playing first base and batting.
“I’ve not had a great (at bat) in over a year,” he said. “To get that hit, it was an amazing feeling.”

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Top 2020 prospect Trejyn Fletcher transfers to Maine HS with reported plans to reclassify

A top 2020 baseball prospect is transferring and could reclassify.
Trejyn Fletcher, the No. 1 player in Perfect Game’s 2020 class and an ALL-USA Preseason selection, has transferred to Deering High School (Portland, Maine) from Trinity-Pawling School (N.Y.), Deering confirmed to USA TODAY.
He plans to reclassify to 2019, according to the Press Herald. Doing so would either allow him to play at Vanderbilt a year early or be eligible for the 2019 MLB amateur draft if he successfully petitions the league.
Greg Sabers, the Perfect Game vice president of showcases and scouting, does not think Fletcher will struggle to adjust to the older players next year, no matter the route he takes.
“He’s been playing with that class all last year, at major events,” Sabers said. “He has a pretty advanced skill set and just been playing with those same players, it wouldn’t be a huge adjustment for him.”

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Fletcher jumped to the No. 1 spot in the 2020 class in Perfect Game’s last update after a dominant summer. Sabers said that advanced stats showed a “monster” year against elite competition during the season and PG tournaments.
Traditional stats also show this: In 31 at-bats against top-500 talent, he hit .538 with two home runs and a .613 on-base percentage.
“He just can kind of do it all,” Sabers said. “He’s got the five-tool potential.”
Despite the talent and apparent readiness of Fletcher, Sabers speculated he wouldn’t be picked as high if he is in the 2019 draft as he would in 2020. Scouts would have to “scramble” to get inventory of his abilities as Fletcher tries to prove he’s better than some top 2019 talent.
“Quite a few other (2019) position prospects, just at the high school level, have kind of established themselves with scouts,” Sabers said. “To jump ahead of those guys would be a little tough at this point.”
Sabers thinks he could be an early-round pick in 2019.
If Fletcher were to be in the 2020 draft, though, Sabers thinks a big summer could boost him to the top half of the first round.
As for Fletcher’s 2019 ranking on Perfect Game, Sabers said Saturday the outlet hadn’t yet started to compare him to the senior class.
Based on what he has seen, though, Sabers estimated Fletcher landing in the 10-20 range.
“There’s kind of like about six to eight players that have established themselves at the top and he would fit right in that next range,” Sabers said.

Easley, Westside (S.C.) high schools meet in the ultimate father-son baseball game

On Tuesday night, as the Easley and Westside baseball teams completed their game, two first-year head coaches met at home plate for a hug. Usually coach exchanges won’t go past a handshake, but this wasn’t a typical game. For the first time, father and son were opponents on the field.
Easley’s Gill Payne and Westside’s Jarrod Payne have always been on the same team, but now they’re opposing coaches within a region. Their first matchup was an event that was in the making for over 20 years.
Shining on the diamond
In the spring of 2005 while Gill Payne served as the athletic director and baseball coach at Brevard College in North Carolina, his son Jarrod was shining on the diamond for his middle school baseball team. Gill recalls one time on his way to a game, he had his team charter bus make a stop at Jarrod’s game so he could watch.

<p>Westside High School head coach Jarrod Payne and Easley High School head coach Gill Payne shake hands with the umpires before the start of their game at Westside High School Tuesday, Mar. 5, 2019. SABRINA SCHAEFFER/Staff</p>

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<p>Westside High School head coach Jarrod Payne and Easley High School head coach Gill Payne hug before the start of their game at Westside High School Tuesday, Mar. 5, 2019. SABRINA SCHAEFFER/Staff</p>

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<p>Easley High School head coach Gill Payne with his team before the start of the game at Westside High School Tuesday, Mar. 5, 2019. SABRINA SCHAEFFER/Staff</p>

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<p>Easley High School's Devyn Bond (22) pitches against Westside High School at Westside High School Tuesday, Mar. 5, 2019. SABRINA SCHAEFFER/Staff</p>

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<p>Westside High School's Jacob Bargiol (24) is at home plate while Easley High School's Ben Freeman (1) scores the second run of the game at Westside High School Tuesday, Mar. 5, 2019.SABRINA SCHAEFFER/Staff</p>

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<p>Westside High School's Connor McGill (22) pitches against Easley High School at Westside High School Tuesday, Mar. 5, 2019. SABRINA SCHAEFFER/Staff</p>

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<p>Westside High School's Jaden Cribb (9) throws the ball to first after forcing out Easley High School's Joe Freeman (11) at second base during the game at Westside High School Tuesday, Mar. 5, 2019.SABRINA SCHAEFFER/Staff</p>

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<p>Westside High School's Nate Bailey (10) has the ball at first base forcing Easley High School's Banks Starbuck (21) out at Westside High School Tuesday, Mar. 5, 2019. SABRINA SCHAEFFER/Staff</p>

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“I just said, ‘Guys, we got to stop. I have to watch a game,” Payne said. “So we watched the game and then left and went down to Florida.”
Jarrod spent as much time around his dad’s team as he could, serving as a ball boy, public address announcer and even trying to help his dad out by forming his own lineups for the team. But of the 16 games he played that year, his dad was there for only two. Later that year as Gill Payne celebrated a big win against Berry (Georgia) College, he called his wife to the sound of Jarrod at the plate with bases loaded in his middle school championship game.
That absence prompted Payne to leave Brevard.
“I was thinking to myself, ‘What am I doing I’m missing everything?’ ” Payne said. “At the end of that year, I went to high school (coaching) so I could see him play.”
He accepted the baseball coaching job at Elizabethon High School in Tennessee, and he and his son were reunited as coach and player.
Finishing up at King University
Jarrod went on to Spartanburg Methodist before finishing at King (Tennessee) University. While still playing he began his coaching career as a head coach for a local travel ball team. Upon graduation, he became an assistant coach at Science Hill High School in Johnson City, Tennessee, for one year and junior college powerhouse Walter State in Morristown, Tennessee, for two years.
Easley High School head coach Gill Payne celebrates with his team after winning against Westside High School at Westside High School Tuesday, Mar. 5, 2019. (Photo: SABRINA SCHAEFFER/Staff)
But as fate would have it, father and son would be reunited again. In February 2014, as Gill was looking for a job for Jarrod, he came across the athletic director job at Easley.
“I said, ‘I know where that’s at, I used to recruit there,’ so I applied,” Payne said. “A couple weeks later, I interviewed and got a job and I wasn’t even looking for a job.”
Three years later, Gill brought his son to Easley as an assistant coach baseball and teacher.
“Originally, I wanted to coach college baseball, but I had a family and wanted something more secure,” Jarrod Payne said. “My dad said how much he enjoyed it, so I went and for two years we had a lot of success.”
Easley won region championships and made state playoff appearances both seasons. Last May, Westside High School had an opening for head baseball coach, tabbed Jarrod as their man and he had his first full-time head coaching position.
As Jarrod spent the summer preparing for the upcoming season, the coaching position at Easley unexpectedly became available a few days before school started in August. Principal Gary Culler approached Gill about filling the role while continuing as athletic director. He accepted.
It wasn’t until then that Gill and Jarrod looked at the schedule and realized that their first game as coaches of their schools would be against each other. Father and son would be in opposing dugouts for the first time in more than 20 years.
“I feel like I had seen the schedule before he took the job,” Jarrod said. “At Easley, I think it was a situation where the best man for the job was already there, so he took it, but then I realized, ‘Dang, I’m going to have to play him first game.’ “
Excited about the matchup
Gill and Jarrod took over programs that are in different situations. Easley is one of the best teams in Region 1-AAAAA while Westside is in a rebuilding phase. Despite being at different schools, they talk almost every other day; analyzing each other’s games and bouncing ideas off of each other.
“I’ve coached those kids, so I can give him pointers about certain kids,” Jarrod said. “And he’s been where I’ve been, trying to change a program, so we’ve been talking quite often.”
Others around them were excited about the pending matchup. Easley’s entire administration made the drive down to Westside, and Tori Payne, who is Gill’s daughter and Jarrod’s sister and had just moved to Atlanta, took a day off from work so she could come to the game.
As excitement built for others, almost a sense of dread built for the coaches.
“I want him to be successful, and I know he wants me to be successful,” Gill Payne said before the game. “It’s going to be a battle of two teams, and I’m going to give him a hug at home plate win or lose.”
Easley High School’s Devyn Bond (22) pitches against Westside High School at Westside High School Tuesday, Mar. 5, 2019. (Photo: SABRINA SCHAEFFER/Staff)
After a few scoreless innings, Easley scored in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, led by Devyn Bond, Brayden Owens and Banks Starbuck. The Green Wave won 6-1. In addition to his two runs batted in, Bond pitched a complete game with 15 strikeouts.
As Gill Payne planned, he and his son met at the plate after the game for a hug. A sense of relief came after what had been a long week.
“Today was a rough day, it really was, I spent a lot of time in my office,” Gill Payne said. “I’m one of those competitive guys where I just want to go out and beat somebody, but today was a range of emotions.”
As for Jarrod, he said he tried to treat it as any other game.
“It felt like a regular game once we got started,” Jarrod said, “I just wanted to win a big game for these guys.”
He’ll have a chance to do that Friday night, when Westside will play Easley again, this time on the road.

PHOTOS: Super 25 Preseason Baseball Rankings

USA TODAY High School Sports has revealed the 2018-19 Super 25 Preseason Baseball Rankings based on results, tradition, quality of players and strength of schedule.
As some states have already started their season, most states will be getting started in the coming weeks.
First regular season rankings will be released on March 20.

<p><strong>Location:</strong> Brandenton, Fla.<br />
<strong>2018 record:</strong> 18-7<br />
<strong>Final 2018 Super 25 Rank: </strong>Unranked<br />
With eight returning players committed to college and five incomers all committed to DI programs, IMG Academy looks like the best team in the country entering the season. The Ascenders have four top-10 players in the state, including three transfers in UNC commit Brennan Malone, Perfect Game All-American Classic Home Run Derby champion Rece Hinds, and No. 3 third-baseman Josh Rivera. <em><a href="" target="_blank">Read more…</a></em></p>

<p><em>Photo: IMG Academy</em></p>

<p><strong>Location:</strong> Argyle, Texas<br />
<strong>2018 record:</strong> 37-0<br />
<strong>Final 2018 Super 25 Rank: </strong>No. 2<br />
Last year, Argyle became the fourth unbeaten state champion in UIL history. It was their fourth championship in four years. This year, they return 11 players, nine of whom are ranked in the top-500 by Perfect Game. It’s hard to imagine the group taking too much of a step back when they’re returning five All-State players in Dillon Carter, Brenden Dixon, Preston King, Hayden Clearman and Sean Bolin. <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Read More…</em></a></p>

<p><em>Photo: The Talon</em></p>

<p><strong>Location:</strong> Plantation, Fla.<br />
<strong>2018 record:</strong> 24-4<br />
<strong>Final 2018 Super 25 Rank: </strong>No. 20<br />
A trio of juniors on American Heritage have high expectations this year. Enrique Bradfield (No. 53 on Perfect Game; .390 BA last year), Gavin Casas (No. 133, .397 BA, 3 HR and 21 RBI) and Gio Ferraro (Miami commit who hit .467 though he only played seven games last year). They also return two of their best pitchers, which includes Ryan Cabarcas (pictured) who went 12-1 with a 1.93 ERA over 15 appearances (12 starts). <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Read More… </em></a></p>

<p><em>Photo: Macey Aven</em></p>

<p><strong>Location:</strong> Austin, Texas<br />
<strong>2018 record:</strong> 31-4<br />
<strong>Final 2018 Super 25 Rank: </strong>Unranked<br />
Midway through May last year, Lake Travis was ranked No. 4 in the Super 25. After getting upset in the playoffs, they dropped out completely. Now, they’re back in, and after rattling off 13 wins in a row to start the season, they aim to stay. The Cavaliers return the 2017 Texas Gatorade Player of the Year Brett Baty (pictured), who is the No. 2 third-baseman and No. 32 player in the country. <em><a href="" target="_blank">Read More…</a></em></p>

<p><em>Photo: Donald Boyles</em></p>

<p><strong>Location:</strong> Morristown, N.J.<br />
<strong>2018 record:</strong> 18-6<br />
<strong>Final 2018 Super 25 Rank: </strong>Unranked<br />
Unless something goes wrong for Delbarton, they’ll be in position to win the championship that eluded them last season. It starts with pitcher Jack Leiter (pictured), the No. 11 player in the country, per Perfect Game, and No. 3 RHP. The son of former MLB pitcher Al Leiter should put wins on the board. He’s committed to Vanderbilt, as is star shortstop Anthony Volpe, the No. 33 player on Perfect Game. They are the top two players in the state. <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Read More…</em></a></p>

<p><em>Photo: Jared Lowy</em></p>

<p><strong>Location:</strong> Orange, Calif.<br />
<strong>2018 record:</strong> 25-8<br />
<strong>Final 2018 Super 25 Rank: </strong>Unranked<br />
While most teams were still huddled inside with blankets avoiding the cold, Orange Lutheran defeated Valley Christian, last year’s top California school, in a February matchup. It looks to be a sign of things to come this season. The Lancers are returning a pair of studs ranked as top-15 pitchers of Perfect Game’s 2020 class, Max Rajcic (1.40 ERA over 48.2 innings) and Christian Rodriguez (1.54 ERA over 45.1). <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Read More…</em></a></p>

<p><em>Photo: Mike Fusco</em></p>

<p><strong>Location:</strong> Marietta, Ga.<br />
<strong>2018 record:</strong> 34-8<br />
<strong>Final 2018 Super 25 Rank: </strong>Unranked<br />
With five All-State players returning, including Georgia Player of the Year Buddy Floyd (pictured), the Greyhounds look poised to be in contention to three-peat. Floyd hit .391 last year with 32 RBI, 16 stolen bases and 50 runs scored. He’s the No. 152 shortstop in the country. Floyd is one of four top-500 players on the team. <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Read More…</em></a></p>

<p><em>Photo: Brandon Orr</em></p>

<p><strong>Location:</strong> Lake Charles, La.<br />
<strong>2018 record:</strong> 33-6<br />
<strong>Final 2018 Super 25 Rank: </strong>Unranked<br />
Sam Houston has some of the top talent in Louisiana, boasting three 2019 players in the top-50 in the state. But the real gem is 2020 pitcher Marcus Mott (pictured), an LSU commit ranked the No. 2 RHP in the state and No. 114 RHP in the country. He’s at the top of a strong rotation that has three pitchers who can eclipse 90 miles per hour. <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Read More…</em></a></p>

<p><em>Photo: Shellie Norris</em></p>

<p><strong>Location:</strong> Roswell, Ga.<br />
<strong>2018 record:</strong> 34-5<br />
<strong>Final 2018 Super 25 Rank: </strong>Unranked<br />
The Titans look poised for their seventh-straight 30-win season. Nine games into the season, the team is already 8-1, and Jake Smith already has a dozen RBI. But he’s not just a hitter. Smith is one of the most effective relief pitchers in the country. After a sophomore campaign with a 0.43 ERA, Smith posted a miniscule 0.27 ERA over 18 appearances with seven saves as a junior.<em> </em><a href="" target="_blank"><em>Read More…</em></a></p>

<p><em>Photo: Patrick Dever (CJ Abrams pictured)</em></p>

<p><strong>Location:</strong> Studio City, Calif.<br />
<strong>2018 record:</strong> 26-4<br />
<strong>Final 2018 Super 25 Rank: </strong>Unranked<br />
Last year, the Wolverines rattled off 16 straight wins and outscored opponents 129-38 during that stretch – only to fall in the first round of the playoffs. Pete Crow-Armstrong returns as the No. 4 player in the junior class after bashing .427 with 22 RBI and 11 stolen bases. Vanderbilt commit Sam Hliboki (pictured) went 8-1 last year with a 1.26 ERA and 90 strikeouts. <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Read More…</em></a></p>

<p><em>Photo: Eric Dearborn</em></p>

<p><strong>Location:</strong> Clearwater, Fla.<br />
<strong>2018 record:</strong> 30-1<br />
<strong>Final 2018 Super 25 Rank: </strong>No. 22<br />
After winning 60 games in a row, Calvalry Christian was taken down in the championship game last season. They’re off to start a new winning streak in 2019. TCU commit Nolan Hudi, the No. 53 LHP in the country, enters his senior year. There’s not much way he can get better than last after posting a 0.44 ERA with 13 wins in 14 starts. And he’s just one piece of the dominant rotation that combined for a 1.05 ERA. <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Read More…</em></a></p>

<p><em>Photo: Calvary Christian Baseball</em></p>

<p><strong>Location:</strong> Malvern, Pa.<br />
<strong>2018 record:</strong> 30-7<br />
<strong>Final 2018 Super 25 Rank: </strong>Unranked<br />
After starting last year 12-6, Malvern went on an 18-1 championship run in which the only loss came in extra innings. The Friars will look to carry that momentum into 2019. Virginia commit Chris Newell, ranked No. 59 in the country, has hit .410 with six home runs, 12 triples and 65 RBI over his two-year varsity career. Lonnie White, a Clemson commit ranked No. 63, hit .290 with a pair of home runs as a freshman last season. <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Read More…</em></a></p>

<p><em>Photo: Regina White (Liam Dabagian pictured)</em></p>

<p><strong>Location:</strong> Southaven, Miss.<br />
<strong>2018 record:</strong> 29-9<br />
<strong>Final 2018 Super 25 Rank: </strong>Unranked<br />
The Jaguars are looking to repeat as champions this year. The checklist looks good: star shortstop? Check. Kamren James is the No. 1 at his position in the state after a .389 campaign with 43 RBI and seven home runs. He can also take the mound, going 3-1 with a 1.80 ERA. … Returning stud sophomore? Check. Blaze Jordan (pictured) was named the MaxPreps freshman of the Year after hitting .426 with seven home runs and 37 RBI. <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Read More…</em></a></p>

<p><em>Photo: DCHS Baseball</em></p>

<p><strong>Location:</strong> San Jose, Calif.<br />
<strong>2018 record:</strong> 29-3-1<br />
<strong>Final 2018 Super 25 Rank: </strong>No. 5<br />
After a dominant championship 2018 season, Valley Christian got off to a slow start this year, going 1-2 with an extra-innings win. But they’ve rounded into form since, outscoring their next three opponents 25-3 and confirming they’re still down their championship path behind Coleman Brigman (.376 BA, 15 RBI, 15 SB), Eddie Park (.376 BA, 17 RBI; 1.20 ERA, 17 K) and Jonathan Cymrot (.318 BA, 19 RBI; 0.00 ERA, 32 K in 30 IP as a freshman). <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Read More…</em></a></p>

<p><em>Photo: Valley Christian Baseball</em></p>

<p><strong>Location:</strong> Colleyville, Texas<br />
<strong>2018 record:</strong> 34-9-1<br />
<strong>Final 2018 Super 25 Rank: </strong>Unranked<br />
If Colleyville Heritage finds a way to supplant Argyle and Lake Travis in Texas, it will probably be because of Bobby Witt Jr. (pictured). The No. 1 player in the country is an “outstanding” defender with 100 mph exit velocity, according to Perfect Game. The team’s infield is very strong as a whole, with No. 4 third-baseman Chandler Freeman and No. 76 second-baseman Mason Greer joining Witt. <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Read More…</em></a></p>

<p><em>Photo: CHHS Baseball</em></p>

<p><strong>Location:</strong> Las Vegas, Nev.<br />
<strong>2018 record:</strong> 31-9<br />
<strong>Final 2018 Super 25 Rank: </strong>No. 17<br />
Palo Verde’s addition of three top 2020 players made their road back to the championship a little bit clearer. Most notably, the Panthers added Jaden Agassi, the No. 1 player in Nevada and No. 47 in the country. He joins Paul Pasqualotto and Paul Mirro, as 2020 incomers. The latter two are versatile defenders who can play other positions as senior Peyton Cole (pictured) (No. 10 player in state) mans shortstop this season and take over when he pitches. <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Read More…</em></a></p>

<p><em>Photo: Joe Hallead</em></p>

<p><strong>Location:</strong> Charlotte, N.C.<br />
<strong>2018 record:</strong> 25-5<br />
<strong>Final 2018 Super 25 Rank: </strong>Unranked<br />
Providence fell in the regional finals last year, but don’t fret: The Stallions still have Tyler Callihan, who jacks 400-foot home runs and is the No. 9 senior in the country, according to Perfect Game. Joining him is Nathan Hickey (#7 pictured), the No. 145 player in the country and No. 25 in Florida, and two strong incomers in Florida commit Tucker Talbott (No. 90 in state) and Brady Ortmann. <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Read More…</em></a></p>

<p><em>Photo: Transou Photography</em></p>

<p><strong>Location:</strong> Huntington Beach, Calif.<br />
<strong>2018 record:</strong> 26-6<br />
<strong>Final 2018 Super 25 Rank: </strong>Unranked<br />
Huntington Beach has a deep team that’s bolstered by two transfers and five left-handed pitchers. There are two UCLA commits, senior Josh Hahn (pictured)(LHP/1B, No. 124 in country) and junior Jake Vogel (OF, No. 129 in country). The Oilers have a third top-200 player in outfielder Shane Stafford, who’s still a sophomore but is committed to San Diego State. <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Read More…</em></a></p>

<p><em>Photo: Terry Jack</em></p>

<p><strong>Location:</strong> Fort Lauderdale, Fla.<br />
<strong>2018 record:</strong> 17-15<br />
<strong>Final 2018 Super 25 Rank: </strong>No. 19<br />
After having to forfeit 12 games last year due to violating transfer rules, Calvary Christian looks to continue where they left off. The Eagles won its final seven games and won the championship over Calvary Christian (Clearwater, Fla.). <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Read More…</em></a></p>

<p><em>Photo: Illuminated Imaging</em></p>

<p><strong>Location:</strong> Cypress, Texas<br />
<strong>2018 record:</strong> 32-9-2<br />
<strong>Final 2018 Super 25 Rank: </strong>Unranked<br />
Every great team needs an ace. Cypress Ranch has two. JJ Goss and Matthew Thompson are ranked No. 16 and 17 in the country, respectively, as the No. 6 and 7 right-handed pitchers. Goss went 10-2 with 93 strikeouts and a 1.36 ERA; Thompson went 5-1 with 87 Ks and a 2.38 ERA. Both are committed to Texas A&M, but the Aggies might not even get their services, as both are graded 10/10 on Perfect Game. <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Read More…</em></a></p>

<p><em>Photo: CFISD</em></p>

<p><strong>Location:</strong> Baltimore, Md.<br />
<strong>2018 record:</strong> 16-13<br />
<strong>Final 2018 Super 25 Rank: </strong>Unranked<br />
Archbishop Spalding makes up for the lack of upper-echelon talent with one of the deepest rosters in the country. Spalding has talent all around the lineup. Josh Moylan (pictured) is the No. 230 junior in the country and No. 3 in the state and plays 1B and pitches. Ethan McCormick is the No. 11 Maryland player in the 2020 class and Noah Mrotek is the No. 4 sophomore in the state, already committed to Maryland. <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Read More…</em></a></p>

<p><em>Photo: Kathy Godrick</em></p>

<p><strong>Location:</strong> Stillwater, Minn.<br />
<strong>2018 record:</strong> 21-5-1<br />
<strong>Final 2018 Super 25 Rank: </strong>Unranked<br />
After winning the championship last year, Stillwater will look to ride the top two players in the state back to the top. This one-two punch of RHP Will Frisch (pictured), ranked No. 136 player by Perfect Game, and LHP Drew Gilbert (No. 260), are returning for their senior years after playing on the Minnesota Blizzard club program. This likely won’t even be their last year together, as the two are committed to Oregon State. <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Read More…</em></a></p>

<p><em>Photo: Stu Groskreutz, Stillwater Gazette </em></p>

<p><strong>Location:</strong> Oklahoma City, Okla.<br />
<strong>2018 record:</strong> 33-6<br />
<strong>Final 2018 Super 25 Rank: </strong>No. 22<br />
After starting 7-4 last season, Westmoore won 26 of its next 27 games – and then the magic died out in the bottom of the seventh of the championship game and they <a href="—in-state-title-game/article_b396928e-5613-11e8-9a75-8f780d5fa042.html">lost 3-2 on a walk-off hit</a>. They’ll look to rediscover that fire this year after losing the championship game two years in a row. The most important players to the team will be Oklahoma State commit Kale Davis (pictured) and Jace Bohrofen. <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Read More…</em></a></p>

<p><em>Photo: Sandy Teel</em></p>

<p><strong>Location:</strong> Yucaipa, Calif.<br />
<strong>2018 record:</strong> 28-5<br />
<strong>Final 2018 Super 25 Rank: </strong>Unranked<br />
Coming off a championship season, Yucaipa returns pretty much everybody. All seven returning every-day players hit above .300, including Jordan Andrade (.415 BA, two home runs, 36 RBI) and Michael Carpentier (.366 BA, three home runs, 34 RBI). Also coming back is Tyson Heaton (pictured), who hit .373 while leading the team on the mound with 16 appearances and a 1.37 ERA. <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Read More…</em></a></p>

<p><em>Photo: Jennifer Cappuccio Maher, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG</em></p>

<p><strong>Location:</strong> Burbank, Ill.<br />
<strong>2018 record:</strong> 30-8<br />
<strong>Final 2018 Super 25 Rank: </strong>Unranked<br />
This remains a period of prosperity for St. Laurence. Reigning Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year Matt McCormick (pictured) has one year left with the team while his heir apparent, No. 4 player in the state Vitas Valincius, is still a sophomore. Those two seem prepared to lead the Vikings to another strong season and chase another Chicago Catholic League title. <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Read More… </em></a></p>

<p><em>Photo: St. Laurence Sports Media</em></p>

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California high school pitcher beats cancer twice en route to Opening Day start

When considering which pitcher might be best suited to accommodate the stress that comes with pitching on Opening Day, most high school coaches have to work through mental gymnastics, weighing a number of different ephemeral considerations.
Not South Hills High School (West Covina, Calif.) baseball coach Darren Murphy. For his team, the answer is simple: Give the ball to the guy who has already beaten cancer. Twice.
“We try to tell the other guys that do you think Jaylen’s (Fong) worried about bases loaded?” Murphy told Los Angeles ABC affiliate KABC. “The guy has been through cancer twice. Do you think that he’s worried about who we’re going to play. He’s had much tougher battles in his life than pitching on a Wednesday at 3:30.”

@SGVNSports @latsondheimer @CVUSD_Supt_DrS on a day we honor Coach Quinley who passed away from cancer, a 2x cancer survivor Jaylon Fong goes six shutout innings for the Huskies. #priceless
— South Hills Baseball (@SHBaseball03) February 10, 2019

Indeed, South Hills senior starting pitcher Jaylen Fong has already overcome remarkable odds to even suit up on a baseball field. Fong was diagnosed with childhood leukemia the first time at age 8. Four years later, he was declared cancer free, only for the condition to return just months later.
He beat that bout, too, and now has emerged as the metronome of the South Hills baseball team. He showed his worth on the diamond in the season’s first game: six shutout innings, three hits allowed and three K’s, with 43 strikes on 51 pitches. Final score? 6-0 South Hills against Carter.

The game was truly a full circle effort on the part of the South Hills team, which kicked off the game by honoring former South Hills assistant Tom Quinley, who passed away from lung cancer in August.
“I feel like nothing I face in the future could ever be that challenging,” Fong told KABC. “It was a huge honor (to start Opening Day). I just had to go out there and pitch for my coach because he always made me feel welcome here. He always asked me how I was doing.”
Mission accomplished. Now for a full, healthy season on the bump.

Arizona HS baseball player Collin Demas beat cancer. Now he's set to take the mound

In September, Scottsdale Horizon senior Collin Demas was told by his doctor he was cancer free.
“It was the best news I ever received in my life,” he said. “I actually got to return to school a couple of weeks later. I started being able to come back to baseball. I got my port out in December, and I could work out with the team.”
A week ago, Demas received the next-best news in his life.
New Horizon baseball coach Jeff Urlaub informed the pitcher that he made the team. Not only that, he was named a team captain.
“The only two things I wanted my senior year were to play golf and to be able to come back to baseball,” said Demas, who missed all of his junior season while battling leukemia. “So to hear that I was made captain meant a lot.”

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Demas has a new lease on life and it’s a new era for Horizon baseball. The 2019 baseball season begins Saturday for the Huskies at 1 p.m. against Paradise Valley.
After a difficult 2018 season, in which Eric Kibler, the only head coach the school has had since it started playing baseball in 1980, lost his fight with school administrators and the Paradise Valley school district to get one more season to lead the Huskies.
Urlaub, who played for Kibler and was an Horizon assistant, was promoted to head coach, replacing a man who had won 808 games, more than any baseball coach in Arizona high school history.
“You try to pick up where Coach Kibler left off,” said Urlaub, who was a pitcher in the Oakland Athletics’ organization. “He set the program and precedent of how things are run around here with the tradition and everything.”

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Urlaub and Stanford shortstop signee Kody Huff helped Demas get through last season with frequent visits.
“He was an inspiration in the fact that now I never take a day for granted,” Huff said. “I know he enjoys being on the field every day. It means a ton to him. It opens my eyes that each day I go to Husky Park, it’s such a blessing, playing for such a storied program, be around great guys, coaches. It’s stuff you can’t take for granted.”
Urlaub said it was an emotional moment when he told Demas he had a place on his first team and was one of the captains.
“It was a special moment for both of us,” Urlaub said. “I was with him going through his treatments last year, visiting him in the hospital. I was one of the first phone calls he made when he was cancer free.
“He said, ‘Coach, I’m ready to go out and play.’ I said, ‘All right, let’s go to work.’ It was a big moment for him. Obviously, it was a big moment for me (to tell him he was a team captain and made the team). I was honored to tell him that.”
Read the full story at the Arizona Republic.

No Manny Machado? This young Yankees fan doesn't want anyone from the AL East anyway

Finally, days into spring training, one of the marquee free agents has agreed to a deal.
Star infielder Manny Machado reportedly agreed to a 10 year, $300 million deal with the San Deigo Padres, spurning other suitors including the New York Yankees.
But there’s at least one child who’s glad Machado didn’t choose his favorite team.
“You’re not going to take a guy you hate from another team!” he exclaims to an SNYtv camera. He also lists a handful of other stars that, no, he does not want to come to the Bronx.
Machado spent most of his career with the Baltimore Orioles, another team in the Yankees’ division, the American League East.

this kid EXTREMELY did not want Manny Machado
— SNY (@SNYtv) February 19, 2019
When he’s loudly asked why he didn’t want Machado, the kid displays some knowledge about the league in his response.
“I don’t want anybody from the AL East!” he yells, then names Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox 2018 MVP Mookie Betts and 2015 MVP Josh Donaldson, who played on the Toronto Blue Jays for the better part of four seasons, as more stars he would hate to have on the Yankees.
“I don’t want any of those guys! I mean –” he pauses, searching for the right words to properly convey his revulsion to the idea – “You can take any other guy in the league, I just don’t want anybody — I mean –” he breaks off, too frustrated by the mere idea of Machado in pintstripes to continue the train of thought.

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You can respect the youngster sticking to his guns. Loyalty is love, and he’s not about to extend an arm to a player he hates just because he has a career batting average of .282, per-162 game stats of 31 home runs and 90 RBI and three Gold Gloves.
He’s content to stick with homegrown guys like Aaron Judge, Miguel Andujar and Luis Severino.
It’s unclear how he feels about Red Sox defectors like Johnny Damon and Jacoby Ellsbury, though it is possible he came around to them.
But from the sound of it, it’s unlikely — though he was probably too young to have those emotions when Ellsbury signed with the Yanks and definitely did not feel those emotions when Damon chose New York.
“It’s kind of like taking Tom Brady from the Patriots and adding him to the Dolphins!” he exclaims. “It just doesn’t happen!”