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NHSI

2017 National High School Invitational Day 4

April 1, 2017

CARY, N.C.-- Senior shortstop Tristan Hanoian remembers the last time he was at the National High School Invitational with Orange (Calif.) Lutheran-they aren't great memories.

Lutheran won only once in the 2014 edition of the NHSI when Hanoian was a freshman. A few weeks prior to the 2017 tournament, the Texas Christian commit wasn't happy with how his team was playing, citing selfish at-bats as the main factor.

Now, sitting at the podium, celebrating a 3-2 win over Dana Hills (Dana Point, Calif.) in the championship game, Hanoian can look forward to replacing those memories.

"This week we really took team at-bats and we played probably the best baseball we've payed in a long time," Hanoian said. ". . . This has probably been the best team I've ever played for, too."

Orange Lutheran was the last team standing in a 16-team field after an exceptionally strong defensive showing Saturday, backing up senior starter Nicholas Janowicz (who threw two no-hit, shutout innings) and senior Zach Busalacchi, who tossed the remaining five innings and also drew a pair of crucial walks.

"What a game," Lutheran coach Eric Borba said. "It was wild. Ups and downs . . . every way you'd want a championship game to be. We didn't pitch as well as we could, but we found ways to get out of innings. We played great defense and we got the big sacrifice fly there at the end."

That sacrifice fly was a perfect example of the team-oriented approach that Hanoian was looking to see out of his teammates. After a successful sacrifice bunt by Brenden Avventino, Borba called on Jasiah Dixon, a sophomore Southern California commit.

"Coach told me to go swing a bat, and I was pretty excited," Dixon said.

Perhaps too excited at first. Dixon chased a ball low in the dirt, and found himself backed into a 1-2 count. The next pitch he saw was up. So he took it.

"And then it came, the moment," Dixon said. "I was just telling myself I've got to mentally prepare for a team at-bat right now. And once I saw that fastball up, I knew I had to go get it and put it in the outfield. Score that run."

Junior catcher Caleb Ricketts tagged from third and score the winning run.

Huntington Beach 4, Canterbury School 3
Huntington Beach (Calif.) didn't do exactly what it wanted this week in the National High School Invitational, but ended on a high note Saturday with a 4-3 win over Canterbury (Fort Myers, Fla.) High, improving to 9-3 overall during the last three years in the tournament.

"Nine and three in the national tournament over three years-nothing to be ashamed of at all," coach Benji Medure said. "This tournament really put us on the map as a program and we really feel privileged to be here. And hopefully in years to come we can get back here and try to win it again."

The Oilers topped West Chaminade, 7-2, in the 2016 NHSI championship game, but had to settle for a consolation victory behind a strong pitching performance Saturday by Hagen Danner.

Danner hit a pair of batters in his first inning before finding the feel for his curveball in the second inning. He went on to throw five innings, striking out six batters and walking one while getting regular swings and misses on his 11-5, 76-77 mph curve.

American Heritage 6, Hamilton 5
American Heritage outlasted Hamilton High in a marathon game to close out the National High School Invitational, defeating the Huskies 6-5 in 11 innings.

Hamilton led took a 3-0 lead behind five scoreless innings by Dustin Bermudez and rallied from a 4-2 deficit. Cory Acton drove home two with a double and later two on an infield chopper with the bases loaded to tie the game for American Heritage.

Little-used reliever Anthony Boix tossed four innings, giving up one in the 11th as Hamilton took a 5-4 lead, before the Patriots rallied to win won an RBI double by Alfonso Guillen to tie and an RBI single by Santiago Garavito.

Winder-Barrow 6, Rocky Mountain 5
Winder-Barrow finished the NHSI 3-1, denying a game Rocky Mountain team a victory in its final game with a 6-5 walk-off victory.

Rocky Mountain, trailing 4-3 entering the sixth, scored a pair of runs on John Sorensen's single to take the lead. However, Winder-Barrow answered with a sacrifice fly to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth. The Bulldoggs won it in extra innings on a walk-off wild pitch.

"I loved it," Bulldoggs coach Brian Smith said of the NHSI. "Everything was first class, and what we have in the state of Georgia this year is a neutral-site state championship, so it will be a setting just like this. We go in and a little bit of tournament-type atmosphere to win the state, so it's great practice for that."

Merritt Island 7. Brother Rice 2
In each team's final game of the National High School Invitational, Merritt Island was able to get the win over Brother Rice, 7-2.

The Mustangs got three runs on the board in the first inning. This rally was nearly broken on a squeeze attempt, but third basemen Joe Johnson was able to get the barrel to a pitch way over his head. Two batters later, Ricardo Diaz was able to open up the inning with a two-run single.

Junior Collin Taulbee showcased a fastball that topped out at 84 mph and settled in at 80-82. He complemented this with three off-speed pitches. A sweeping curve at 68-70 that he used to break into the front door to righties, A 12-6 curve at 72-74 that had tight spin at times, and a changeup at 72-73 that showed sinking action.

Arlington 2, Hough 1
A pitcher's duel broke out on Field 3 of the National Training Complex, a game that was an afterthought in the NHSI standings and anything but that to Arlington (Tenn.) and Hough High of Charlotte, N.C.

Arlington got three of its five hits when it counted, rallying for its first NHSI victory on Noah Miller's walk-off single for a 2-1 victory. Righthander Ryan Taylor tossed a complete game for the win.

"I told the guys the other day, you learn a lot through failure, and you don't always learn from victory," Arlington coach Chris Ring said. "I told the guys, I think we've learned a lot, because we're 0-3; it was time for a win."

Trinity Christian 2, South Hills 1
Trinity Christian (Jacksonville, Fla.) sophomore righthander Austin Thomas is jokingly called "Big Bird" by his teammates.

And in Saturday's National High School Invitational consolation matchup against South Hills (West Covina, Calif.), Thomas certainly came up big.

The lanky long-haired righthander cruised threw a seven-inning complete game, shutting down the powerful Huskies in a 2-1 Conquerers win. Thomas struck out six and allowed three hits, walking none. He touched 88 mph while mixing in a changeup and a slow curveball.



Since 1981m, Baseball America has covered baseball at all levels from a scouting and player-development point of view. Based in Durham, N.C., Baseball America covers the majors, minors, international, colleges, high schools and the draft like no one else. BA's brand of baseball coverage is available in the print magazine, at baseballamerica.com, in our podcasts and on social media at Facebook.com/BaseballAmericaMag and @BaseballAmerica on Twitter.

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NHSI

USA Baseball Announces 2018 National High School Invitational Field

January 30, 2018

DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball announced on Tuesday the 16-team field that will compete in the 2018 USA Baseball National High School Invitational (NHSI) presented by the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance and the Town of Cary. The seventh annual event will take place at the USA Baseball National Training Complex (NTC) in Cary, North Carolina, from March 28-31; and select games will be streamed live on USABaseball.com, MLB.com and Facebook Live.

The 2018 field features six schools who have participated in the event previously, including two past champions. The defending champions, Orange Lutheran High School (Orange, Calif.), will begin their title defense on Wednesday, March 28 in a first-round game against Florence High School (Florence, Ala.).

"It is our honor as the national governing body for baseball to continue to highlight the high school game in the amateur baseball landscape with the National High School Invitational," said Paul Seiler, Executive Director and CEO of USA Baseball. "We are excited to welcome sixteen of the top prep baseball programs in the country, as well as some of the nation's best talent, for a truly one-of-a-kind high school baseball experience."

2016 North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4-A baseball state runner-ups, Green Hope High School (Cary, N.C.), will serve as the host of this year's tournament. Green Hope will play its opening game under the lights on Coleman Field against 2016 NHSI semifinalist Walton High School (Marietta, Ga.), following the Opening Ceremonies.

Two-time NHSI champion, Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana, Calif.), returns to the event for a fourth time and will take on Sandra Day O'Connor High School (Phoenix, Ariz.) in first-round action. Also returning to the NHSI are American Heritage High School (Plantation, Fla.) and Trinity Preparatory School (Winter Park, Fla.), who will face Santiago High School (Corona, Calif.) and Mountain Ridge High School (Glendale, Ariz.) on day one, respectively.

The final three first-round games feature six teams making their first-ever trip to the NHSI. George Jenkins High School (Lakeland, Fla.) will face Mount Carmel High School (Chicago, Ill.), Hanover High School (Mechanicsville, Va.) will face John Curtis High School (River Ridge, La.), and Hattiesburg High School (Hattiesburg, Miss.) will face Calvary Christian Academy (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.).

In total, 10 states are represented in the 2018 NHSI field, led by Florida with four teams, California with three teams and Arizona with two teams in the event. Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and Virginia are represented with one school each in the tournament.

"The National High School Invitational has established itself as the premier event of its kind," said Scott Dupree, Executive Director of the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance. "USA Baseball has done a superb job establishing and growing the NHSI, which has quickly become one of the most attractive events on our spring sports calendar, both in terms of fan interest and economic development. The GRSA is delighted and proud to be on board as a host partner."

The Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance (GRSA) and the Town of Cary continue to serve as host partners for the NHSI in 2018.

The National Training Complex (NTC), in partnership with the Town of Cary, has been the official home of USA Baseball since 2007, and the NHSI since its inception in 2012. The NTC has had numerous Major League Baseball players venture through its gates, including Chris Archer, Cody Bellinger, Kris Bryant, Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg. The Town of Cary received the National Gold Medal Grand Plaque Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management in 2016. The award honors U.S. communities that demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition.

The NHSI is a single-elimination championship tournament, with each participating team guaranteed to play four games.

For more information on the USA Baseball National High School Invitational, visit USABaseball.com or follow @USABaseball and @USABEvents on Twitter.

2018 National High School Invitational First Round Schedule:
Hanover vs. John Curtis (9:30 a.m. - Field 3)
George Jenkins vs. Mount Carmel (10:30 a.m. - Field 4)
Orange Lutheran vs. Florence (11:30 a.m. - Coleman Field)
American Heritage vs. Santiago (12:30 p.m. - Field 3)
Hattiesburg vs. Calvary Christian (1:30 p.m. - Field 4)
Mountain Ridge vs. Trinity Prep (2:30 p.m. - Coleman Field)
Sandra Day O'Connor vs. Mater Dei (3:30 p.m. - Field 3)
Walton vs. Green Hope (6:07 p.m. - Coleman Field)

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NHSI

2017 National High School Invitational Day 3

March 31, 2017

CARY, N.C.-Dana Hills and Orange Lutheran will meet in an all-California championship game Saturday at the 2017 National High School Invitational. Both teams won semifinal games at Coleman Field, the main stadium at the National Training Complex.

Dana Hills 6, Winder-Barrow (Ga.) 5
Following its trend from the first two days of the NHSI, Dana Hills (Calif.) High pulled out another close game, beating Winder-Barrow (Winder, Ga.) 6-5 on Hans Crouse's walk-off single to advance to the championship game.

Similar to its first two NHSI games, Dana Hills found itself behind early. But like days prior, the Dolphins were able to emerge victorious.

"These guys prevailed, they hung in there and there was no quit in them," Coach Tom Faris said. "It was fun to watch."

Crouse got it started for Dana Hills with a two-run single in the first. The Dolphins threatened again in the second, but a heads-up play by Winder-Barrow catcher Beau Hanna stymied the attack, and the Georgia school responded two innings later, scoring five runs.

Dana Hills rallied in the seventh, down a run, Dana Hills loaded the bases with one out. Joe DeBaca walked to force in a run and tie it 5-5. That brought up Crouse, who wowed scouts in the NHSI's first day by hitting 98 mph while matching up with lefthander Jacob Heatherly of Cullman (Ala.) High.

This time with the bat, Crouse impressed again, flaring a 1-0 fastball into right field, barely out of the reach of the Winder-Barrow infield.

Orange Lutheran 5, South Hills 3
In a semifinal of two Southland schools located less than 30 miles apart, Orange Lutheran got the better of its neighbor, advancing to the NHSI final for the first time in its third NHSI trip following a 5-3 victory.

The key was the fourth inning, as OLu rallied from a 3-1 deficit. Junior catcher Caleb Ricketts led off with a single. First baseman Zach Busalacchi followed Ricketts with a double to right field, and Elijah Buries dropped a double into left field-just out of the reach of a diving Cole Francis. Pinch-hitter Max Rajcic followed with a triple to right-center to give Lutheran the lead for good.

"It was wild. It was crazy. We knew it was going to be a dog fight," Orange Lutheran coach Eric Borba said. "We're just happy to be in the championship (Saturday)."
Orange Lutheran got on board in the top of the first after leadoff hitter Tristan Hanoian, a Texas Christian commit, singled and came around to score. South Hills quickly regained the lead with a three-run second inning in which shortstop Jacob Amaya, third baseman Jacob Dominguez and right fielder Carlos Camarena all scored.

Archbishop McCarthy 12, Canterbury School 5
McCarthy, which scored just four runs combined in its first two games, erupted for 15 hits, including three from Joe Perez and four from Luis Tuero, a junior committed to Miami.

Perez, ranked No. 42 on Baseball America's Top 100 draft prospects, drove home seven with a grand slam in the first, a run-scoring single in the second and a two-run double in the third inning.

Alex Toral, the No. 55 prospect on the Top 100 Draft Prospects, added a booming double and scored two runs. Ranked first in the country, McCarthy improved to 2-1 on the NHSI.

American Heritage 7, Trinity Christian 4
Bouncing back from a tough shutout loss on Thursday, American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.) used a six-run second inning to take down Trinity Christian Academy (Jacksonville, Fla.) 7-4 in Friday's NHSI action.

Capitalizing on three walks and an error in the second frame, the Patriots sent 10 men to the plate and got contributions up and down the lineup. Leadoff man and shortstop Mark Vientos notched two hits and scored two runs in the first two frames, with catcher Julio Cortez adding three RBIs with his two knocks. Third baseman Cory Acton and DH Dylan Goldstein each drove in a run.

The Conquerors were in the game until the end, scoring one in the second and then battling back from the early six-run deficit with a run in the third and two in the fifth. Trinity Christian center fielder Chad Ragland led the offensive charge with three hits, including two doubles, and scoring two runs. DH Trevor Chisolm added an RBI for the squad.

 



Since 1981m, Baseball America has covered baseball at all levels from a scouting and player-development point of view. Based in Durham, N.C., Baseball America covers the majors, minors, international, colleges, high schools and the draft like no one else. BA's brand of baseball coverage is available in the print magazine, at baseballamerica.com, in our podcasts and on social media at Facebook.com/BaseballAmericaMag and @BaseballAmerica on Twitter.

 

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NHSI

2017 National High School Invitational Day 2

March 30, 2017

The semifinals are set at the 2017 National High School Invitational.

Three California schools are shooting to give the state six titles in seven years of NHSI, as South Hills will take on Orange Lutheran in one semifinal. Meanwhile, Dana Hills takes on interloper Winder-Barrow (Ga.) in the other matchup. Here's how they got there, plus recaps of the rest of the day's action:

South Hills 5, Archbishop McCarthy 1
The first quarterfinal game of the National High School Invitational didn't disappoint Thursday, with a top-25 matchup resulting in a 5-1 victory for No. 17 South Hills (West Covina, Calif.) over No. 1 Archbishop McCarthy (Southwest Ranches, Fla.).

It was a coming out party of sorts for South Hills righty Brandon Dieter. While Dieter-a junior two-way player committed to Stanford-was well-known coming into the NHSI, he elevated his national recognition after a four-hit, one-run performance against one of the best lineups in the country.

"(Dieter was) phenomenal from right out of the gate," said South Hills shortstop Jacob Amaya, who went 1-for-3 with a bases clearing double. "From pitch one he was on."

Dieter showcased his four-pitch mix from the first inning, and sat in the mid-80s throughout his seven innings of work (touching as high as 88) and getting his fastball up to 87 in the seventh inning. The Cardinal commit throws a four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, curveball and changeup and used all of those offerings to stymie McCarthy, including a stretch from the fourth inning through the seventh where he retired 11 straight batters.

Winder-Barrow 7, American Heritage 0
The Winder-Barrow High (Winder, Ga.) Bulldogs don't care who they play. They're coming for everyone.

A day after knocking off defending NHSI champ Huntington Beach (Calif.) High, the Bulldogs took on another storied baseball powerhouse Wednesday in American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.) and shut it out, 7-0, to advance to the NHSI semifinals.

"We just want to be ourselves, that's all we keep saying," Winder-Barrow coach Brian Smith said. "Be who we are, do what we do. We're not trying to do anything different because of whoever we're playing, we just work to our strengths and that's what these guys are about."

Winder-Barrow's strength is pitching to weak contact and playing defense, and that's exactly what the Bulldogs did behind senior righthander Darrell Woodall, who threw 6.2 shutout innings before being forced to exit in the seventh due to his pitch count. Woodall also finished out Wednesday's win over Huntington Beach with two innings in relief of lefthander Daniel Buice.

Woodall held a talented Heritage lineup to just a pair of hits through the first six innings and came one batter shy of throwing the complete game, with first baseman Triston Casas singling in the top of the seventh to end his day after 105 pitches.

Dana Hills 6, Canterbury School 3
After a thriller in its first game on Wednesday, a battle-tested Dana Hills High (Dana Hills, Calif.) squad overcame adversity again Thursday in 6-3 win over The Canterbury School (Fort Myers, Fla.).

In the fourth, Dana Hills was able to capitalize errors. The big blow was again delivered by first baseman Joe DeBaca, whose RBI single in the first had given Dana Hills a short-lived lead. Now in the fourth, he sat back on a sharp slider to take it back up the middle for an RBI single to put the score at 5-3.

This was more than enough for Dana Hills starter Jack Sterner. Sterner settled in after Canterbury's three-run second to toss 6.1 innings of three-run ball.

Orange Lutheran 5, Trinity Christian 1
Orange Lutheran had been in this position before, having advanced to the quarterfinals of the National High School Invitational, only to get no further.

In the inaugural NHSI, the Lancers were beaten in their second game by Sarasota (Fla.) High's Evan Mendoza, now of N.C. State. In 2014, Orange Lutheran didn't even get that far as it was shut down by Touki Toussaint of Coral Springs (Fla.) Christian Academy, who punched out 12 in a 1-0, one-hit, six-inning gem.

So coach Eric Borba knows it's an accomplishment to get as far as his team has now: the NHSI semifinals.

"It's a great feeling," he said. "We've been back here two times and haven't been able to get this far, so it was a goal of ours. To get two (wins) under your belts . . . really excited. I think our guys feel really excited."

Orange Lutheran moved to 2-0 in the 2017 NHSI with a 5-1 win over Trinity Christian Academy (Jacksonville, Fla.) on Thursday behind six strong innings from lefthander Jason Farese.

Brother Rice 12, Rocky Mountain 1
In its second game of the day at the 2017 National High School Invitational, Brother Rice scored five runs in the second and six in the fifth en route to a 12-1 win over Rocky Mountain. Brett Bagus' hit really got Brother Rice going. He fired the opening salvo with a bases-clearing triple in the second to give the Crusaders an early lead. This would be more than enough for Brother Rice starter Jake Ridgway. The righty struck out six in four innings and his one run allowed was unearned.

Merritt Island 8, Arlington 0
Merritt Island (Fla.) High junior righthander Mason Denaburg tossed a gem on Thursday night, guiding the Mustangs to an 8-0 win over Arlington (Tenn.) High.

Denaburg struck out 11 and allowed just three hits while walking two over six shutout innings. Denaburg, a Florida commit, also went 3-for-4 at the plate.

Merritt Island shortstop Brady McConnell went 3-for-4 and he also reached on an error. In the second inning, he hit a hard line drive to the gap in left center field for a triple. In the sixth inning, McConnell hit another line drive to left for a double.

Cullman 7, Brother Rice 3
Disheartened after a hard-fought loss to open its bid at the National High School Invitational tournament on Wednesday, Cullman (Ala.) High lifted its spirits in the best possible way on Thursday, with a 7-3 win over the Brother Rice High (Chicago).

Cullman had 11 hits, with center fielder Owen Lovell, DH Jacob Heatherly, middle infielder Carter Bowen and catcher Weston Norton all driving runs in, Lovell leading the offensive charge with two hits and two RBIs, and the backstop notched three singles.

After sharing their widespread disappointment with the way the event started, the Bearcats came out of the gate swinging in their second contest. Each of their first five batters recorded a hit in the opening frame, and the top three in the lineup all came around giving them an early lead, and one they would never relinquish.

Cullman 6, Huntington Beach 2
Capitalizing on the momentum it gained from a big win less than an hour before its second game of the day, Cullman (Ala.) High kept rolling with a 6-2 victory over the Huntington Beach (Calif.) High on Thursday night in National High School Invitational action.

In support of a strong outing from Mississippi State commit Will Morrison, Bearcats center fielder Owen Lovell notched his second multi-hit contest of the day, one of three Cullman batters with two knocks in the game. Third baseman Noah Fondren led the offensive charge, driving in three runs, with DH Jacob Heatherly adding one RBI.

Morrison kept his team in the game, throwing seven strong innings and allowing two runs on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts. The junior righthander held Oilers top prospects Hagen Danner and Nick Pratto to just one hit total, an infield single for Danner, a UCLA commit, and walked each hitter once.

Hamilton 7, Hough 0
In its second game Thursday at the National High School Invitational at the USA Baseball National Training Complex, Hamilton High (Chandler, Ariz.) threw its second shutout of the day. The Huskies used their strong pitching performance and a six-run second inning to defeat tournament host Hough High (Cornelius, N.C.), 7-0.

Seniors Dominic Hamel, Cesare DeLuca and Andrey Arnett combined for a four-hit shutout. Hamel struck out one and held Hough to one hit and one walk in three innings. DeLuca followed three scoreless innings of his own, striking out three and allowing two hits. Arnett finished the game with a scoreless seventh.

Huntington Beach 8, Merritt Island 3
The final score would make it appear that Huntington Beach (Calif.) cruised to an easy 8-3 win over Merritt Island (Fla.) in a consolation game Thursday at the National High School Invitational.

Don't tell that to Kenny Kim.

When Kim came in to relieve starting pitcher Nate Madole in the fourth inning, he inherited a two-run lead, but in a situation with two men on, no outs and the top of the Merritt Island lineup coming up.

"I was just trying to hit my spots and get ground balls," Kim said. "I knew I was facing their one-two-three hitters, so I had to pitch carefully."

A strikeout, a ground out and a fly out later, Kim had gotten out of the inning without allowing a run or even a ball out of the infield.

Hamilton 3, Arlington 0
Hamilton High (Chandler, Ariz.) knows about first-game disappointments at the National High School Invitational, having lost its opener in 2013. But it also knows how to rebound.

Coming off a loss to the Canterbury School, in which they got blanked by helium prospect Sam Keating, Hamilton High rebounded Thursday by blanking Arlington (Tenn.) High 3-0 in the first game of Day Two of the 2017 NHSI at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.

Senior righthander Seth Sas blanked Arlington on six hits over six innings before shortstop/closer Drew Swift finished it. Hamilton, which had just four hits in its opener, knocked out nine on Thursday, two each from Britton Graham, who had the game's first RBI, and Brayden Merritt.

Hough 7, Rocky Mountain 2
It took Hough High (Cornelius, N.C) some time to find its offensive bearings, but the Huskies kicked into gear just in time.

Carter Williams hit the tie-breaking RBI single to start a five-run seventh inning, and the Huskies picked up a 7-2 win over Rocky Mountain High (Fort Collins, Colo.) on Thursday at the National High School Invitational.

Williams' bases-loaded single to the left side snapped a 2-2 tie and jump-started Hough's seventh-inning surge. North Carolina State signee Hunter Baker followed with a two-run single and Clemson commit JD Brock added an RBI triple as the Huskies batted around.

Williams finished 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs, Brock finished a home run shy of the cycle, and Jack Marcello went 2-for-3 with two runs scored.

Contributing: Hudson Belinsky, Alexis Brudnicki, Will Bryant, Ted Cahill, Carlos Collazo, J.J. Cooper, Kyle Glaser, Vince Lara-Cinisomo.



Since 1981m, Baseball America has covered baseball at all levels from a scouting and player-development point of view. Based in Durham, N.C., Baseball America covers the majors, minors, international, colleges, high schools and the draft like no one else. BA's brand of baseball coverage is available in the print magazine, at baseballamerica.com, in our podcasts and on social media at Facebook.com/BaseballAmericaMag and @BaseballAmerica on Twitter.

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NHSI

2017 National High School Invitational Day 1

March 28, 2017

CARY, N.C.-- Winder-Barrow (Ga.) knocked off defending champion Huntington Beach (Calif.) 3-1 in 10 innings Wednesday, making the biggest waves on opening day of the 2017 National High School Invitational.

Bulldogs lefthander Daniel Buice threw eight innings, using 103 pitches to out-duel USA Baseball national team veteran Nick Pratto and keep Winder-Barrow in the game. He allowed just five hits and a walk while striking out four.

"When I woke up this morning, I got a feeling," Buice said. "They're human beings just like us. So what, they've got draft prospects; yeah, great for them. I loved going out there and putting it right back at them. I enjoyed every moment of that." Pratto pitched 9.1 innings, striking out nine, but gave up two runs in the ninth as the Bulldogs rallied with a Beau Hanna single, an RBI double to right by Zach Smith and an RBI single by Darren Woodall, who also finished the game on the mound for Winder-Barrow to earn the victory.

The rest of Wednesday's first-round action:

Dana Hills (Calif.) 4, Cullman (Ala.) 3
Top 2017 draft prospects Hans Crouse and Jacob Heatherly were the marquee attractions, but it was more unheralded players who made the difference in the matchup between Dana Hills (Calif.) High and Cullman (Ala.). Jeremy Ciolek hit the tiebreaking RBI double and Thomas Van Hoomissen made a diving catch in right field to end the game, lifting Dana Hills over Cullman 4-3 on Wednesday afternoon.

Crouse and Heatherly each pitched 5.1 innings. Crouse, ranked No. 31 on BA's draft Top 100, struck out nine and retired seven of his last nine to earn the victory. Heatherly gave up two hits and four runs, hitting three batters and walking four while striking out six. "I just wasn't feeling it today," Heatherly said. "It wasn't one of my days, so I just tried to compete and fight through."

South Hills (West Covina, Calif.) 2, Brother Rice (Chicago) 0
South Hills High scored only two runs in the first inning against Brother Rice (Chicago) on Wednesday afternoon, but behind a strong start from senior lefty Karlos Morales, that's all they would need in a 2-0 victory.

Leadoff hitter and shortstop Jacob Amaya, a Cal State Fullerton commit, started it off with a single in the top of the first, stole second and later scored on a single by John Dearth to right. Dearth, a San Diego State commit who is a righthanded pitcher and first baseman normally but the DH Wednesday, scored when Morales singled right behind him out of the cleanup spot.

A Long Beach State commit, Morales plowed through four hitless innings and wound up allowing two hits and a pair of walks in 5.2 innings while striking out five. Senior Andres Alvarez got the final four outs, including a strikeout in the sixth to escape a first-and-third jam. They out-dueled Illinois commit Ryan Kutt, who tossed a complete game for Brother Rice while allowing one walk and striking out nine. South Hills advances to play top-ranked Archbishop McCarthy on Thursday.

Canterbury School (Fort Myers, Fla.) 7, Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.) 0
Three righthanders combined on a shutout as Canterbury School opened its first NHSI appearance with a victory. Sam Keating started, and the Clemson commit showed a low-90s fastball in four innings, walking one and striking out four. He added a sacrifice fly RBI at the plate. Cooper Swanson (a Florida State signee) got the next five outs, walking the bases loaded but getting two strikeouts, before junior Danny Cunningham got the final four outs.

Hamilton left 10 runners on base while Canterbury scored all seven of its runs with two outs, including four two-out RBI hits.

Orange (Calif.) Lutheran 7, Merritt Island (Fla. ) 3
On a team heavy with upperclassmen, a freshman reserve notched the big hit for Orange (Calif.) Lutheran in its NHSI opener. Elijah Buries delivered a pinch-hit, go-ahead RBI single to start a four-run fourth inning, and the Lancers rallied past Merritt Island (Fla.) for a 7-3 victory. Buries' single up the middle snapped a 3-3 tie and gave the Lancers the lead for good. Orange Lutheran batted around in the fourth inning with Hanoian, Caleb Ricketts and Zach Busalacchi adding RBI knocks of their own.

Overall the Lancers pounded out 12 hits on the day. Hanoian went 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run scored; Zach Lew went 2-for-4 with two runs; Garrett Mitchell went 1-for-3 with two runs and a stolen base; and Ricketts drove in three.

American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.) 10, Rocky Mountain (Fort Collins, Colo.) 0
American Heritage High (Plantation, Fla.) senior righthander Christian Santana worked a seven-inning complete-game shutout, striking out 11 and thoroughly dominating Rocky Mountain High (Fort Collins, Colo.).

Santana walked only one batter-with two outs in the seventh-and gave up just four hits. His fastball sat 88-91 mph, and he also showed a snap curveball at 74-77 and threw a few changeups that ranged 82-84.

Several scouts were in attendance to see American Heritage senior Mark Vientos, who went 4-for-5, and junior Triston Casas, who was 2-for-5 and drove in Vientos with the first run with a first-pitch double to the right center field gap in the first. But when Santana was on the mound, there were a phalanx of radar guns behind him.

Archbishop McCarthy (Southwest Ranches, Fla.) 3, Arlington (Tenn.) 1
Archbishop McCarthy High (Southwest Ranches, Fla.) righthander Joe Perez didn't have his best stuff Wednesday against Arlington (Tenn.) High in the second game of the 2017 National High School Invitational, but it didn't matter.

Perez, who is Baseball America's No. 42 overall draft prospect, worked three innings on 67 pitches as McCarthy topped Arlington 3-1. Perez sat 91-93 with his fastball, scattering a few 94s and touching 95 once during the outing, while also utilizing an upper 70s/lower 80s slider. Archbishop McCarthy ranks No. 1 on the Baseball America/BCA Top 25 rankings.

Right fielder Adan Fernandez paced McCarthy offensively, going 2-for-3 with a solo homer in the second inning that sparked a three-run inning, and a screaming double off the bottom of the left field fence in the sixth.

Alex Toral, the No. 55 overall draft prospect, went 1-for-3 and a hit-by-pitch after seeing a steady diet of breaking balls from Arlington senior lefty Blake Dallas, who gave his team 6.2 innings and 100 pitches.

Trinity Christian (Jacksonville, Fla.) 2, Hough (Charlotte) 1
Trinity righthander A.J. Labas struck out 13 to lead the Conquerors to a 2-1 walk-off victory against Hough High in the first game of Wednesday's action in the NHSI.

Labas threw 72 of his 92 pitches for strikes, with a fastball up to 92, using his changeup as a successful out pitch to both righties and lefties. He allowed one unearned run on six hits, walking none.

He dueled Huskies lefthander Nicholas Swiney, a North Carolina State signee, who kept his team in the game through three errors. Swiney couldn't get past the two miscues that drove in runs for Trinity Christian, including the final play that saw a leadoff walk come around after a sacrifice bunt and an infield error to end the contest. Swiney allowed two unearned runs on just two hits with two walks and four strikeouts.

Contributing: Alexis Brudnicki, Carlos Collazo, Kyle Glaser, Vince Lara-Cinisomo



Since 1981m, Baseball America has covered baseball at all levels from a scouting and player-development point of view. Based in Durham, N.C., Baseball America covers the majors, minors, international, colleges, high schools and the draft like no one else. BA's brand of baseball coverage is available in the print magazine, at baseballamerica.com, in our podcasts and on social media at Facebook.com/BaseballAmericaMag and @BaseballAmerica on Twitter.

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NHSI

USAB Announces 2017 NHSI First-Round Matchups

March 21, 2017

DURHAM, N.C. -- USA Baseball announced the first-round matchups for the 2017 National High School Invitational (NHSI) presented by the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance on Tuesday. The 2017 event will be played at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina, from Wednesday, March 29 to Saturday, April 1.

Defending champions Huntington Beach High School (Huntington Beach, Calif.) will begin its title defense against Winder-Barrow High School (Winder, Ga.) on Wednesday, March 29, at 2:45 p.m.

"Day one of the NHSI brings tremendous excitement to the National Training Complex with sixteen top prep baseball programs from across the nation excited to begin their pursuit of a championship," said USA Baseball Director of Program Development Mark Dvoroznak. "The 2017 event will once again pair top prospects and programs head-to-head in an atmosphere that elicits program and state pride at the highest level."

Following are the first round matchups and game times for day one. All times are listed in the Eastern time zone.

Matchup (Game time)
Hough High School vs. Trinity Christian Academy (9:00 a.m.)
Archbishop McCarty High School vs. Arlington High School (10:00 a.m.)
American Heritage High School vs. Rocky Mountain High School (11:00 a.m.)
Merritt Island High School vs. Orange Lutheran High School (12:15 p.m.)
Canterbury School vs. Hamilton High School (1:00 p.m.)
South Hills High School vs. Brother Rice High School (2:30 p.m.)
Winder-Barrow High School vs. Huntington Beach High School (2:45 p.m.)
Cullman High School vs. Dana Hills High School (3:15 p.m.)

Each corresponding day's schedules will be announced at the conclusion of the previous day's matchups. USA Baseball will adhere to the mandated schedule requirements set forth by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and each school's respective state federations.

Seven games of the 2017 NHSI will be broadcast live online on MLB.com and USABaseball.com. The broadcasts will begin on Wednesday, March 29 at 12:15 p.m. in a matchup between Merritt Island High School (Merritt Island, Fla.) and Orange Lutheran High School (Orange, Calif.), culminating with the championship game on Saturday, April 1 at 12:15 p.m.

For a complete game schedule, including live stat and streaming information, click here.

Be sure to follow @USABEvents and @USABaseball on Twitter for all of the latest information and coverage of the 2017 NHSI.

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NHSI

USA Baseball Unveils 2017 NHSI Field

January 5, 2017

DURHAM, N.C. -- USA Baseball announced on Thursday the 16 teams that will compete in the 2017 USA Baseball National High School Invitational (NHSI) presented by the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance.

The sixth annual event will take place at the USA Baseball National Training Complex (NTC) in Cary, North Carolina, from March 29 - April 1, and feature top prep baseball teams and individual talents from across the country. 

"As the National Governing Body for baseball in the United States, we are proud to put the spotlight on the high school game with the 2017 NHSI," said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball's Executive Director/CEO. "We are excited to welcome sixteen of the top high school programs to the National Training Complex for what is truly a one-of-a-kind competitive and developmental experience for these players and programs." 

Three-time defending MECKA 4A Conference champion Hough High School (Cornelius, N.C.) will serve as the host of this year's tournament. The Huskies finished its 2016 season with a 22-6 record and advanced to the second round of the NCHSAA AAAA state playoffs. 

Highlighting the 2017 field is defending NHSI champion Huntington Beach High School (Huntington Beach, Calif.), who defeated Chaminade College Preparatory School, 7-2, to win its first NHSI championship in 2016. Past participants American Heritage High School (Plantation, Fla.), Hamilton High School (Chandler, Ariz.), Orange Lutheran High School (Orange, Calif.) and Rocky Mountain High School (Fort Collins, Colo.) all also return to the event, vying for their first title. 

Florida and California are well represented with half of the 16-team field hailing from their states. Joining Huntington Beach High School and Orange High School out of the state of California are Dana Hills High School (Dana Point, Calif.) and South Hills High School (Covina, Calif.). Archbishop McCarthy High School (Southwest Ranches, Fla.), Canterbury School (Fort Meyers, Fla.) and Merritt Island High School (Merritt Island, Fla.) join American Heritage High School as representatives from Florida.

The state of Illinois will be represented at the National High School Invitational for the first time with the selection of Brother Rice High School (Chicago, Ill.) to the tournament field.  

Rounding out the 2017 NHSI tournament pool are Arlington High School (Arlington, Tenn.), Cullman High School (Cullman, Ala.), Malvern Preparatory School (Malvern, Pa.) and Winder-Barrow High School (Winder, Ga.).

"In just a few short years the National High School Invitational has established itself as the premier event of its kind in the nation," said Scott Dupree, Executive Director of the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance. "USA Baseball has done a fantastic job creating, developing and growing the NHSI, which is now a signature event on our spring sports calendar, both in terms of fan interest and economic development. We are delighted to be on board as a host partner."

The Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance was named the presenting sponsor for the event following a renewed partnership agreement with USA Baseball in August of 2016. The partnership renewal highlighted the economic impact USA Baseball has had within the Greater Raleigh area since its relocation to Cary, North Carolina in 2003 and the opening of the USA Baseball National Training Complex in partnership with the Town of Cary.  

The Town of Cary recently received the National Gold Medal Grand Plaque Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management. The award honors U.S. communities that demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition.

The NHSI is a single-elimination championship tournament, with each participating team guaranteed to play four games. The official event schedule will be announced on USABaseball.com as part of a pre-event video series beginning on February 21.  

2017 National High School Invitational Participants:
American Heritage High School (Plantation, Fla.)
Archbishop McCarthy High School (Southwest Ranches, Fla.)
Arlington High School (Arlington, Tenn.)
Brother Rice High School (Chicago, Ill.)
Canterbury School (Fort Meyers, Fla.)
Cullman High School (Cullman, Ala.)
Dana Hills High School (Dana Point, Calif.)
Hamilton High School (Chandler, Ariz.)
Hough High School (Cornelius, N.C.)
Huntington Beach High School (Huntington Beach, Calif.)
Malvern Preparatory School (Malvern, Pa.)
Merritt Island High School (Merritt Island, Fla.)
Orange Lutheran High School (Orange, Calif.)
Rocky Mountain High School (Fort Collins, Colo.)
South Hills High School (West Covina, Calif.)
Winder-Barrow High School (Winder, Ga.)

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NHSI

NHSI Championship is icing on the cake for Huntington Beach (Calif.)

March 26, 2016

CARY, N.C. -- Each of the past four seasons, the Huntington Beach (Calif.) Oilers accomplished a little more than they had previously.

At first, winning a local tournament was a big deal. Then it was getting invited to a big tournament in Southern California. Last season there was a trip to the National High School Invitational, followed by a Southern CIF title in California.

But Saturday took the cake. Literally.

Sophomore pitcher Nate Madole, who was pitching for the Huntington Beach freshman team a year ago, pitched 6 ⅓ innings, earning a 7-2 victory over Chaminade Prep (Calif.) in the championship game of the NHSI at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.

Then he got a postgame cake in the face from his teammates during a postgame TV interview for his trouble.

But cleaning icing from his hair wasn't the toughest thing he did Saturday. There had already been the matter of a tough Chaminade lineup.

"I knew that I wasn't going to be blowing anyone away, especially with a good team like Chaminade," Madole said. "With a great defense behind me I was just looking to pitch to contact and throw as many strikes as I could. I knew my defense would be able to make all the plays."

That was exactly what the Eagles expected, Chaminade coach Frank Mutz said. They just didn't handle it well.

"Our hitting coach did a great job of coming up with a plan for it, and the guys just didn't execute," Chaminade Prep coach Frank Mutz said. "With this type of a pitcher, a guy who is around the zone all the time, you're gonna try and pull him and yank and yank, he's going to be successful all day. Your approach has to be back up the middle, and we didn't stick with our plan.

"But give him a lot of credit, he threw strikes and kept us off balance. They came out ready to go."

Chaminade did manage an early lead, getting a run in the first on a seeing-eye single between first and second by Blake Solis that scored Nick Kahle from second.

Huntington Beach got that back, and more, in the second.

After Hagen Danner doubled to left and took third on a Landon Silver single, he scored on a Trevor Windisch bunt. One out later, Dominic Abbadessa brought home a run by beating out an infield single. Chad Minato followed with a two-run single for a 4-1 Oilers lead.

The Oilers got another run in the third to make it 5-1. Danner singled, stole second, took third on an error and scored on Windisch's double-play grounder.

Huntington Beach added two more in the sixth, with the runs scoring on a fielder's choice and an RBI single by Landon Silver.

Chaminade Prep got a run in the seventh, on another RBI single by Solis, but it was too little, too late.

The victory marked the fourth championship in the five-year history of the NHSI for a team from California. Mater Dei (Calif.) won in 2012 and 2013. The First Academy (Fla.) won in 2014. And San Clemente (Calif.) won in 2015. 

"California baseball is crazy," Medure said. "The (NSHI) champions who have come from there really show how tough the baseball is there, and how hard you have to work to get to this spot."

All that work, all the time spent climbing the ladder, led to Saturday.

"That's the biggest one," Huntington Beach coach Benji Medure said. "It just keeps getting better and better. I'm so proud of these guys. I think they worked so hard for it, and they deserve it. We beat a really good team today. The Chaminade team is a great team."

As the Oilers head back to California, they'll be seeking to win more tournaments and defend their Southern CIF title. They'll get junior pitcher Nick Pratto back in early April, when he becomes eligible after transferring from Mater Dei to Huntington Beach, his home school.

"We are in a good spot right now as a team," Medure said. "This is what happens … when they see themselves pulling from the same end of the rope, this is the reward. We are just going to keep it going for the rest of the year.

"We may lose, but we're going to be a team if we lose."

But that would mean no cake, a tradition that began with Silver hitting Medure with a cake after Huntington Beach won the 2015 Southern CIF title.

"And he didn't give me a towel either, so I had this whipped cream all over my face," Medure said. "Now it's becoming a tradition. It's a terrible tradition."

Except that it accompanies tournament championships.

Worth mentioning: Despite the loss, Mutz said Chaminade got a lot out of the trip to Cary. "It was a great tournament, and we beat some good teams," he said. "Every game we played was a battle with a great team. For the most part every team was nationally ranked. You know, we're right there with all those teams. With a couple of the players we have, Blake Rutherford, Nick Kahle and Tommy Costello, we're as good as any of them." … Kahle, Solis and Blake Stafford had two hits each for Chaminade. …

Danner, a member of USA Baseball's 18U gold-medal winning team last summer, puts the NHSI at or near the top of his list of baseball accomplishments. "This ranks right up there because I did it with all my friends," Danner said. "And we're all together, we did it together." … Madole was grateful for his teammates as well. "I want to give a lot of praise to my teammates and coaches because they showed that they had a ton of faith in me," he said. "I knew they all had my back and that gave me a lot of confidence going into the game." …

Huntington Beach's boys volleyball team is among the best in the nation, too, having won more than 120 consecutive matches. But other than dunk contests with Danner in the gym, Minato says there isn't any animosity. "What they've done is crazy, I mean, win over 120 games in a row? They haven't lost since I was a freshman," Minato, a senior, said. "That's tough to beat." But Medure isn't so sure. "We have four now, so we've got 116 more, right?" Medure asked. "Which is doable, right?"

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