National High School Invitational Bracket Two Preview

USA Baseball previews Bracket Two of the 2023 National High School Invitational

Bracket One Preview
Bracket Three Preview
Bracket Four Preview

  • Houston County vs. JSerra Catholic
  • Hagerty vs. Brother Rice

Bracket Two of the 2023 National High School Invitational features three returning schools in Brother Rice High School (Chicago, Ill.), Hagerty High School (Oviedo, Fla.), and JSerra Catholic High School (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) along with Houston County High School (Roswell, Ga.) who will be making its NHSI debut next month.

This bracket shows a lot of depth, with three of the four schools making runs in their respective high school state tournaments last year, highlighted by Brother Rice’s Super Sectional Championship title and JSerra’s California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) SoCal Division I Championship runner-up finish.


Brother Rice will return to Cary for the first time since 2017, when the Crusaders made their debut in the NHSI. As aforementioned, they are fresh off a Super Section Championship title and reached the Illinois 4A State Championship semifinals after compiling an impressive 36-6 record, including a 16-2 ledger in conference play, in the 2022 season.

The Crusaders finished in the top 40 of Baseball America’s final high school rankings last year and were tabbed the No. 39 team in the nation in MaxPreps’ 2023 preseason rankings as it returns a lot of its pitching depth, speed, and defense from last year’s squad.

Among its returners are all-state caliber players Cole Van Assen (RHP), Amir Gray (INF), and Bryce Nevils (OF/C). Van Assen, who is currently uncommitted, is one of the top pitchers in Illinois, while Gray is slated to play at Purdue next year and Nevils is a Western Kentucky commit. These three seniors will play a key role in Brother Rice’s potential to have a strong showing at this year’s event.


The 2023 edition of the NHSI will be Hagerty’s second appearance in the event, with its first time coming in 2019. The Huskies are a perennial power in Florida and have produced several impressive draft prospects as they will look to bring those strengths back to Cary.

Last year, Hagerty finished with a 17-12 record on the diamond and reached the semifinals of the Florida 7A State Championship.

For two key players on its squad, seniors Garrett Baumann and Talan Bell, the National Training Complex will be a familiar place for them. Baumann, a right-handed pitcher who has committed to UCF, participated in last year’s Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) League in Cary. He is slated to be one of the more physical players at the event, standing at 6’8” and weighing 240 pounds. With a unique fastball, changeup combination, and the potential to touch 96 mph, Baumann has the chance to dominate on the mound and give hitters a tough time at the plate.

Bell is a two-way player who will attend Florida State next fall and has been tabbed the No. 64 player by Baseball America in the 2024 high school class. Bell was invited to the 16U/17U National Team Development Program last summer in Cary and helped Team USA win gold at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier in the fall. Bell has a lot of projectability on the mound; at the plate he is someone with a patient approach who can hit for gap power.


Houston County will look to make some noise in its NHSI debut next month after a strong 2022 high school campaign where the Bears went 28-6, highlighted by a 9-0 record in region play, and reached the third round of the Georgia 6A State Championship. Houston is set to bring a wealth of experience and pitching depth to Cary with 17 returners, including 11 with starting experience from last year’s squad.

Standout infielder/outfielder Drew Burress, a Georgia Tech commit, is no stranger to USA Baseball as he was a part of the 2019 15U National Team that won gold at the WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier and was invited to last year’s PDP League at the National Training Complex. Burress led all players in Georgia with 17 home runs and is listed as the No. 86 prospect in Baseball America’s 2023 draft class. With his impressive bat speed, plus running skills, and ability to play defense all over the field, Burress will be someone for fans and other teams to watch in this event.


JSerra Catholic, a West Coast powerhouse, is set to make its second overall appearance next month at the NHSI after a strong debut in 2015. After a tough 1-0 loss in its opener, the Lions managed to win out in consolation play and outscore their opponents 13-5.

JSerra is coming off a 25-11 season and clinched the CIF Division I Championship. The Lions finished 28th in _Baseball America_’s final 2022 high school rankings and were tabbed the No. 2 team in MaxPreps’ 2023 Preseason Top 25 Poll.

In the CIF SoCal Division I Regional Championship, JSerra fell short to Huntington Beach in the title game. With Huntington Beach being on the other side of the bracket, there is potential for a highly anticipated CIF SoCal Division I Regional Championship rematch between the Oilers and Lions.

JSerra returns 20 players from last year’s squad, including 16 pitchers, which makes the Lions’ pitching staff capable of making some noise at the NHSI. USA Baseball alum and LSU commit Matthew Champion, along with UC Santa Barbara commit J.J. Hollis, will look to anchor the pitching staff as the two right-handers threw a combined 106 innings and collected nine wins last year. Champion will return to Cary for the second time in less than a year as he participated in the 16U/17U NTDP last summer and was on the 18U National Team with Houston County’s Bell, winning gold at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier.

On the offensive side of the ball, senior infielder Trent Caraway, an Oregon State commit, is ranked the No. 70 overall prospect in Baseball America’s 2023 draft class. He is an offensive-oriented infielder with plus power who has the ability to be a top-three-round draft pick this summer.

The 10th annual National High School Invitational is set to begin on Wednesday, March 29, at the National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina, with the championship game slated for April 1 on Coleman Field. The event is a single-elimination championship tournament, with each participating team guaranteed to play four games.

All games of the 2023 NHSI will be streamed on USABaseball.TV.

For more information on the NHSI, visit or follow @USABEvents on Twitter and Instagram and @USABaseball on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.