A comprehensive list is likely hard to come by, but if one were compiled that tallied which high school programs produced the most major league players, Tate High in Cantonment, Fla.; would likely be among the leaders. The Aggies have had almost 50 players drafted—either out of high school or college—and six of them have played in the big leagues.
"To me, Tate High School is about community," head coach Greg Blackmon said. "It has a tradition of excellence. We've had a Hall of Famer, all stars. We've had captains in the Marine Corps. They're successful. Outside the realm of baseball, this program has influence."
Among the big league alumni are Hall of Fame righthander Don Sutton, third baseman Travis Fryman and shortstop Jay Bell, but the reach into pro ball extends off the field as well. They also have a former player, Fred Robbins, that plays defensive tackle for the St. Louis Rams.
Deric Ladnier, the Royals scouting director from 2001-2008, is now a special assistant to the general manager for the Nationals and graduated from Tate in 1982. Mac Seibert, the Midwest crosschecker for the Mets, also played for the Aggies in the early 1980s. Seibert, along with Bell and Blackmon, was a part of the 1984 team that won a state championship and the first mythical national championship for high school baseball. Seibert's son, Mac IV, is a senior at Tate and Fryman's son, Mason, is a sophomore. [...] Continue Reading »
Rich Hofman, the head coach at Ft. Lauderdale's University School, has coached his share of high school games and won several state championships. But with 999 career wins under his belt, Hofman may have been most nervous in Tuesday night's regular season game against Pope John Paul II High (Boca Raton, Fla.).
"Our team doesn't give me any breathing room," Hofman said. "I was nervous until the last pitch."
Pope John Paul had the bases loaded and their best hitter up in a 3-0 game, but a routine ground ball to second base ended the game and gave Hofman is 1,000th career victory—putting him in elite company with just 12 other coaches in the high school history.
"It's amazing," Hofman said. "I know a few of those guys and have a lot of respect for them so it's a real honor to join the club."
Hofman is the first coach in Florida to achieve the milestone and has been working toward it since the late 1960s. He is a native of Racine, Wisc., and graduated from Calvin (Mich.) College. After college he moved to Miami to teach and coach at Westminster Christian High. The school didn't have an athletic program at the time, but he helped develop a football, basketball and baseball program within two years. His first season as a baseball coach came in 1969 and his team won just two games. The program's success would only go up from there as Hofman and Westminster Christian went on to win eight state championships and two Baseball America National Championships in 1992 and 1996. His most notable former players are Alex Rodriguez and Doug Mientkiewicz, who were a part of the 1992 team. [...] Continue Reading »
Growing up in North Carolina's Triangle area, there are three universities to pledge allegiance to—Duke, North Carolina and North Carolina State. Max Schrock, a shortstop at Raleigh's Cardinal Gibbons High, grew up in Chapel Hill, but if he decides not to sign a pro contract out of high school he will leave his stomping grounds and cross the border into South Carolina to don a Gamecocks uniform.
How does a son of Chapel Hill wind up on the other Carolina's campus?
"I wanted to venture out," Schrock said. "I didn't want to go to college and play in my backyard. I grew up wanting to, but South Carolina is the perfect distance from home."
Schrock doesn't jump out physically and the new Collective Bargaining Agreement will likely hinder teams from buying him out of college, but scouts are still dropping in to see him play. Schrock has shown an ability to handle the bat from the left side in the past and plays up the middle—a combination worth monitoring. He sets up with a slightly open stance and has good bat speed, which produces a little bit of pop. Despite being about 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds, Schrock was one of the few players to hit a home run at the East Coast Pro Showcase in Lakeland, Fla., last August.
An average runner with a solid arm, Schrock fits better at second base as a pro, but could handle shortstop in college. [...] Continue Reading »
Stephen Gant, a senior righthander from Riverside High in Decaturville, Tenn., was found dead Tuesday afternoon from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 19.
According to WKRN-TV in Nashville, dispatchers in Perry County received a 911 call around 1:30 p.m. EST that Gant was walking along a road with a gun and threatening suicide. When officers arrived, Gant's body was found about 30 feet off the road with a single gunshot wound to the head. Authorities are still investigating the shooting.
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