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2005 Preseason High School Poll
Baseball America/National High School Baseball Coaches Association
Text by Alan Matthews
1. Moody HS, Corpus Christi, Texas (42-1). The Trojans capped a storybook 2004 season with a No. 2 national ranking and the first Texas Class 5-A title in school history, and they have the players coming back to provide an exciting sequel. Senior C/RHP Luis Flores went 14-0, 0.00 in 91 innings as a junior.
2. Monsignor Pace HS, Opa Locka, Fla. (24-2). The Spartans' bid for a national title was spoiled in the district playoffs last season. But RHPs Thomas Mendoza (4-0, 1.31) and Anthony Perez (8-0, 0.49) figure to lead Monsignor Pace back toward the top this season, not only in the state but nationally.
3. Flower Mound (Texas) HS (37-8). The 5-A school, which opened in 1999 in the Dallas Metroplex, boasts the nation's deepest pitching staff with three righthanders who have 90 mph heat, including Texas Christian-bound Craig Italiano (10-3, 2.96), to go along with Oklahoma State-bound LHP Brandon Gaviglio, who is 18-1 in three years.
4. Russell County HS, Seale, Ala. (30-15). Head coach Tony Rasmus, father of senior OF/LHP Colby (.490-18-56; 2-4, 1.91) and junior 3B/RHP Cory (.450-11-44; 2-1, 1.80), can sit back and enjoy Alabama's top team, which also features one the nation's top juniors in LHP Kasey Kiker (3-0, 0.60).
5. Key West (Fla.) HS (20-11). Traditional Florida power has the nation's best home field advantage--the Conchs pack upward of 1,000 fans at festive home games--to go along with a senior-laden pitching staff and sound defense up the middle, led by Oklahoma State-bound C Ralphie Henriquez.
6. Rancho Bernardo HS, San Diego (28-7). UCLA signee John Drennen (.460-11-26) and Wake Forest signee Allan Dykstra (.281-4-12) offer thunder from the left side of the plate for the Broncos, a perennial power that plays in one of the nation’s hotbeds.
7. Rancho Buena Vista HS, San Diego (19-14). LHPs Tim Murphy, a senior bound for UCLA, and Gavin Brooks, one of the nation’s top juniors, headline an experienced group in Leo Flete's first year as head coach.
8. Chaparral HS, Scottsdale, Ariz. (31-2). After a 63-6 record and back-to-back state 4-A titles in the past two years, Chaparral might actually have its best team yet in 2005. LHP/1B Ike Davis, son of ex-big leaguer Ron Davis, is the team’s best player.
9. T.C. Roberson HS, Asheville, N.C. (25-1). OF Cameron Maybin (.500-13-31), the second-ranked prep player in this year's draft class, hopes to lead this North Carolina power back to the state finals after one of the nation's biggest upsets in 2004, when Roberson suffered its first loss in the first round of the 3-A playoffs.
10. Gulliver Prep, Miami (27-6). Defending Florida Class 3-A champion will benefit from transfers 3B Chris Dominguez (.320-10-35) and SS Ryan Jackson. Jackson and fellow junior 2B Gabe Saade are arguably the nation's best double-play combo.
11. Chatsworth (Calif.) HS (35-0). The only back-to-back national champion in the history of the BA/NHSBCA poll enters the season with a 50-game winning streak. Jason Dominguez (.490-6-35) and Willie Cabrera (.545-11-51) will be missed, but Dominguez' little brother, 3B Matt (.461-8-65), is one of the nation’s top sophomores.
12. Roswell (Ga.) HS (25-7). Four Division I signees include Alabama-bound LHP Miers Quigley (12-2, 1.30), the Georgia high school pitcher of the year in 2004, and Georgia-bound RHP/1B Brent Hallman (.440-10-35).
13. Farragut HS, Knoxville (46-2). After finishing third in the nation in 2003 and second in 2004, the Admirals aim for No. 1 behind junior LHP Rob Catapano (13-0, 1.05) and slick-fielding, switch-hitting junior SS Tony Delmonico (.369-3-18).
14. Pioneer HS, Ann Arbor, Mich. (37-4). RHP/SS Zach Putnam (9-0, 0.53; .466-16-67) pleased hometown fans when he committed to Michigan, and one of the best two-way players in the country could end his career with consecutive state Division I crowns as well.
15. Cypress Bay HS, Weston, Fla. (30-2). The Lightning won its first Florida 6-A title last season and returns three Central Florida signees, including LHP/1B Mitch Houck (482-3-38), who threw a no-hitter in the state final while going 4-1, 0.62 on the year.
16. Clovis (Calif.) West HS (24-11). A trio of Division-I recruits—Arizona-bound RHP/1B Mike Colla (9-2, 1.60), Stanford-bound SS J.J. Jelmini (.423-4-22) and Clemson-bound OF Jameson Smith (.298-4-20)--make the Eagles the best team in northern California.
17. Brownsburg (Ind.) HS (27-7). Following consecutive years as the Indiana 4-A runner-up, Brownsburg is poised for another run with nine starters returning from last season's squad, including Mississippi-bound RHP/1B Lance Lynn (10-3, 1.26; .507-14-46).
18. The Woodlands (Texas) HS (32-6). The Highlanders should contend with Houston's usual collection of strong teams behind Texas-bound LHP Kyle Walker (6-0, 2.83) and the country's best junior, RHP/SS Kyle Drabek (5-0, 1.45; .444-4-14), the son of former Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek.
19. Mills Godwin HS, Richmond (18-8). Virginia has become an underrated hotbed for high school talent, and Mills Godwin boasts AFLAC All-America SS/RHP Justin Bristow (.452-7-18; 9-1, 0.80) to go along with a strong supporting cast.
20. Deering (Maine) HS (24-0). The Rams return eight starters, including Vanderbilt signees SS Ryan Flaherty (.500-1-19) and C Andrew Giobbi (.456-5-32), from the undefeated 2004 team that beat Brewers first-rounder Mark Rogers in the 2004 state championship game. Essentially the same team also won last summer's American Legion World Series.
21. Hudson's Bay HS, Vancouver, Wash. (23-3). Senior IF/RHP Tyson Van Winkle (.530-0-28; 6-1, 3.00) is supported by stellar underclassmen including junior SS Jackson Evans (.313-0-16), junior Jay Ponciano (.373-0-17) and standout sophomore RHP/3B Greg Peavey (7-1, 2.13; .422-1-20).
22. Hamilton HS, Chandler, Ariz. (30-8). Arizona's two-time defending 5-A champs are again favored to take the title in 2005, thanks to a deep pitching staff and Arizona-bound 2B Travis Peep (.415-2-23) and his double play partner Dylan Johnston (.474-4-30).
23. Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) HS (24-7). Senior-laden pitching staff, headed by AFLAC All-America RHP Chris Volstad (8-2, 1.04), a Miami signee, makes the Gators one of Florida's top teams in the state’s largest classification.
24. Starr's Mill HS, Fayetteville, Ga. (26-7). Starr's Mill opened its doors just seven years ago but has wasted little time in joining other suburban Atlanta baseball powers. Georgia Southern-bound RHP Blake Nation (7-2, 2.26) is one of three returning starters on the pitching staff.
25. Kingwood (Texas) HS (32-11). Following a trip to the state 5-A semifinals a year ago, the Mustangs have two lefthanders atop their rotation: a healthy Blake Hancock and Austin Wood, a Texas signee.
26. Elk Grove (Calif.) HS (22-11). A veteran team with a potent lineup, centered around three seniors: SS/RHP Cody Allen (.337-4-28), a Hawaii recruit; OF Andy Lopez (.407-3-30), a Long Beach State recruit; and OF Mike Drake (.432-7-28).
27. Houston HS, Germantown, Tenn. (28-13). Head coach Lane McCarter says this year's team may be his best, and he has produced pro prospects Matt Cain (Giants) and Stuart Pomeranz (Cardinals) in the past three years. Mississippi State-bound RHP Matt Lea, who sat out last season while transferring, is joined by three other Division I signees.
28. Destrehan (La.) HS (33-2). AFLAC All-America LHP Beau Jones (8-0, 2.13), a Louisiana State signee, has led the Fighting Wildcats deep into the Louisiana playoffs each of the past two seasons and figures to have them there again as a senior.
29. Tomball (Texas) HS (31-3). Texas' crop of outfield prospects is impressive, and the Cougars have two of the state's best in Kansas State signee Byron Wiley and Texas-bound Kyle Russell.
30. Winter Haven (Fla.) HS (27-5). Clemson-bound OF/LHP Jordan Schafer (.461-5-23; 10-2, 1.00) heads an experienced pitching staff capable of leading the Blue Devils deep into the Florida 4-A playoffs.
31. Lockport (Ill.) HS (28-9). Most of the 2004 lineup, which compiled a .420 team average, returns for the Porters, led by Arizona State-bound C Nick Mitidero (.590-1-26) and Iowa-bound OF Jake Christenson (.400-6-37).
32. Barron Collier HS, Naples, Fla. (25-4). The Cougars bring back their top four arms from last year's squad that dominated the region. Florida-bound SS/RHP Clayton Pisani (.319-0-21; 9-0, 1.02) and Mississippi State-bound C Ryan Duffy (.471-3-26) offer sound defensive skills and potent bats.
33. Esperanza HS, Anaheim. (17-13). Traditionally strong Esperanza has one of its strongest teams ever, returning a lineup anchored by Texas-bound OF Joe Dickerson and junior C Francis Larson.
34. Barbe HS, Lake Charles, La. (30-8). Louisiana 5-A state champs in 2000 and 2001 have reloaded with talented pitching and top hitters such as SS Grant Derouen (.477-12-52) and OF Eric Fry (.388-6-41) atop the lineup.
35.Nova HS, Davie, Fla. (30-3). RHP Anthony Swarzak was a second-round pick of the Twins in last year’s draft and OF Warren McFadden is at Tulane, but Nova reloads with senior RHP Pablo Lopez, who is 25-2 as a starter, and three Division I signees, including Louisiana State-bound C/RHP Robert Lara (.318-1-25).
36. La Quinta HS, Westminster, Calif. (28-2). Veteran coach Dave Demarest eyes another milestone as the perennially potent Aztecs are again loaded with good all-around players like SS/RHP Brandon Laird (.410-9-48; 9-1, 1.19).
37. Fallbrook HS, San Diego (30-5). Arizona-bound 1B David Plante (.520-15-45) takes aim at Eric Chavez' San Diego County record for career hits, while junior RHP/2B Mike Leake transferred to Fallbrook to give the Warriors another outstanding arm.
38. Owasso (Okla.) HS (34-3). Owasso has finished in the top 12 nationally in the last two seasons and returns junior LHP Chris Armstrong, who is 20-1, 1.99 in that stretch.
39. Lafayette HS, Lexington, Kent. (34-7). Kentucky-bound RHP/SS Chaz Roe (7-1, 1.04; .383-6-44) is the state’s top prospect and has plenty of support, as the Generals return six starters and their entire pitching staff from a year ago, when they finished second in the state. C Zack Upton (.419-3-38) is the team’s top hitter.
40. Bryant (Ark.) HS (31-3). The Hornets return three key two-way players in 2B/RHP Todd Bryan (.291-0-13; 2-0, 0.96, 6 SV), RHP/SS Justin Wells (9-1, 1.29; .344-1-28) and LHP/OF Travis Wood (11-1, 1.21; .325-2-17), the state’s top prospect and an Arkansas signee.
41. Florida Christian HS, Miami (21-10). South Florida continues to rank as one of the country's amateur hotbeds, and coach Ernie Padron's Patriots program is quickly becoming one of the region's stalwarts. The reigning 2-A state champs return Florida Atlantic-bound SS Danny Lima (.440-5-31) and Florida International-bound OF J.C. Perez (.410-8-30).
42. Boerne (Texas) HS (32-5). Last season's Texas 4-A champs brings back their top two pitchers in senior RHP/SS Brad Suttle (11-0, 1.21; .409-8-31) and junior RHP/3B Russell Moldenhauer (13-3, 1.91; .500-13-55), who combined to go 24-3 while providing plenty of offense.
43. Houston Christian HS (34-5). The talent in Houston spills over into the private schools, and Houston Christian has a number of Division I recruits, including senior LHPs Scooter Hicks (9-0, 1.36), a Tulane signee, and Ryan Lollis (9-3, 2.68), a Missouri signee.
44. La Cueva HS, Albuquerque (28-0). A new era begins in Albuquerque as longtime bookends James Parr and Jordan Pacheco graduated, leaving La Cueva with a new cast as it enters the 2005 season with 58 consecutive wins—eight shy of the national record. C Zach Arnett (.500-5-40) is the team’s top returning talent.
45. Boone HS, Orlando (18-7). The one-time central Florida power returns a host of solid everyday players along with a quartet of talented pitchers and should give Dr. Phillips High (Orland), Lake Brantley High and Winter Haven High all they can handle in the battle for the heart of the Sunshine State.
46. Moeller HS, Cincinnati (28-3). Senior LHP Eric Surkamp doesn't have the powerful arm of current North Carolina State basketball/baseball player Andrew Brackman (7-0, 0.58) to lean on this season, but he has shown he is capable of leading the Crusaders. He was 8-0, 0.44 with 81 strikeouts in 48 innings as a junior on last year's state championship team.
47. Niwot HS, Longmont, Colo. (25-1). The Cougars are the preseason favorite to claim their fifth Colorado 4-A title since 1998 and second in a row. Stanford-bound LHP/OF Sean Ratliff (10-0, 0.84; .622-14-53) is the state’s top prospect.
48. Mount St. Joseph HS, Balimore (28-5). The Gaels have returned to the dominance they grew accustomed to in the 1990s, when Rangers first baseman Mark Teixeira and Phillies prospect Gavin Floyd led them to national recognition. The defending state private school champion brings back its entire pitching staff, led by RHP Brad Miller (4-2, 3.34) and LHP Kyle Timme (7-1, 1.95).
49. Cimarron-Memorial HS, Las Vegas (32-9). Santa Clara-bound RHP Mark Willinsky (5-4, 3.13) is Nevada's best prospect and will be followed in the rotation by Brigham Young-bound RHP Jordan Muir (6-2, 2.78).
50. New Palestine (Ind.) HS (30-4). Last year’s team won the Indiana 3-A championship with a sophomore-dominated lineup. The Dragons return their three best players, all juniors: 1B/LHP Andrew Clark (.424-10-41; 10-0, 0.22), RHP/1B Danny Collier (.474-1-31; 3-0, 1.40) and OF Chris Ulrey (.427-4-36).