NHSI Bracket Analysis: Pods 1 & 2

Pod 1 of the USA Baseball National High School Invitational features San Diego’s Cathedral Catholic High against Grayson High (Loganville, Ga.) and Venice (Fla.) High against Memphis’ Christian Brothers High. The first matchup pits the preseason Nos. 3 and 9 teams against each other and should be a highlight for scouts. Teams are likely to send their aces out in the first round so it’s possible we could see lefthander Stephen Gonsalves take the hill for Cathedral Catholic, setting up an excellent showdown between him and outfielder Austin Meadows, the top prospect for the 2013 draft.

The second game has a defending state champ in Venice and perennial contender in Christian Brothers. Venice returns six starters from last year’s team, including outfielder Nick Longhi, the No. 69 high school prospect. Christian Brothers has 10 state titles and two junior pitchers committed to Division I programs—John Wesley Ray (Ole Miss) and Corey Herndon (Arkansas).

Only one team in Pod 2 made the preseason rankings, but they all have a lot of talent for the 2013 campaign. Harvard-Westlake High (Studio City, Calif.) will face Eustis (Fla.) High in the first round. The Wolverines lost to Mater Dei High (Santa Ana, Calif.) in the NHSI finals last year and return nearly their entire lineup for 2013. Eustis will be led by a battery of lefthander Alex Hagner and catcher Chris Okey—the No. 26 prospect in the high school class.

The other matchup has tournament host Roberson High (Asheville, N.C.) taking on Bingham (Utah) High. Roberson is seeking its first state title since 2002 and has five D-I players, including Braxton Davidson (North Carolina), Dominick Cammarata (Georgia) and Katon Harwood (Clemson). Bingham has 20 state titles in its program’s history—with at least one in eight different decades—and is used to traveling to face tough competition. The Miners have left the state every year since 1983.