The 2013 USA Baseball National High School Invitational is set for March 27-30 in Cary, N.C. Sixteen teams are vying for the championship in a single-elimination tournament. Each team is guaranteed four games, but they must win to keep advancing in the winners’ bracket.
The 2012 NHSI marked the event’s inaugural run and certainly didn’t disappoint. Exciting baseball was seen over the four days and the championship was decided in extra innings on a walk-off single. The Baseball America Top 25 rankings saw a great deal of movement with upsets and dominating runs and the draft even felt some effect with players like outfielder Courtney Hawkins having a breakout performance. Hawkins hit a home run and pitched a shutout in a 1-0 win over Miami’s Gulliver Prep for Carroll High (Corpus Christi, Texas). He then became the 13th overall pick and reached high Class A for the White Sox in the summer.
This year’s field looks to be just as good, if not better. Nine teams were ranked in the Preseason Top 25 and nine players from the High School Top 100 will be on the field playing. San Diego’s Cathedral Catholic could be considered the favorite to win simply on its preseason No. 3 ranking, but the Dons also have five Division I arms on the roster and pitching is key to surviving four straight days of top competition. However, Mater Dei can’t be counted out given most of their pitching and offense is back from their run last season.