2014 High School Games To Watch

In previous years, Baseball America identified the top high school games to watch as a mix of highly ranked teams and prospect matchups that were sure to garner strong attention from the scouting community. In this post, Baseball America will look solely at the biggest matchups of the season that could have a significant impact on the Top 25 teams.

Certainly, any team could lose at any time, but these are likely to be the toughest games for the top 25 teams. A feature is forthcoming that will highlight the top high school matchups from a draft perspective.

A separate post is coming soon that will exclusively focus on the top matchups in the national tournaments, since those tournaments have strong collections of talent that extend beyond the top 25 teams.

Note: Vs. denotes a neutral-site game.

1. Venice (Fla.) HS
Tampa Jesuit at Venice, March 7
Sarasota (Fla.) HS at Venice HS, March 21
National High School Invitational, March 26-29
Venice at Sarasota, April 15

The top-ranked Indians face a tough schedule, especially with Tampa Jesuit and a pair of games against rival Sarasota High sandwiched around a trip to the NHSI. Sarasota has a deep, veteran-laden club with infielder/outfielder Dylan Busby, righthander Evan Mendoza (North Carolina State) and catcher Brandon Chapman (George Washington).

2. St. Francis HS, Mountain View, Calif.
Valley Christian HS, San Jose at St. Francis, March 28

The top team on the Lancers’ schedule is Valley Christian, which is led by middle infielder Bryson Brigman (San Diego). St. Francis will also take on Elk Grove, who has one of the top outfielders in the country in Derek Hill (Oregon), on March 8th.

3. Rancho Bernardo HS, San Diego
Rancho Bernardo vs. Granite Hills, El Cajon, Calif., March 15
Poway (Calif.) HS at Rancho Bernardo, May 14
Rancho Bernardoat Poway HS

Arguably the top teams Rancho Bernardo will play on its robust schedule are Granite Hills and Poway. Both teams were considered for the rankings and could move in with strong starts.

4. Owasso (Okla.) HS
Owasso at Jenks (Okla.) HS, April 4
Jenks HS at Owasso HS, April 5
Broken Arrows (Okla.) HS at Owasso, April 25

The key matchups in Owasso’s state title defense are against Owasso and Jenks, the other historically strong programs in the Sooner State.

5. Milton (Ga.) HS
Walton HS, Marietta, Ga., vs. Milton, March 14
National High School Invitational, March 26-29
Walton HS at Milton, April 11

For the Eagles to soar in Georgia this season after winning the state title last year, they will have to square off twice with Walton, the 16th-ranked team in the country. Milton will return to the NHSI for the second straight year.

6. Barbe HS, St. Charles, La.
Sulphur (La.) HS at Barbe, March 25
Barbe at Acadiana HS, Lafayette, La., April 8
Barbe at Sulphur HS, April 10
Acadiana HS at Barbe, April 24

Barbe’s road games against Acadiana and Sulphur will likely be the toughest tests it faces in the regular season.

7. Archbishop McCarthy HS, Southwest Ranches, Fla.
American Heritage HS, Plantation, Fla. at Archbishop McCarthy, March 7
Archbishop McCarthy at American Heritage HS, March 21

Two of the nation’s perennial powerhouse programs will square off twice in a two-week stretch. These matchups of Top 25 teams will loom large in the rankings as the Mavericks vie for their fifth straight state championship.

8. Harvard-Westlake HS, Studio City, Calif.
Loyola HS, Los Angeles at Harvard-Westlake, April 14
Harvard-Westlake at Loyola HS, April 17

The Wolverines play in arguably the strongest league in the country, the Mission League, and their schedule is a grind. The reigning Team of the Year squares off against a prospect-laden Loyola (No. 20) team, which will go a long way toward deciding who emerges in the regular season.

9. Cypress Ranch (Texas) HS
Cypress Ranch vs. Klein (Texas) HS, Feb. 21 (L, 7-5)

The good news: Cypress Ranch already faced its toughest opponent in Klein (Texas); The bad news: it lost, 7-5.

10. Moody HS, Corpus Christi, Texas
Moody at Martin HS, Arlington, April 12

Moody will face arguably the toughest pitcher on its schedule if Martin throws righthander Turner Larkins (Texas A&M) against the Trojans. Larkins is a draft prospect who has touched 93 mph with his fastball.

11. Dyer County, Newbern, Tenn.
Dyer County at Collierville (Tenn.) HS, March 10
National High School Invitational, March 26-29
Dyer County at Collierville HS, April 28

The Choctaws’ regular season is bookended with games against Collierville, the top Tennessee team on their schedule, and also highlighted by a trip to the NHSI.

12. JSerra Catholic HS, San Juan Capistrano, Calif.
Huntington Beach (Calif.) HS at JSerra, March 8
Orange (Calif.) Lutheran HS three times: March 17, April 11 and April 21

Two teams that were just outside the rankings, Huntington Beach and Orange Lutheran, will provide four games of stiff competition, as will three games against traditional power Mater Dei.

13. Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas
Bishop Gorman vs. Sandra Day O’Connor High, Phoenix, March 20
Bishop Gorman vs. Mountain Ridge HS, Glendale, Ariz., March 21

Due to the program’s dominance over the years, exemplified by winning seven of the past eight state championships, Bishop Gorman has a tough time scheduling top-notch, in-state opponents. But the program will face two quality out-of-state programs from Arizona, Sandra Day O’Connor High and Mountain Ridge, to start the season.

14. Greenway HS, Phoenix
Notre Dame HS, Scottsdale, Ariz. at Greenway, April 28

Notre Dame, which has physical outfielder Hunter Bross (UNLV), will be the Demons’ toughest regular season opponent.

15. Broken Arrow (Okla.) HS
Broken Arrow at Jenks HS, April 22
Broken Arrows at Owasso HS, April 25

Broken Arrow faces its two toughest regular season opponents, Jenks and Owasso, in back-to-back games on the road down the final stretch of its schedule.

16. Walton HS, Marietta, Ga.
Walton at North Gwinnett HS, Suwanee, Ga., March 7
Walton vs. Milton HS, March 14
Walton at Milton HS, April 11

The Raiders open the season against North Gwinnett, which has a top-100 high school prospect in lefthander Tucker Baca. Walton is likely to face first-team preseason All-American righthander Dylan Cease in one of its two matchups with Milton.

17. T.C. Roberson HS, Asheville, N.C.
Roberson at North Buncombe, Weaverville, N.C., March 22
National High School Invitational, March 26-29
North Buncombe HS at Roberson, April 25

North Buncombe, the biggest threat to Roberson in the area, has the best pitcher in the state in lefthander Alex Destino (South Carolina), who will provide a tough same-side matchup for slugger Braxton Davidson.

18. Hanover HS, Mechanicsville, Va.
Gloucester (N.J.) Catholic HS vs. Hanover, April 14

Hanover will match up with another ranked team, Gloucester Catholic, at the Forest Acres Classic in South Carolina.

19. Mountain Pointe HS, Phoenix
Mountain Pointe at Pinnacle HS, Phoenix, March 1
National High School Invitational, March 26-29
Mountain Pointe at Hamilton HS, Chandler, Ariz., April 11

Pinnacle is a formidable foe, featuring slugger Gerard Hernandez, a powerful lefthanded-hitting outfielder.

20. Loyola HS, Los Angeles
Loyola at Chaminade, Canoga Park, Calif, March 18
Chaminade at Loyola, March 21
Loyola at Harvard-Westlake HS, April 14
Harvard-Westlake HS at Loyola, April 17

The Cubs face a gauntlet in the Mission League but have a deep pitching staff  to withstand the rigors.

21. ThunderRidge HS, Highlands Ranch, Colo.
Grandview HS, Aurora, Colo. vs. Thunder Ridge, March 19
National High School Invitational, March 26-29
ThunderRidge at Regis Jesuit, Aurora, Colo., April 25

The Grizzlies will take on Grandview, the second-toughest team they will face in Colorado, in Coors Field in an early-season matchup. ThunderRidge could face the toughest pitcher in the state in lefthander David Peterson (Oregon) of Regis Jesuit, which has another draftable arm in lefthander Reagan Todd (Arizona State).

22. DeSoto Central HS, Southaven, Miss.
Christian Brothers HS, Walnut Grove, Tenn. vs. DeSoto Central, March 10
Lewisburg HS, Olive Branch, Miss. at DeSoto Central, March 22
Christian Brothers HS vs. DeSoto Central, March 29

DeSoto’s top competition is Lewisburg. The Jaguars will face a tough out-of-state opponent in Christian Brothers HS, headlined by strong-bodied righthander John Wesley Ray.

23. Parkview HS, Lilburn, Ga.
Marist HS, Atlanta at Parkview, March 3
National High School Invitational, March 26-29
Parkview at Columbus (Ga.) HS, April 26

Parkview will play a steady diet of quality teams, and Marist and Cartersville are teams that could factor into national rankings by the end of the year. Brookwood is another historically strong program.

24. American Heritage HS, Plantation, Fla.
American Heritage at Archbishop McCarthy HS, March 7
Archbishop McCarthy HS at American Heritage, March 21
American Heritage at American Senior, Hialeah, Fla., April 11

The powerhouse program will face Archbishop McCarthy twice, and an American Senior team that has a solid core with righthander Ronnie Williams (Florida A&M) and outfielder Kevin Williams (Kansas State) and which could move into the rankings.

25. Coral Springs (Fla.) Christian HS
Coral Springs Christian at Westminster Academy, Palmetto Bay, Fla., Feb. 26
National High School Invitational, March 26-29
Westminster Academy at Coral Springs Christian, April 5

Westminster Academy, led by catcher Dakota Robbins (Auburn), and Pace High headline the Crusaders’ schedule in Florida with a trip to North Carolina for the NHSI in between.