Around The Nation: March 31

Before this season, Reggie Williams hadn’t played high school baseball. That can be surprising for someone that is No. 80 on the High School Top 100_

Premium. Funny thing is, he doesn’t play another sport that would interfere. No football. No track. No basketball. He loves baseball. He plays it year-round in leagues like AAU, but for unexplained reasons, he is in first high school season as a senior.

By the looks of his stats, Williams should be on a track team. Through 12 games this spring he is 41-for-41 in stolen bases. Donnie Oliver, the head coach at Brooks-Debartolo High in Tampa, says Williams runs a 60-yard dash in 6.2 seconds and can get down the line in 3.9 seconds from the left side.

“He has the green light,” Oliver said. “Once he gets on, he sets the tone. He makes our 2-3-4 hitters that much better because pitchers worry about him. They don’t throw many breaking balls.”

They worry, but still can’t get him. A switch-hitter, Williams was hitting .581/.689/.806 with 17 runs scored. In a loss to Spring Hill, Fla.’s Bishop McLaughlin High he stole six bases. The next day against Oldsmar (Fla.) Christian, he stole six more. He’s had less than two stolen bases in a game just twice this season.

The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Miami signee isn’t the only one with speed either. The Phoenix has three players that run the 60 in 6.4 seconds, one of which is Williams’ younger brother, J.D. The younger Williams has 14 thefts in 11 games. As a team, Brooks-Debartolo has swiped a bag 124 times.

“All of them have the green light,” Oliver added. “We don’t give any signs from third base.”

Horizon Takes Tournament Title

Being No. 1 in the nation, Las Vegas’ Bishop Gorman High seemed to be the favorite to run the table at the Big League Dugout National Invitational, hosted by Scottsdale’s Horizon High. The tides changed rather quickly as Horizon opened against Bishop Gorman and edged the Gaels 2-1 in a pitcher’s duel.

Righthander Joey Danner struck out 12 in his outing and Bishop Gorman’s only run came in the first inning. Horizon only had two hits but managed to score twice in the fifth inning and hold the lead.

“(Tim) Alderson didn’t do that two years ago,” Horizon head coach Eric Kibler said of Danner’s outing. “(Danner) was lights out.”

The Huskies just rolled from there, beating Brophy College Prep (Phoenix) 12-1, Wilson (Portland, Ore.) 14-0 and Chaparral High (Scottsdale, Ariz.) 1-0 to advance to the championship where they met Scottsdale rival Hamilton High.

“Our approach worked well,” Kibler said. “We were ready to go. Playing the No. 1 team you just go out and play. That was a real confidence builder. Once we beat Gorman, we realized we could be really good. They took the challenge and went on a tremendous roll.”

Horizon edged Hamilton 5-4 in the final game. Outfielder Brandon Snyder and catcher Tommy Joseph both homered in the game. Joseph was named the tournament MVP. The tournament win helped the Huskies enter this week’s rankings at No. 18.