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2018 NHSI Team Preview: Curtis Christian

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USA Baseball’s annual high school tournament, the National High School Invitational, is one of the premier high school tournaments in the country and one of the biggest events on the draft schedule as well, bringing together 16 of the top teams in the country. This year’s tournament will have some of the most impressive talent in the event’s seven-year history and will take place in Cary at USA Baseball’s National Training Complex from March 28-31. Baseball America will preview teams as we lead up to the event.

Overview

A noted Louisiana football powerhouse, Curtis Christian (River Ridge, La.) High enters the 2018 NHSI with a distinguished baseball program, coming off a 27-7 2017 season that culminated with the school's eighth state championship in Louisiana's 5A class.

Curtis Christian should have a different look than most of the teams involved in the NHSI this year, if only because so many of the players are dual-sport athletes, with 11 players who are also members of the football team, including catcher Jay Curtis who is a four-year starter on both teams and sophomore catcher/middle infielder Collin Guggenheim, who started at quarterback his freshman and sophomore seasons, leading Curtis Christian to a state title game last season.

While football is in the DNA of this team more than most, the team has obvious talent on the diamond, with seven players returning from last year's state championship team including a pair of Louisiana State commits. First baseman Cade Beloso is one of the best pure hitters that head coach Jeff Curtis has ever coached and should bring a polished bat to the middle of the lineup, while No. 1 starter Will Ripoll is also signed with LSU and should showcase impressive spin with his breaking balls in his first year with Curtis Christian after transferring from Texas.

After that, Brandon Davis is an athletic shortstop who is signed to play cornerback at Tennessee, but is capable of impacting the game with his defensive ability and speed on the bases. Class of 2019 center fielder Dax Ford is one of the few players who isn't listed as a multi-sport athlete, but is committed to Louisiana-Lafayette and offers pop from the lefthanded batter's box and is also a good defender.

While only teams from California and Florida have had success at the NHSI in the events first six years, Curtis Christian comes from a tradition of winning no matter the field, and will likely bring that confidence into Cary.

Head Coach: Jeff Curtis

2017 Record: 27-7 (Louisiana 5A state championship)

Projected Lineup

  • C: Jay Curtis (2018)
  • 1B: Cade Beloso (2018)
  • 2B: Jordin Labruzza (2018)
  • 3B: Alex Michel (2019)
  • SS: Brandon Davis (2018)
  • LF: Hunter Bufkin (2018)
  • CF: Dax Ford (2019)
  • RF: Logan Stevens (2018)
  • #1 P: Will Ripoll (2018)
  • #2 P: Ian Landreneau (2018)
  • #3 P: Dax Ford (2019)
  • #4 P: Logan Stevens (2018)
  • #5 P: Cade Beloso (2018)

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College Commitments: 5

Division I Commitments: 4

Returning Starters: 7

Top draft prospects:

  • 2018: Cade Beloso, Will Ripoll, Brandon Davis
  • 2019: Dax Ford
  • 2020: Collin Guggenheim, Choncee Crum

Multi-Sport Athletes

  • Cade Beloso (football)
  • Choncee Crum (football)
  • Jay Curtis (football)
  • Brandon Davis (football)
  • Dante Dufachard (football)
  • Shane Goins (football, track)
  • Collin Guggenheim (football)
  • Gareth LeBlanc (football)
  • Austin McCready (football)
  • Princeton Stevens (football)

BA 300 Prospects

  • none

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