USA Baseball Announces National High School Invitational

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USA Baseball, the sport's National Governing Body, is once again expanding its reach into the amateur level of the game with the announcement of the USA Baseball National High School Invitational, presented by Baseball America. The event will take place March 28-31, 2012 at the National Training Complex in Cary, N.C.

Many notable high school events put a focus on individual players with showcases and travel teams, but there are plenty of tournaments held each spring that try to bring in the top high school teams to play each other. The NHSI will do that, but on a bigger national scale than previously seen. Top teams from Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, New Jersey and Texas have been invited to participate. Among the ones that have accepted are Sarasota (Fla.) High, Bishop Gorman High (Las Vegas), Parkview High (Lilburn, Ga.) and Brookwood High (Snellville, Ga.). The event will also be sanctioned by the National Federation of State High School Associations, so it will have a North Carolina team participate as the host.

"The National High School Invitational promises to be a unique event that will help identify the top high school baseball team in the U.S.," said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO. "With the help of Baseball America, we are confident that the event will be representative of the nation's top teams and talent, and beginning in 2012, we look forward to bringing this one-of-a-kind tournament to baseball fans across the country each spring."

The goal is to bring the top teams in the country together to play each other—without being too heavy in a particular state or region—while putting a national spotlight on participants that are playing for the name on the front of the jersey, rather than on the back. The tournament will be sure to have national ranking implications as well as attract major league scouts to see the talent on display.

"It's going to be a tremendous tournament," Sarasota head coach Clyde Metcalf said. "The competition is going to be great. With USA Baseball and Baseball America involved, I know it'll be top notch for our players. The USA Baseball National Training Complex is among the best in the nation. It's something that will benefit our players in the future from an exposure standpoint. It'll give our kids something to look forward to also. It'll make some of those tough workout days a little easier."

Between the four schools that are already confirmed participants there are 18 state championships won as well as countless league titles and players that have gone on to play at the next level.

"This is a great way to see what we're made of," Bishop Gorman head coach Nick Day said. "There's no way to find out if you're the best unless you play the best."

The tournament will be single-elimination between 16 teams. Teams are guaranteed to play four games, but can't win the championship once they have lost a game. USA Baseball doesn't put on dozens of tournaments every year, but those that are affiliated with USA Baseball are considered first-class events. Teams will have lodging, event transportation, meals, nightly security and laundry arranged by Team USA's staff.

"Parkview is very excited about this awesome opportunity for our program," head coach Chan Brown said. "What a great opportunity for these kids and teams to see how they stack up against the best of the best."

While USA Baseball will handle all logistics with the event, Baseball America will assist in selecting the teams to be invited. There will never be a definitive national championship in high school baseball, but the teams invited are all considered to be strong candidates for future Top 25 rankings, and the results of the event will certainly help with trying to separate teams' resumes, one of the biggest challenges in putting together a national ranking.

"This is a tremendous opportunity," Brookwood head coach Rick Howard said. "The publicity and recognition for our program will come along with it. We've played teams in the Southeast, but we as coaches are excited to see the different types of ball played around the country."