Collegiate Baseball HS Poll (2-24-20)

JESUIT H.S. NO. 1 IN COLLEGIATE BASEBALL POLL

TUCSON, Ariz. — Jesuit (Tampa, FL) is No. 1 in Collegiate Baseball’s first regular-season National High School Poll presented by Diamond Pro.

The Tigers kicked off the season with two wins over Blake (Tampa, FL), 13-0 and Tampa Catholic, 11-1. Coach Miguel Menendez said both games ended in the mercy rule as six different pitchers were used. The staff combined for 23 strikeouts and only one walk. Three hits were allowed and one unearned run.

Over the two games, INF Jalen Niles and C Bennett Lee both hit .600 and recorded a double, a triple and 2 RBI each.

The Tigers return a powerful ball club from its Florida 6A state championship team of 2019.

Eight of nine starting position players are back along with the entire pitching staff. Eight pitchers have signed or committed to NCAA Division I schools. Five of the pitchers feature fastballs that are 91 mph or higher.

There are 11 seniors who have signed or committed to colleges and five underclassmen.

Of the 16 committed or signed players, 13 are going to NCAA Division I schools.

“This is the most talented team I have ever coached,” said Head Coach Miguel Menendez who is in his sixth season with the Tigers.

“We obviously have to keep working and improve. On paper, it should be a special ball club with the number of arms we have and the position players back as well.

“We had a great fall and had a number of players push each other which is important. I am excited for the season to start.”

Last season, Jesuit finished 27-5 and won their last eight games of the season. The team had a 2.40 ERA with 283 strikeouts and 102 walks.

On offense, the Tigers swiped 95 bases in 32 games, hit .317 and belted 8 home runs, 69 doubles and 16 triples as they averaged 7.4 runs per game.

“Defensively, we are fortunate to have three guys in our infield who can play shortstop. They will fill out spots at shortstop, second base and third base. Our outfielders can really run and track balls down.

“The experience factor is something I am excited about. Our team went through a lot as we won the school’s fifth state title last season.

“We came from behind with two outs in the last inning of the Region semi-final and then rallied again in the state championship 4-3 win over Dunedin.”

Two-thirds of the teams from our pre-season poll have started and a few have moved from their original positions.

No. 2 Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, CA) began the season 2-0 by defeating Bishop Amat (La Puente, CA) 2-1 in 13 innings and 5-2. The first game was tied 1-1 in the first inning and went all the way to the bottom of the 13th inning before Notre Dame’s Daylen Reyes scored a run. He went 3-for-5 with a double in the game.

No. 4 Orange Lutheran (Orange, CA) is 3-0, defeating Cypress (CA), 3-2 and 4-0 and La Mirada (CA), 2-0. In the game against La Mirada, Orange Lutheran’s Max Rajcic outdueled Jared Jones with a one hit shutout. Rajcic struck out 7. Both pitchers are Collegiate Baseball Pre-Season All Americans.

No. 7 American Heritage (Delray Beach, FL) started the season with three straight shutouts over Santaluces (Lantana, FL), 7-0, Jupiter (FL), 12-0 and Palm Beach Gardens (FL), 8-0. They added a fourth win over Palm Beach Central (Wellington, FL), 11-2. The pitching staff has been exceptional. RHP Mason Manriquez struck out 8 in 6 innings against Santaluces. LHP Nelson Berkwich struck out 10 Jupiter hitters while LHP Carsten Finnvold fanned 7 Palm Beach Gardens hitters.

No. 8 American Heritage (Plantation, FL) is 3-0 with wins over Westminster Christian (Miami, FL), 2-0, Miami Christian (FL), 5-2 and No. 24 ranked Venice (FL), 4-3. Kolbe Aven hit a grand slam in the Venice game.

No. 10 JSerra Catholic (San Juan Capistrano, CA) kicked off the season with four straight wins over West Ranch (Valencia, CA), 3-0 and 4-2, Corona (CA), 4-0 and Poly (Riverside, CA) 5-2.

No. 12 Bob Jones (Madison, AL) is 5-1. The Patriots split games with Hartselle, winning 7-2 and losing 5-7. They beat Smiths Station, 6-0 and 2-1, Buckhorn, 7-1 and Sparkman, 12-5. The offense has posted a .321 team batting average with 7 hitters batting over .315 and recording 6 home runs, 13 doubles and 1 triple in six games.

No. 13 DeSoto Central (Southhaven, MS) is 2-0 with wins over Madison Central (MS), 7-3 and Saltillo (MS), 2-0.

No. 15 Huntington Beach (CA) started its season 3-0 with victories over Orange (CA), 22-0, Temecula Valley (CA), 6-3 and Gahr (Cerritos, CA), 7-0.

No. 16 Reagan (San Antonio, TX) is 3-0 and defeated Eagle Pass (TX), 8-3 and Antonio Prep (San Antonio, TX), 9-0 and 5-1.

No. 19 North Gwinnett (Suwanee, GA) kicked off the season with a 4-1 record, beating two nationally ranked teams Loganville (GA), 5-0 and Parkview (GA), 2-1. The Bulldogs also defeated Lanier, 10-1 and Brookwood, 2-1 and lost to Flowery Branch, 1-2. In the first 38 innings, North Gwinnett’s pitching staff has only given up 3 earned runs. They will fly to California to play Valley Christian (San Jose, CA), another top team in the country.

No. 20 Kingwood (TX) defeated Klein Collins (Spring, TX) 5-2 in the season opener.

No. 21 Harvard-Westlake (Studio City, CA) won its season opener 11-3 over Mira Costa (Manhattan Beach, CA).

No. 22 Parkview (Lilburn, GA) is currently second in Georgia’s 7A behind North Gwinnett. After losing to them, the Panthers defeated Berkmar (GA), 15-0 and 19-0 and Loganville (GA), 6-1. Both Parkview and Loganville will host the Georgia Peach tournament this weekend.

No. 23 La Mirada (CA) dropped its season opener against Orange Lutheran, 2-0 and defeated Loara (Anaheim, CA), 25-3 for a 1-1 record.

No. 24 Venice (FL) is 2-1 to start the season, beating Archbishop McCarthy (Fort Lauderdale, FL) 6-0 and North Broward Prep (FL), 6-2 and lost to American Heritage (Plantation, FL), 4-3.

No. 26 Loganville (GA) is 2-1 with wins over Winder-Barrow (GA), 7-4, Lowndes (GA), 6-3 and lost to Parkview, 6-1.

New to the poll is No. 30 Mountain Pointe (Phoenix, AZ) which will start its season on March 3 against Red Mountain (Mesa, AZ).

Teams to watch are Calvary Christian (Clearwater, FL) 3-0, De La Salle (Concord, CA) 0-0, Baylor (TN) starts March 19, St. Augustine Prep (NJ) starts March 13, Regis Jesuit (CO) starts March 24, and Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial (TX) starts Feb. 25.

(Feb. 24, 2020)

Rank School    City/State Record
  1. Jesuit (Tampa, FL) 2-0
  2. Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, CA) 2-0
  3. Carroll (Southlake, TX) 0-0
  4. Orange Lutheran (Orange, CA) 3-0
  5. Farragut (Knoxville, TN) 0-0
  6. Barbe (Lake Charles, LA) 0-0
  7. American Heritage (Delray Beach, FL) 4-0
  8. American Heritage (Plantation, FL) 3-0
  9. Hamilton (Chandler, AZ) 0-0
10. JSerra Catholic (San Juan Capistrano, CA) 4-0
11. The Woodlands (The Woodlands, TX) 0-0
12. Bob Jones (Madison, AL) 5-1
13. DeSoto Central (Southaven, MS) 2-0
14. Lake Travis (Austin, TX) 0-0
15. Huntington Beach (Huntington Beach, CA) 3-0
16. Reagan (San Antonio, TX) 3-0
17. Sam Houston (Lake Charles, LA) 0-0
18. St Mary’s (Orchard Lake, MI) 0-0
19. North Gwinnett (Suwanee, GA) 4-1
20. Kingwood (Kingwood, TX) 1-0
21. Harvard-Westlake (Studio City, CA) 1-0
22. Parkview (Lilburn, GA) 3-1
23. La Mirada (La Mirada, CA) 1-1
24. Venice (Venice, FL) 2-1
25. Jesuit (Portland, OR) 0-0
26. Valley Christian (San Jose, CA) 0-0
Loganville (Loganville, GA) 2-1
27. Har-Ber (Springdale, AR) 0-0
28. Millard West (Omaha, NE) 0-0
29. St. John Vianney (St. Louis, MO) 0-0
30. Mountain Pointe (Phoenix, AZ) 0-0