2008 Boys Baseball Rankings: April 24

Change is the nature of the ESPN HIGH ELITE 25 high school baseball rankings. Twenty of the 25 clubs changed their ranking this week, with four new additions; only No. 15 Creighton Prep (Omaha) held its position.

Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) is the new No. 1 in the Elite 25. Nevada's top-ranked Class 4A team is the two-time defending state champion and favored for a three-peat.

No. 5 Owasso (Okla.) slips four slots after a pair of losses to Broken Arrow. Owasso, No. 1 in Oklahoma's Class 6A rankings, concludes the regular this week and needs to win their region to advance to the double-elimination state tournament.

No. 8 Plano (Texas) West and No. 13 Aptos (Calif.) make the biggest impact of newcomers. Plano West is Texas' No. 1 large school (5A) team, and Aptos is a dominant team in the CIF-Central Coast Section and a favorite to win a section title in May.

No. 2 Opelika (Ala.) has already won a Class 6A first-round playoff series. Many of the Southland Region teams have completed their regular seasons. Arizona teams begin regional tournament play next week.

California, a baseball hotbed, starts sectional play in mid-May.

The Elite 25 rankings, which appear bi-weekly, have 13 teams from the Southland. The next rankings are May 8.

Triple Play
Player of the week: Third baseman Steve Proscia of No. 4 Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) has been on a tear. During a recent four-game stretch, Proscia went 11-for-12 with six runs batted in, raising his average to .773. Proscia, who signed with Virginia, has 22 hits, four home runs and 17 RBI in portions of 10 games. He is considered a mid-round choice for the upcoming First-Year Player Draft. Pitcher of the week: Right-hander Gerrit Cole of No. 14 Orange (Calif.) Lutheran has been dominant (5-0 record) since an opening season 5-4 loss to Esperanza (Anaheim), where he allowed one earned run. In 44 innings, the UCLA-bound Cole is 5-1 with a 0.64 earned run average (only four earned runs and 16 hits allowed) with 72 strikeouts and 13 walks. Cole, 6-3, 200 pounds, also swings a mighty stick, batting .333 with six homers and 21 RBI. Cole is projected a high-round draft choice in June.

Milestones: Recently two coaches registered significant wins. Mike Sheppard Jr. of Seton Hall Prep (West Orange, N.J.) captured his 500th coaching victory as the Pirates beat rivals Delbarton (Morristown) 6-4. Sheppard Jr., 500-154-4 after the game, is the 13th New Jersey baseball coach to reach the milestone.

Sheppard, 49, has guided Seton Hall Prep to 10 conference, eight Essex County and six Non-Public A state championships. His 2007 club finished No. 1 according to several national services. He was named the American Baseball Coaches Association National Coach of the Year in 2003 and '07.

Dundee-Crown (Ill.) coach Fred Bencriscutto notched his 300th victory in a 13-11 win over Grayslake North. Bencriscutto, an Illinois Coaches Association Hall of Fame member, is in his 18th and final season with the school. -- Christopher Lawlor

ESPN HIGH Elite 25 High School Boys Baseball Rankings
1 (2) Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas 28-1 Recap: The Gaels' bats exploded for 63 runs and 53 hits during a three-game stretch capped by a 14-9 victory over Coronado (Las Vegas). Jeff Malm had three hits and knocked in three runs and John Rickard went 2-for-3 with a homer, scored twice and had four RBI. For the season the Gales have outscored the opposition 370-89 and entered the week having won 11 straight. The two-time defending Class 4A champions conclude the regular season against Durango (Las Vegas) on May 1. The Southwest Division championship is already in the bag.
2 (7) Opelika, Ala. 34-1 Recap: Auburn-bound Zach Blatt owned Northview (Dothan) in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs as the Bulldogs swept the best-of-three series, 5-1 and 12-0. Blatt pitched a complete game four-hitter, striking out nine in Game 1 and ripped a two-run single. In second game, he went 3-for-4 with three RBI and gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead with a first inning solo shot. Drake Sasser added two hits and three RBI while Chase Dawson threw six shutout innings with 10 strikeouts. Next up are two games at Satsuma Saturday in the 6A second round.
3 (16) Farragut, Knoxville, Tenn. 28-0 Recap: The Admirals continued their torrid pace, stopping Bearden (Knoxville) 10-4 with a barrage of home runs. Kentucky-bound Michael Williams and Joey Delmonico each hit two-run shots and Curt Powell and Nicky Delmonico hit solo homers. Freshman left-hander Philip Pfeifer (8-0) scattered seven hits, striking out 12. Coach Tommy Pharr's team finishes the regular season April 29 against McCallie School (Chattanooga). The Class AAA district tournament commences May 4.
4 (5) Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey, N.J. 10-0 Recap: Boston College-bound Mike Dennhardt (3-0) spun a six-inning four-hitter, striking out six, in a 10-0 blanking of Cranford. Steven Proscia (2 for 3, two runs, two RBI) and Eric Pfisterer (3 for 4, one run, two RBI) combined for five hits and four RBI. Pfisterer (3-0) tossed his second no-hitter, striking out 11, in a 14-0 five-inning blanking of Teaneck. Proscia knocked in four runs, including a two-run homer.
5 (1) Owasso, Okla. 27-2 Recap: The Rams peeled off 23 straight games before losing twice to Broken Arrow, 8-3 and 4-3. In the first game, the score was tied at 3 heading into the ninth when Broken Arrow struck for five runs (four were unearned). Coach Larry Turner's team has since rebounded winning three, including a 4-2 win over Union (Tulsa). Left-hander Ryan Prickett (4-0) went the distance surrendering four hits with 10 strikeouts and Austin Kirk slammed a two-run shot, his second of the campaign, for a 3-1 lead. The Rams wrap up the regular season Saturday against Bishop Kelley (Tulsa), No. 2 in Oklahoma's Class 5A rankings.
6 (3) American Heritage, Plantation, Fla. 24-2 (3) Recap: The Patriots closed out the regular winning their seventh straight, beating Pine Crest (Fort Lauderdale) 10-0 and finish unbeaten in eight district contests. Since their last loss on April 3, the Patriots have outscored seven opponents 69-7. Next up is the district tournament on Monday.
7 (4) Tupelo, Miss. 25-2 Recap: Mississippi's top-ranked team lost its final two regular season games to Oxford 14-10 and South Panola (Batesville) 6-5. Against South Panola, Samford-bound OF Gardner Richey slugged a two-run homer for a 5-4 lead in the top of the seventh, but losing pitcher Kyle Thornton (3-1), a Mississippi recruit, surrendered a two-run double in the bottom half for the margin of victory. The Golden Wave open the Class 5A tournament against the Greenville Weston or Madison Central Friday. The second round opens May 2.
8 (NR) Plano (Texas) West 28-0 Recap: Texas' top-ranked Class 5A team completed a perfect regular season, defeating Richardson Berkner 6-1 as Drew Johnson earned the win and Harrison Holmes homered. The District 9-5A champions will open the bi-district playoffs on May 3. TCU-bound outfielder Jason Coats completed a recent 4-for-7 stretch with two doubles, a homer and three RBI, raising his batting average to .500 with seven homers and 36 RBI.
9 (11) Paul VI, Fairfax, Va. 19-0 Recap: The Panthers used their rally caps in a Washington Catholic Athletic Conference win. Tim McCormick's two out, two-run double in the top of the seventh gave the Panthers a 2-1 win over St. Mary's Ryken (Leonardtown). Sophomore Tyler Costello (5-0) pitched two innings of scoreless relief for the victory. Matt Murkami crushed a three-run homer in the first inning en route to a key 5-4 victory over league rivals St. John's (Washington, D.C.). The team is hitting .400, having outscored opponents 181-43. Six games remain with the season finale against Gonzaga (Washington) on May 2. The WCAC quarterfinals are May 5.
10 (13) Brookwood, Snellville, Ga. 20-1 Recap: The Broncos extended the win streak to 13 games, blanking Grayson 8-0 and Shiloh (Snellville) 8-0. Against Shiloh, Jordan Erisman went 3-for-3 with two homers and Matt Adams pitched six innings, allowing three hits and striking out 10 for the victory. Chase Hawkins then twirled a four-hit shutout and Erisman, Seth Adkins and Ryan Lewis homered against Grayson.
11 (NR) Los Alamitos, Calif. 17-3 Recap: Coach Mike Clabough's club has outscored opponents 140-63. Kenny Uyetake's had two hits and two RBI and junior Beau Wright (7-0, 1.09, 78 strikeouts, 51 innings) pitched eight innings in a 4-2 victory over Marina (Huntington Beach) in nine innings. Arizona-bound Kyle Simon (5-2, 1.64 ERA, five saves) and Wright bolster the staff while Matt Avery (.448, three homers, 23 RBI) and Travis Garrett (.400, 18 runs scored) are slugging .707 and .611, respectively.
12 (8) Harrison, Kennesaw, Ga. 20-1 Recap: The Hoyas are 7-1 in Region 5-5A, having recorded five straight wins. The most recent victories were McEachern (Powder Springs) 4-3, Kennesaw Mountain 9-3 and Campbell (Smyrna) 5-4 in 10 innings. The schedule resumes Thursday against South Cobb (Austell) and Friday at Murray County (Chatsworth).
13 (NR) Aptos, Calif. 19-3 Recap: The Mariners won their sixth straight, shellacking Carmel 21-0 improving to 6-0 in Santa Cruz Coast League play. A high-powered offense produces nearly 10 runs per game. Coach Randy Kramer's club plays league rival Santa Cruz Saturday afternoon at McAfee Coliseum in Oakland.
14 (10) Orange (Calif.) Lutheran 17-3 Recap: The Lancers carried a two-game lead into Trinity League play this week against Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita). A win streak was halted at five games by Servite (Anaheim) 11-0. UCLA-bound right-hander Gerrit Cole (six homers, 21 RBI, .333) is 5-1, while Brandon Maurer (6-1, 1.40, three saves) and Aaron Gates (5-1, 2.00) are pitching well. Tyler Smith hits .413 with 20 runs scored.
15 (15) Creighton Prep, Omaha 21-1 Recap: The Junior Jays dropped a 5-3 decision to Millard North (Omaha) in the quarterfinals of the Metro Conference Tournament. Jeff McNichols gave Prep a 3-2 lead with in the sixth with an RBI single but Millard North rallied for three runs. The Junior Jays won their 21st game of the season when Joe Holtmeyer fired a two-hitter with 16 strikeouts and Derek Nelson homered in a 7-0 victory over regionally-ranked Papillion-LaVista South. Nebraska releases its district postseason pairings this week, with the Junior Jays the favorite in Class A (large schools).
16 (20) Malvern (Pa.) Prep 24-1 Recap: The Friars rallied from a 5-0 deficit to defeat rivals Germantown Academy (Fort Washington) 10-5. Left-handed pitcher Tim Cooney had a shaky start but finished strong allowing one hit over the final five innings. Lafayette-bound Mike Gentile went 4 for 5 with three runs and had an RBI double in the six-run fourth. The win streak was halted at 21 games in an 8-3 loss to Salesianum (Wilmington, Del.) but bounced back to top regionally-ranked Calvert Hall (Baltimore) 4-0 as Gentile picked up the victory. Cooney, a junior, threw a four-hitter with 12 strikeouts in a 5-1 win over Penn Charter (Philadelphia).
17 (NR) Mountain View, Mesa, Ariz. 23-3 Recap: The Toros clinched the Class 5A East Valley Region regular season championship. Arizona's top-ranked Class 5A, Division I club closes out the regular this week. Austin Patience (5-0, 1.70) and Matt Shannon (7-0, 2.13) have combined for over half the Toros' wins. Coltin White tops the team with a .500 batting average with 24 runs scored and has a .548 on-base average. Tim Wilsey and Daniel Forest are hitting .439.
18 (17) Corpus Christi (Texas) Moody 26-3 Recap: Texas top-ranked Class 4A lost to Ray 1-0 in a pitcher's duel. March Gomez (9-1), the hard-luck losing pitcher, struck out 14, allowing four hits. The Trojans finish the regular season Friday against Miller in a district game.
19 (21) James Monroe, Bronx, N.Y. 29-2 Recap: Coach Mike Turo recorded his 900th coaching victory in a 4-2 victory over Samuel Gompers (Bronx). Jeffrey Hostos allowed two hits with nine strikeouts in six innings. The Eagles are 12-2 since March 29 and opened the Monroe Tournament, beating Banneker (Brooklyn) 11-0 as Carlos Sierra went 2 for 2 with three RBI and Juan Arroyo drove in two runs and added two hits, including a homer. Abel Guerrero went five innings with 11 strikeouts to earn the win. The Eagles opened the Monroe Invitational Tournament this week, winning their first four games.
20 (22) Pleasure Ridge Park, Louisville 12-1 Recap: The Panthers stretched their win streak to five games, defeating New Albany (Ind.) 8-5. The lone loss was a 6-5 decision to Bishop Verot (Fort Myers, Fla.), but the Panthers went 3-1 on the Florida trip. The schedule intensifies this week at the Louisville Invitational Tournament against Kentucky heavyweights Paul Dunbar (Lexington), Elizabethtown and Henderson County (Henderson) on three straight days beginning Thursday.
21 (23) Atascocita, Humble, Texas 25-3 Recap: The Eagles saw their win streak halted at 24 games, losing a District 21-5A game to Baytown Sterling 4-1. Despite the loss, the Eagles average 12 runs in district action. Houston area's top-ranked team finishes the regular season Friday at Baytown Lee.
22 (6) Valley Christian, San Jose, Calif. 21-5 Recap: The defending CIF Central Coast Section Division I champions are favorite to repeat. The Warriors improved to 4-1 in the West Catholic League -- one of California's premier circuits -- after crushing San Francisco rivals Sacred Heart Cathedral 14-0 and Riordan 18-1. Coach John Diatte's squad has outscored opponents 129-36. Next up is Serra (San Mateo) Friday.
23 (14) Barbe, Lake Charles, La. 29-7 Recap: With the bi-district playoffs on the horizon (May 1), the Buccaneers are rounding into postseason form. Daniel Zaunbrecher had two hits and three RBI and Adam Duhon improved to 7-0 in an 8-2 victory over Lafayette. The Bucs compete in Louisiana's top Class 5A district with the likes of St. Thomas More (Lafayette), Comeaux, Sulphur and Acadiana (Lafayette). Heading into Thursday's season finale against St. Thomas More, sophomore 2B Garin Cecchini (56 runs, .445 batting average) has stolen 43 of 45 bases; Tulane-bound right-hander Ryan Doiron is 6-1 with a 1.28 ERA and Hommy Rosado (.421) has a team-best 47 RBI.
24 (12) Poway, Calif. 18-4 Recap: The Titans won their ninth game in 10 starts, defeating Palomar League rivals Rancho Bernardo (San Diego) 5-2. Sophomore first baseman Josh Anderson went 2-for-3 with three RBI and a homer for the Titans, who rallied from a 2-0 deficit. Keegan Yuhl (6-0, 2.38) picked up his sixth victory and Trevin Lipe (2-0, three saves, 0.53) recorded the save. Indiana-bound outfielder-first baseman is .403 with three homers and 24 RBI and slugs .722. Brett Thomas (.423) has a team leading 26 RBI and 24 runs scored. The Titans average nine runs with a .340 team batting average.
25 (24) Lake Brantley, Altamonte Springs, Fla. 23-2 Recap: The Patriots completed a perfect 10-0 season in District 3-6A, beating Winter Springs 10-6 in the completion of a suspended game. The Patriots' win streak was stopped at 21 games, losing to University (Orlando) 6-2 in the regular season finale. D.J. Hicks went 3-for-4, including a homer.
Regional rankings
1. Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey, N.J. (10-0) 2. Malvern (Pa.) Prep (24-1) 3. James Monroe, Bronx, N.Y. (29-2) 4. Calvert Hall, Baltimore (16-5) 5. Toms River (N.J.) North (9-0) 6. Patchogue (N.Y.)-Medford (10-0) 7. Archbishop Spalding, Severn. Md. (19-4) 8. Seneca Valley, Harmony, Pa. (11-1) 9. Shawnee, Medford, N.J. (5-0) 10. Franklin Regional, Murrysville, Pa. (10-1)

1. Owasso, Okla. (27-2) 2. Creighton Prep, Omaha (21-1) 3. Lakota West, West Chester, Ohio (13-0) 4. Sperry, Okla. (26-2) 5. Papillion (Neb.)-LaVista South (17-3) 6. St. Ignatius, Cleveland (10-1) 7. Lake Orion, Mich. (8-0) 8. Millard West, Omaha (20-4) 9. New Trier, Winnetka, Ill. (12-0) 10. Middleton, Wis. (6-0)

1. Opelika, Ala. (34-1) 2. Farragut, Knoxville, Tenn. (28-0) 3. American Heritage, Plantation, Fla. (24-2) 4. Tupelo, Miss. (25-2) 5. Plano (Texas) West (28-0) 6. Paul VI, Fairfax, Va. (19-0) 7. Brookwood, Snellville, Ga. (20-1) 8. Harrison, Kennesaw, Ga. (20-1) 9. Corpus Christi (Texas) Moody (26-3) 10. Pleasure Ridge Park, Louisville (12-1)

1. Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas (28-1) 2. Los Alamitos, Calif. (17-3) 3. Aptos, Calif. (19-3) 4. Orange (Calif.) Lutheran (17-3) 5. Mountain View, Mesa, Ariz. (23-3) 6. Valley Christian, San Jose (21-5) 7. Poway, Calif. (18-4) 8. Stockdale, Bakersfield, Calif. (23-1) 9. La Cueva, Albuquerque (18-2) 10. Puyallup, Wash. (16-1)

Records through April 21. About the rankings: The ESPN HIGH Elite 25 high school baseball rankings are compiled by Christopher Lawlor of ESPN.com, who consults with a national network of sports writers, professional scouts and high school coaches. Criteria considered are a team's strength of schedule with an emphasis on national games especially those played against teams in the Elite 25 rankings; the superiority of competition in its state, district or league; the program's history and tradition; and the quality of its personnel with an emphasis on First-Year Player Draft prospects. Records do not include ties.


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