2008 Boys Baseball Rankings: May 7



For the third straight time this spring, the ESPN HIGH ELITE 25 high school baseball rankings have a new No. 1 team. This time the honor goes to Plano West, Texas' top-ranked Class 5A club.

The Wolves have won 30 consecutive games heading into their 5A Area playoff series this week against Longview. No. 12 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) slips 11 slots after dropping two games, including one in the double-elimination playoff format. No. 8 Owasso (Okla.), the preseason No. 1, opened the Class 6A state tournament Wednesday.

Arizona, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Nebraska will decide their large-school state champions within the next week, and Florida is right behind.

The California section playoffs start next week, but teams in the Midwest and East regions are still winding down their schedules.

The Southland Region continues to dominate the Elite 25 rankings, supplying 14 teams. California has four teams ranked and Florida and Texas each add three. The next rankings are May 22.

Triple Play
Player of the week: Mike Love of No. 4 Opelika (Ala.) helped the Bulldogs avoid an early exit in the Class 6A playoffs. Trailing 1-0 in the best-of-three quarterfinals series against McGill-Toolen (Mobile), Love went 7-for-8 in the final two games as Opelika scored 29 runs.

Love went 3-for-4 in an 11-3 victory in Game 2, but saved his best for the decisive 18-0 mercy-rule five-inning game. Love had four hits, including a two-run homer in the second inning when he nailed a 1-1 fastball to right field, and then he cleared the bases with a double in the fourth.

Pitcher of the week: Tyler Johnson of No. 16 Crespi (Encino, Calif.) remained perfect for the season and his career. The 6-0 senior right-hander spun a three-hit, six-inning gem as the Celts downed rivals Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks) 2-1.

The victory pushed his season mark to 9-0 and 19-0 for his career and moved the Celts into a first-place tie with Notre Dame heading into Thursday's Mission League finale.

For the season, the Stony Brook-bound Johnson has a 1.05 earned run average, with 55 strikeouts in 57 innings.

Must-see: If you want improbability, head to Thursday's Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship game at Shirley Povich Field in Bethesda, Md., at 8 p.m. ET. DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) and Bishop Ireton (Alexandria, Va.) reached the title game after pulling semifinal round upsets. It will be Ireton's first-ever appearance in a WCAC baseball final. Ireton's Mike Gallagher was recently named WCAC coach of the year.

"We each had their numbers this year," DeMatha first-year coach Sean O'Connor said after DeMatha mashed St. John's (Washington, D.C.) 20-6 and Ireton edged No. 24 Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) 3-2 in Tuesday's semifinals.

DeMatha (16-10) won all three games against St. John's this spring, while Ireton (13-12) won twice in three tries against Paul VI. -- Christopher Lawlor

ESPN HIGH Elite 25 High School Boys Baseball Rankings
RANK (PREV. RANK) TEAM RECORD COMMENT
1 (8) Plano (Texas) West 30-0 Recap: Texas' top-ranked Class 5A team swept South Garland 4-1 and 7-6 in the bi-district best-of-three series. Drew Johnson picked the victory in the clincher and Robert Huber recorded the save and Kale Kiser homered. The Wolves travel to Longview Thursday for Game 1 of the Area playoff series, with Game 2 on Friday. The Wolves took home the District 9-5A championship with a 14-0 record winning the title by five games.
2 (6) American Heritage, Plantation, Fla. 27-2 (3) Recap: The Patriots are closing in on a berth in the Class 3A state tournament. All that remains is getting past Chaminade (Hollywood) in the best-of-three series which opens Friday. Game, if necessary, 3 is Saturday. The Patriots advanced to the final beating Pope John Paul II (Boca Raton) 18-0 in the quarterfinals and Coral Springs Charter 4-1 in the semifinals. If the Patriots reach the state semifinals, they would face either Episcopal (Jacksonville) or Pensacola Catholic on May 19 at Sarasota's Ed Smith Stadium.
3 (4) Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey, N.J. 17-0 Recap: The win streak hit 17 games after a 15-1 victory over Paramus Catholic. The Ironmen struck for 10 runs in the bottom of the first and finished off their visitors in five frames. Niko Spezial (3-0) allowed two hits and Michael Vargas and Brett Knief each knocked in three runs. Boston College-bound Michael Dennhardt (5-0) tossed a two-hitter, striking out seven, and Bryan Struk and Anthony Gomez had two RBI in a 7-0 win over Mamaroneck (N.Y.). The Ironmen will likely be the top seed in the upcoming Bergen County and Non-Public B State tournaments.
4 (2) Opelika, Ala. 39-2 Recap: The Bulldogs may have dropped the opening game of the Class 6A state quarterfinal series but then something clicked. Coach Barry Hightower's club lost 4-3 in Game 1 but then plated 29 runs in the final two games against McGill-Toolen (Mobile), winning 11-3 and 18-0. Auburn-bound Zach Blatt (11-1) suffered his first defeat in the opener but Matt Middleton's bases-clearing double highlighted a six-run seventh in the 11-3 victory. In Game 3, Mike Love drove in seven runs and Brandon Rogers allowed four hits. Next up is Prattville in the semifinal series which opens Friday with two games. The winner plays either Hoover or Sparkman (Harvest) for the 6A championship.
5 (10) Brookwood, Snellville, Ga. 24-1 Recap: The Broncos wrapped up the Region 8-AAAAA title with a 12-0 record and head into the Class AAAAA state tournament first round series against Alpharetta with games on Friday. They closed out the regular season defeating Central Gwinnett (Lawrenceville) 10-2 and South Gwinnett (Snellville) 3-0. Chase Hawkins (10-0, 0.98 ERA, 72 strikeouts in 60 innings) and Alex Beebe (7-0) have combined for 17 wins and Jordan Erisman has nine homers and 24 RBI.
Harrison, Kennesaw, Ga. 25-1 Recap: The Hoyas are champions of Region 5-AAAAA after clinching the crown in a 7-0 victory over Marietta. They closed out the regular season with a 10-inning 4-3 win over Etowah (Woodstock). Next up is the 5A state tournament, with the opening two games of the series on Friday against South Forsyth (Cumming). Game 3, if necessary, is Saturday.
7 (11) Los Alamitos, Calif. 17-3 Recap: Junior Beau Wright (7-0, 0.99 ERA, 85 strikeouts in 56 innings) tossed a no-hitter, striking out 12 in a 4-0 victory over Newport Harbor (Newport Beach) as the Griffins won for the ninth consecutive time. Coach Mike Clabough's club closes out the regular season Thursday against Esperanza (Anaheim). Brian Tripp is hitting .380 with two homers, 18 RBI and 23 runs scored and Matt Avery (.387) adds five homers and a team-leading 28 RBI. Arizona-bound Kyle Simon is 7-2 with a 1.24 ERA.
8 (5) Owasso, Okla. 31-3 Recap: The Rams advanced to the Class 6A state tournament, beating Sapulpa 9-0 in the regional final. Left-hander Ryan Prickett (5-0) allowed three hits, striking out 10 as Owasso led 5-0 after one inning. Austin Kirk stroked three hits and drove in three runs and Brandon Bargas homered. Kirk improved to 6-0 and clubbed his fourth homer, helping the Rams defeat Claremore 13-7 in the regional tournament. Coach Larry Turner's club looks for its eighth state championship since 1998 and second straight in the eight team double-elimination bracket. The Rams opened Wednesday against Midwest City in Bracket B and would face either Enid or Yukon Thursday. The final is Saturday at Drillers Park in Tulsa.
9 (20) Pleasure Ridge Park, Louisville 20-1 Recap: The Panthers stretched their win streak to 13 games, stopping Manual (Louisville) 9-1 as junior right-hander Cody Gibson spun a two-hitter. The Panthers swept three opponents in the Louisville Invitational Tournament, stressing pitching. The staff allowed only two runs, with two shutouts.
10 (15) Creighton Prep, Omaha 26-2 Recap: The Junior Blue Jays are headed to the Class A state tournament as the top seed after holding off Omaha Burke 6-3 in the District A-6 final. Right-hander Joe Holtmeyer (0.00 ERA) improved to 6-0 and upped his Class A-best strikeout season count to 52. Prep also defeated Omaha North 13-1 in five innings. The Junior Jays play Grand Island Saturday at 11 a.m. ET in the first round of the Class A double-elimination tournament in Lincoln. The A final is May 15 at Haymarket Park in Lincoln.
11 (NR) Park Vista, Lake Worth, Fla. 28-1 Recap: Alex Saikal and Chris Matulis each delivered run-producing hits in fourth inning for a 2-0 victory over Wellington in the Class 6A region semifinals. Eric Rice (9-1) pitched went six shutout innings, striking out five with two hits, and Matulis came on to earn the save. The Cobras play Flanagan (Pembroke Pines) Friday in the opening two games of the regional final best-of-three series. Park Vista's lone loss this season came against Wellington 6-0 in February.
12 (1) Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas 33-3 Recap: The Gaels lost to Sierra Vista (Las Vegas) 7-4 halting the win streak at 12 games. They topped Durango (Las Vegas) 11-2 as Corey Laffler went 2-for-3 with three RBI and Johnny Field had three hits and an RBI, closing the regular season with four straight wins. Entering the postseason, the Gaels outscored their opposition, 431-101, while averaging nearly 13 runs. The two-time Class 4A champions were upset by Palo Verde (Las Vegas) 2-1 in the 4A Sunset Regional first-round and played Arbor View (Las Vegas) Wednesday at the double-elimination tournament.
13 (14) Orange (Calif.) Lutheran 21-4 Recap: The Lancers, the Trinity League champions, defeated St. John Bosco (Bellflower) 9-4. Chase Harrison slugged a grand slam in the top of the seventh to fuel a five-run inning. Dillon Bryant hit a solo homer in the fourth. UCLA-bound right-hander Gerrit Cole threw his fifth straight complete game, allowing three hits in a league-clinching 4-1 win over Mater Dei (Santa Ana). Josh Doyle's run-scoring double broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning and Bryant followed with a two-run single. The Lancers closed out the regular season Wednesday night against St. John Bosco.
14 (3) Farragut, Knoxville, Tenn. 35-2 Recap: The Admirals played for the District 4-AAA title on Wednesday. They reached final beating Bearden (Knoxville) 2-1. Zach Allen scored the winning run from second base on Joey Delmonico's hot shot to right field. Tennessee-bound righty Matt Ramsey struck out 14 but reliever Jordan Cooper earned the win striking out three batters with the bases loaded. Cade Stallings hit a solo shot in the second to tie the score at 1. The Admirals had their win streak stopped at 28 games, losing to William Blount (Maryville) 3-2 on April 23. Coach Tommy Pharr's team has qualified for the Region 2 tournament.
15 (18) Corpus Christi (Texas) Moody 28-3 Recap: It's all or nothing for the Trojans on Thursday (8:30 p.m. ET). That's because Texas' defending Class 4A club plays Alice in an Area playoff game. The Trojans last played on April 25 and received a first-round bye in the 4A playoffs.
16 (NR) Crespi, Encino, Calif. 21-5 Recap: The Mission League title will be on the line Thursday as the Celts face regionally-ranked Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks) in the regular season finale. Coach Scott Muckey's club created a tie atop the league standings after edging Notre Dame 2-1. Right-hander Tyler Johnson (9-0) won his 19th consecutive career decision and Florida State-bound lefty Sean Gilmartin earned his ninth save this season. Zack Wiley and Jeremy Rodriguez produced RBI singles in the first inning for a 2-0 lead.
17 (16) Malvern (Pa.) Prep 33-2 Recap: The Friars swept a pair games against New Jersey teams. Rob McCabe picked up the win and Matt Turano homered in an 8-6 win over Manalapan in eight innings. Alex Olah scattered seven hits and junior Tim Cooney blasted a homer in an 8-5 win over Marlboro. Lafayette-bound right-hander Mike Gentile (8-0) threw a six-hitter and Nick Busillo smacked a bases clearing triple in the first inning during a 4-2 win over league rival Chestnut Hill Academy (Philadelphia).
18 (21) Atascocita, Humble, Texas 29-3 Recap: The Eagles touched off the postseason, sweeping North Shore (Galena Park) 10-0 and 2-1 in the Class 5A bi-district round. Coach Eric Matthews' club went 13-1 in District 21-5A, earning a co-championship with Baytown Sterling, a team they split two games this season. Next up is Alvin this weekend in the 5A Area best-of-three series.
19 (25) Lake Brantley, Altamonte Springs, Fla. 26-2 Recap: The Patriots moved to the Class 6A region final, edging University (Orlando) 4-3 in the semifinals. In the quarterfinals, they outslugged Boone (Orlando) 11-10. Ted Blackman's grand slam in the fourth inning made it 8-1. Next up is Buchholtz (Gainesville) Friday for the first two games of the Region 1 best-of-three series. Game 3, if necessary, is Saturday. The winner plays either Goleman (Miami) or Miami Southridge on May 16 at the 6A state semifinals in Sarasota.
20 (7) Tupelo, Miss. 29-4 Recap: The Golden Wave rolled in the decisive game of their Class 5A best-of-three quarterfinal series, beating DeSoto Central (Southaven) 4-2. Junior righty Kyle Graham (4-0) went five innings, allowing five hits and both runs, and Evan Weibel and Gardner Richey each had RBI hits. The Golden Wave won the opener 7-1 but dropped second game 6-0 as Mississippi-bound right-hander Kyle Thornton (3-2) absorbed the loss. Next up is Clinton Central Thursday in the semifinal series opener.
21 (24) Poway, Calif. 23-5 Recap: The Titans continued their dominance in the Palomar League, defeating rivals La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad) 5-0, 5-4 and 10-3. Stanford-bound righty Brian Busick (5-3, 2.43 ERA) recorded the win and outfielder Jason Brunansky (four homers, 26 RBI) went 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBI in the first game. Sophomore Dillon Dooney (six homers, 24 RBI) slugged a walk-off homer in the 11th inning in the second game of the series. All that remains in the regular season are three games against Torrey Pines (San Diego) which began Wednesday and concludes at home on Friday and Tuesday.
22 (19) James Monroe, Bronx, N.Y. 33-3 Recap: The Eagles captured their sixth straight Monroe Tournament championship, beating Dewitt Clinton 6-1 in the final. Nolan Herrera went the distance, allowing six hits, and Elias Todman and Jeffrey Hostos (.329, 18 RBI) each drove in two runs as the Eagles scored five runs in the sixth to snap a 1-1 tie. Juan Arroyo is batting .324 with 27 RBI and 44 runs scored and Hostos tops the pitching staff at 6-0 with a 0.25 ERA, having struck out 48 in 36 innings.
23 (NR) Sunrise Mountain, Peoria, Ariz. 28-3 Recap: Arizona's top-ranked Class 5A, Division II has outscored three opponents 38-2 in the Pool A of the state double-elimination tournament. The Mustangs, who are 3-0 in the pool, need a victory over Desert Mountain (Scottsdale) Thursday to reach Saturday's final. The winner of Pool A plays either Horizon (Scottsdale) or Pinnacle (Phoenix) at Phoenix Municipal Stadium for the championship.
24 (9) Paul VI, Fairfax, Va. 24-3 Recap: The Panthers were upended in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference semifinals, losing to Bishop Ireton (Alexandria, Va.) 3-2. They defeated Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.) 8-2 in the quarterfinals. Coach Billy Emerson's club had their win streak stopped at 21 games, falling to Ireton 6-4 in the regular season. Six players -- Peter Verdin, Reed Bromley, Matt Murakami, Tyler Costello, Greg Wiegand and Mike Mitchell -- were named to the WCAC first team, while two were on the second and four more on the third team. The Panthers will play in the Virginia Independent Schools' state tournament.
25 (23) Barbe, Lake Charles, La. 33-7 Recap: Tulane-bound right-hander Ryan Doiron (9-1) won his ninth game, allowing one hit with 10 strikeouts, as the Buccaneers eliminated Hahnville (Boutte) 3-0 in the Class 5A regional round. They also stopped West Jefferson (Harvey) 14-1 in a bi-district playoff game. Coach Glenn Cecchini's club plays Ponchatoula Friday in the 5A quarterfinals at A.B. Netterville Park in Denham Springs. The winners plays either Airline (Bossier City) or Mandeville in Saturday's semifinals. The 5A championship game is Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.
Dropped out: No. 13 Aptos (Calif.); No. 17 Mountain View (Mesa, Ariz.); and No. 22 Valley Christian (San Jose, Calif.).

Regional rankings
East
1. Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey, N.J. (17-0) 2. Malvern (Pa.) Prep (33-2) 3. James Monroe, Bronx, N.Y. (33-3) 4. Seneca Valley, Harmony, Pa. (16-2) 5. Shawnee, Medford, N.J. (11-1) 6. St. Albans, Washington, D.C. (27-2) 7. Calvert Hall, Baltimore (22-7) 8. Archbishop Spalding, Severn. Md. (25-5) 9. Germantown Academy, Fort Washington, Pa. (22-3) 10. Malden (Mass.) Catholic (12-1)

Midwest
1. Owasso, Okla. (31-3) 2. Creighton Prep, Omaha (26-2) 3. Lakota West, West Chester, Ohio (19-1) 4. Sperry, Okla. (28-2) 5. Papillion (Neb.)-LaVista South (25-5) 6. Chickasha, Okla. (35-4) 7. Lake Orion, Mich. (16-1) 9. New Trier, Winnetka, Ill. (19-1) 8. Millard West, Omaha (26-6) 10. Middleton, Wis. (11-1)

Southland
1. Plano (Texas) West (30-0) 2. American Heritage, Plantation, Fla. (27-2) 3. Opelika, Ala. (39-2) 4. Brookwood, Snellville, Ga. (24-1) 5. Harrison, Kennesaw, Ga. (25-1) 6. Pleasure Ridge Park, Louisville (20-1) 7. Park Vista, Lake Worth, Fla. (28-1) 8. Farragut, Knoxville, Tenn. (35-2) 9. Corpus Christi (Texas) Moody (28-3) 10. Atascocita, Humble, Texas (29-3)

West
1. Los Alamitos, Calif. (22-3) 2. Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas (33-3) 3. Orange (Calif.) Lutheran (21-4) 4. Crespi, Encino, Calif. (21-5) 5. Poway, Calif. (23-5) 6. Sunrise Mountain, Peoria, Ariz. (28-3) 7. Notre Dame, Sherman Oaks, Calif. (22-3) 8. North Medford, Medford, Ore. (22-1) 9. Eastside Catholic, Bellevue, Wash. (20-1) 10. La Cueva, Albuquerque (23-3)

Records through May 5.

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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