2008 Boys Baseball Rankings: June 5
Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) is one victory away from the ESPN HIGH Elite 25 national high school baseball championship. That's because No. 7 Plano (Texas) West lost twice in the Class 5A region playoffs, dropping six spots from the lofty perch.
The No. 1 Ironmen carry a 32-game win streak into Saturday's New Jersey Non-Public A state final against Christian Brothers Academy (Lincroft) and leapt No. 2 American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.), Florida's Class 3A champions.
Plano West, which was pushed to the brink in winning a pair series in three games, needs two wins this weekend to annex its first the Class 5A title.
Congratulations to No. 3 Brookwood (Snellville, Ga.), No. 6 Farragut (Knoxville, Tenn.), No. 8 Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, Calif.), No. 12 Poway (Calif.), No. 15 Valley Christian (San Jose, Calif.) and No. 23 Chatsworth (Calif.) all which were recently crowned state or section champions. (California schools do not compete for state championships).
That brings the Elite 25 total to 16 state or section champions, with five schools still striving to capture state or league titles.
Four schools join the Elite 25 rankings, including three making their debut. No. 15 Valley Christian re-enters after winning the CIF-Central Coast Division I championship.
The final ESPN HIGH Elite 25 rankings are June 19.
Player of the week: Ryan Ford of No. 7 Plano (Texas) West may have saved the season, slugging a pair of home runs in the same inning against Georgetown in the Class 5A region final series. Ford, a sophomore first baseman, cracked a grand slam and solo homer to highlight an eight-run fourth inning during a 9-0 victory in Game 2. The Wolves went onto the win Game 3, 13-3, to clinch their first-ever berth in the states.
Heading into this weekend's Texas 5A state tournament in Round Rock, Ford is batting .355 with nine homers and 61 RBI. He is considered a high college prospect drawing interest from schools such as UCLA, Arizona State, Texas and LSU.
Pitcher of the week: Left-hander Jordan Hawkins of No. 3 Brookwood (Snellville, Ga.) closed out his four-year varsity career in grand fashion against defending champions Walton (Marietta) in the Class 5A state championship series. Hawkins outdueled Walton's Mark Pope (a Georgia tech recruit) during a 3-2 victory in Game 1 by pitching a complete game seven-hitter with six strikeouts. He matched Pope for five scoreless innings to open the game.
In the semifinal series sweep of North Cobb (Kennesaw), Hawkins took the ball again in Game 1, allowing six hits with six strikeouts in a 6-1 win. The Georgia-bound Hawkins finished 14-1 with 102 strikeouts, establishing a single-season school record for most wins as the Broncos won their first state title since 1986.
Must-see: If you're in the New York City borough of Queens Friday night, you can attend the Public School Athletic League A and B title games at Shea Stadium or the Catholic High School Athletic Association AA championship round at St. John's University's Jack Kaiser Stadium at 7:30 p.m. ET.
The PSAL championships commence at 4 p.m. with the B game, followed by the George Washington (Manhattan) and regionally-ranked James Madison tilt for the A crown. Admission is free for both PSAL games.
A few miles away from Shea Stadium, No. 20 Xaverian (Brooklyn) needs one win over Moore Catholic (Staten Island) to take home the Catholic League AA crown in the double-elimination tournament. If Moore wins, a decisive game is Sunday at Kaiser Stadium, 7 p.m. -- Christopher Lawlor
|ESPN HIGH Elite 25 High School Boys Baseball Rankings|
|RANK (PREV. RANK)||TEAM||RECORD||COMMENT|
|1 (3)||Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey, N.J.||32-0||Recap: The Ironmen won their record-setting third straight Bergen County title, defeating rivals St. Joseph Regional (Montvale), 13-5. Duke-bound left-hander Eric Pfisterer (9-0) picked up the win and knocked in three runs as the Ironmen rallied from a 5-0 hole. Junior Brett Knief, the tournament MVP, went 3-for-4, including a solo homer and scored three runs. The win streak hit 32 straight games after a 3-2 victory over Seton Hall Prep (West Orange) in the Non-Public A North final. Bryan Struk scored the winning run in the bottom of the sixth on Ben Luderer's single to left field. Mike Dennhardt (10-0), a Boston College recruit and likely high draft choice, went the distance for the win. Knief made the defensive play of the game, gunning down the potential game-tying run to end the game. Next up is Christian Brothers Academy (Lincroft) Saturday in the state final at Toms River.|
|2 (2)||American Heritage, Plantation, Fla.||31-2 (3)||Recap: Season complete.|
|3 (14)||Brookwood, Snellville, Ga.||34-3||Recap: The 22-year championship drought is over after the Broncos swept the Class AAAAA state championship series, 3-2 and 6-2, against defending champion Walton (Marietta). Second baseman Ross Heffley's walk-off solo homer snapped a 2-2 tie in the seventh inning. Buddy Jones cracked a two-run homer in the sixth for a 2-0 lead but Walton tied it in the top of the seventh. Lefty ace Jordan Hawkins (14-1) went the distance, scattering seven hits with six strikeouts. In Game 2, the Broncos scored five of their six runs in the second inning, while Alex Beebe (10-1) earned the victory and junior Michael Brown his 10th save for Coach Rick Howard's club. Additionally, they beat North Cobb (Kennesaw), 6-1 and 13-5, in the semifinal series and finished off East Coweta (Sharpsburg), 12-2, in the second game of the quarterfinal series. Season complete.|
|4 (5)||Owasso, Okla.||35-3||Recap: Season complete.|
|5 (6)||Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas||41-3||Recap: Season complete.|
|6 (8)||Farragut, Knoxville, Tenn.||43-3||Recap: The Admirals are champions of Tennessee's Class AAA for the fifth time. Kentucky-bound coach Michael Williams went 3-for-4 as the Admirals scored six runs in the sixth inning during a 10-6 win over defending champion Bartlett in the final. Williams went 7-for-16 with eight RBI in four state tournament games. Tennessee-bound Matt Ramsey was 2-for-4 and earned the win in relief. Freshman Nicky Delmonico laced a two-run single. Junior Jordan Cooper struck out 13 and allowed two hits in a five-inning 13-0 win over Ravenwood (Brentwood) in the second round. Season complete.|
|7 (1)||Plano (Texas) West||38-2||Recap: The Wolves are in the Class 5A state tournament for the first time after eliminating Georgetown in the Region 2 best-of-three series. After dropping the first game, 9-0, the Wolves won, 9-0 and 13-3. In Game 2, sophomore Ryan Ford crushed a grand slam and solo shot in the eight-run fourth inning and left-handed ace Ben Flora went six scoreless innings to earn the 9-0 blanking. Andrew Blum notched the decisive game victory in a mercy-rule shortened affair and Jason Coats hit a third-run homer in the fourth. The Wolves are 4-2 in their last six games. Next up is Laredo United in the 5A semifinals Friday at the Dell Diamond in Round Rock. The winner plays Saturday against Bellaire (Houston) or Southlake Carroll for the crown.|
|8 (15)||Notre Dame, Sherman Oaks, Calif.||27-4||Recap: The Knights captured their first CIF-Southern Section Division III championship, edging South Hills (West Covina), 4-2, at Dodger Stadium. Trevor Gee, a Loyola-Marymount recruit, helped the Knights rally from a 2-0 deficit when he drove in the tying run and then scored the go-ahead one during the three-run fifth inning. Nik Rodarte (11-1) earned the win, going six innings. The Knights defeated Quartz Hill, 7-6, in the semifinals as Eric Walbridge, Nick La Face and Hayden Hunter each hit home runs and Josh Goosen-Brown (3-0) went six innings of relief for the win. Rodarte drove in two runs and won his 10th game in a 9-3 victory over Paloma Valley (Menifee) in the quarterfinals. Season complete.|
|9 (10)||Lake Brantley, Altamonte Springs, Fla.||30-4||Recap: Season complete.|
|10 (11)||Barbe, Lake Charles, La.||35-7||Recap: Season complete.|
|11 (NR)||Corpus Christi (Texas) Calallen||40-1||Recap: The Wildcats swept Cedar Park Vista Ridge, 9-1 and 13-3, in the Class 4A, Region 4 best-of-three championship series. In seven playoff games, they have outscored opponents, 55-11. Heading into the school's 10th trip to the 4A state tournament, the lineup is stocked with seven hitters who are swinging mighty bats: Logan Verrett (.458), Roland Resendez (.444), Kris Guerrero (.430), Jeramie Marek (.420), Patrick Frazier (.402) and Derek Hagy (.401). Verrett (17-0, 0.64 ERA, 155 strikeouts) and junior Jordan John (10-1, 1.48, 120 strikeouts) have combined for 27 wins and 275 strikeouts in 177 innings. Coach Steve Chapman's club played Wednesday against Friendswood in the 4A state semifinals at Round Rock. The winner plays Thursday against Waxahachie or Birdville (North Richland Hills) for the title.|
|12 (9)||Poway, Calif.||31-6||Recap: The Titans fought through the loser's bracket to capture their second CIF-San Diego Section Division I championship in the last three years. Left-hander Drew Leininger (7-0) completed an unbeaten campaign and Donovan Dooney went 2-for-3 with four RBI in an 8-3 win over La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad) in the final. The Titans, who set a single-season school record for most victories, lost the opening game of the double-elimination tournament but rattled off five straight for the crown. Coach Bob Parry's club reached the final, defeating Eastlake (San Diego), 11-3. Alex Dickerson had four RBI and homered. Season complete.|
|13 (16)||Lakota West, West Chester, Ohio||26-1||Recap: The Firebirds are headed back to the Division I state tournament after outscoring Lincoln (Gahanna), 16-11, in the regional final. Coach Bill Dreisbach's team broke an 11-11 tie, scoring five times in the top of the seventh. Nick Murtland had six RBI and Craig Gauden added four and center fielder Jimmy Brenneman homered, fueling a 17-hit attack. Nathan Smith (11-1) earned the win. The Firebirds open their Division I title defense Thursday against regionally-ranked St. Ignatius (Cleveland) at Cooper Stadium in Columbus.|
|14 (25)||Pleasure Ridge Park, Louisville||33-4||Recap: Arkansas-bound Zack Cox (8-0) threw a three-hitter with 10 strikeouts and ripped an RBI double as the Panthers stopped Bullitt East (Mount Washington, Ky.), 7-2, to win their third consecutive Sixth Region championship. Junior third baseman Cheyenne Von Kanel had a two-run triple in the three-run second. They also defeated DeSales (Louisville), 8-0, in semifinals, and Portland Christian (Louisville), 28-0, in first round. The Panthers have allowed three runs in six post season games. Heading into the Kentucky's Sweet Sixteen, they have outscored opponents, 319-77, and have won 36 straight against region competition. The Panthers opened the State Semistate best-of-three series Wednesday against Anderson County (Lawrenceburg), with the next two games on Thursday and Friday (if necessary), respectively.|
|15 (NR)||Valley Christian, San Jose, Calif.||30-6||Recap: Clayton Eslick scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh in a 1-0 victory over league rivals Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) in the CIF-Central Coast Section Division I final. Christian Lam's base hit to right field produced the winning run from second base. The section championship was the second straight for the Warriors and fifth overall. Jonathan Hughes (10-1) pitched 1 1/3 innings for the victory in relief. Season complete.|
|16 (17)||Paul VI, Fairfax, Va.||27-3||Recap: Season complete.|
|17 (19)||Park Vista, Lake Worth, Fla.||32-2||Recap: Season complete.|
|18 (20)||Fayetteville, Ark.||30-3||Recap: Season complete.|
|19 (21)||Bishop Kenny, Jacksonville, Fla.||28-4||Recap: Season complete.|
|20 (NR)||Xaverian, Brooklyn, N.Y.||21-1||Recap: The Clippers are in the New York CHSAA AA championship round after sweeping their first three games in the double-elimination format. Dominick Scavelli (3-0) pitched three innings of relief to earn an 11-10 win over Moore Catholic (Staten Island). Trailing 10-9 in the bottom of the eighth, Robbie Duran's walk-off single scored Anthony Hajjar with the decisive run. Hajjar, who single in the tying run and stole second against Moore Catholic, had two hits and two RBI in a 12-3 win over defending champion St. Francis Prep (Queens). Junior Justin Giammarino (4-0) picked up the win and Boomer Rivera's two-run single triggered a 10-run uprising in the bottom of the sixth against. Coach Dennis Canale's team also stopped St. Joseph by the Sea (Staten Island), 3-2, in the opening game.|
|21 (22)||Sperry, Okla.||35-3||Recap: Season complete.|
|22 (23)||Chaparral, Scottsdale, Ariz.||26-6||Recap: Season complete.|
|23 (NR)||Chatsworth, Calif.||29-5||Recap: The Chancellors won their eighth CIF City Section Championship Division championship, topping Narbonne (Harbor City), 7-2, at Dodger Stadium. Trevor Takeyama improved to 14-1, firing a five-hitter with seven strikeouts. The Chancellors took a 6-1 lead in the fourth inning when Matt Moreno and James Wharton ripped RBI singles. Coach Tom Meusborn's club has won six City titles over the last decade. Season complete.|
|24 (24)||Opelika, Ala.||42-4||Recap: Season complete.|
|25 (12)||Malvern (Pa.) Prep||40-3||Recap: The Friars lost to league rivals Germantown Academy (Fort Washington), 9-3, in the Pennsylvania Independent Schools tournament final and beat Chestnut Hill (Philadelphia), 10-1, in the semifinals as Chris Gosik had two doubles and two RBI. Season complete.|
1. Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey, N.J. (32-0) 2. Xaverian, Brooklyn, N.Y. (21-1) 3. Malvern (Pa.) Prep (40-3) 4. St. Albans, Washington, D.C. (30-2) 5. James Madison, Brooklyn, N.Y. (22-1) 6. West Allegheny, Imperial, Pa. (20-3) 7. Plymouth (Mass.) North (22-0) 8. DeMatha, Hyattsville, Md. (17-10) 9. Calvert Hall, Baltimore (26-7) 10. Germantown Academy, Fort Washington, Pa. (27-5)
1. Owasso, Okla. (35-3) 2. Lakota West, West Chester, Ohio (26-1) 3. Sperry, Okla. (35-3) 4. Joliet (Ill.) Catholic (32-6) 5. St. Ignatius, Cleveland (27-5) 6. Penn, Mishawaka, Ind. (29-3) 7. Andrean, Merrillville, Ind. (29-1) 8. Bixby, Okla. (28-9) 9. Walsh Jesuit, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio (28-3) 10. Mount Pleasant, Mich. (31-3)
1. American Heritage, Plantation, Fla. (31-2) 2. Brookwood, Snellville, Ga. (34-3) 3. Farragut, Knoxville, Tenn. (43-3) 4. Plano (Texas) West (38-2) 5. Lake Brantley, Altamonte Springs, Fla. (30-4) 6. Barbe, Lake Charles, La. (35-7) 7. Corpus Christi (Texas) Calallen (40-1) 8. Pleasure Ridge Park, Louisville (33-4) 9. Paul VI, Fairfax, Va. (27-3) 10. Park Vista, Lake Worth, Fla. (32-2)
1. Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas (41-3) 2. Notre Dame, Sherman Oaks, Calif. (27-4) 3. Poway, Calif. (31-6) 4. Valley Christian, San Jose, Calif. (30-6) 5. Chaparral, Scottsdale, Ariz. (26-6) 6. Chatsworth, Calif. (29-5) 7. La Cueva, Albuquerque (28-3) 8. Rocky Mountain, Fort Collins, Colo. (23-4) 9. Los Alamitos, Calif. (26-4) 10. Orange (Calif.) Lutheran (24-6)
Records through June 3.
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.