Prep Baseball Report

The Rode Show: IMG Academy National Classic Preview

By Nathan Rode
National Supervisor

At its state-of-the-art facility in Bradenton, FL, IMG Academy is hosting the third annual IMG Academy National Classic, an event split into two weeks that welcomes teams from all over Florida and the country. Starting Monday is the second week of the 2015 edition and 14 teams will compete for the tournament title.

The hosts are a clear favorite with 16 Division I recruits, some of which have significant draft interest. LHP Logan Allen, a South Carolina recruit, is scheduled to start Monday and has reportedly been sitting in the low 90s this spring. He also has a big curveball that he shows the ability to spin well. LHP Jason Groome, who is committed to Vanderbilt, has also sat in the low 90s this spring and is one of the top southpaws in the country in the 2016 class. Pitching is an obvious strength for IMG Academy, but the offense has the potential to damage as well. OF Danny Blair has good speed and a short swing while 3B Ryan Karstetter has a big, physical frame and the power to match. They are committed South Carolina and Virginia respectively. SS L.T. Tolbert, also a South Carolina recruit, is a steady player that moves well for his size and makes consistent contact at the plate.

Regis Jesuit HS, CO, is no stranger to a challenge, having participated in the USA Baseball National High School Invitational in 2014. The Raiders made it to the semi-final round there and have some good talent returning. 3B Matt Schmidt, the son of Colorado Rockies scouting director Bill Schmidt, has a strong frame and is committed to Texas. RHP Brent Schwarz, a Rice recruit, can pitch in the high 80s, and RHP Bo Weiss is one of the top 2016s to watch in the state. He is verbally committed to North Carolina.

Traveling across the country to Bradenton is South Hills HS, CA, which has churned out some college and pro prospects in recent years. One of South Hills’ top players is RHP John Dearth, who is committed to San Diego State and was at Team USA’s 15U Trials in 2014. He pitched 85-87 there with some deception and good sink and run to his fastball.

Below are the rest of the participating teams and some relevant information provided by the programs. Keep an eye out for coverage of this event through its duration.

East Lake HS, FL
State Classification: 7A
Recent Accomplishments: 2011-2013 district champions; 2014 state runner-up
Top Returning Players (Commitment): RHP Ryan Wall (Ava Maria), RHP Steven Plaskett (Air Force)

George Jenkins HS, FL
State Classification:
Top Returning Players (Commitment):
LHP/OF Jared Middleton (Florida State), LHP/OF Clayton Jeffries (Lenoir Rhyne), SS Roberto Lopez (West Florida), LHP/1B Cole Crowder (West Florida), RHP/OF Tyler McGhin

Hewitt Trussville HS, AL
State Classification:
Recent Accomplishments: 2013 state runner-up; 2014 area champion
Top Returning Players (Commitment):
SS/3B Carter Pharis (Alabama-Birmingham), C Cyle Moore (Sheldon State CC), CF Quin Jackson (Lawson State CC)

IMG Academy, FL
State Classification:
Recent Accomplishments: 2013-2014 IMG National Classic champion, 2013 Cleats Invitational champion, 2012 Sarasota Classic champion
Top Returning Players (Commitment):
3B Ryan Karstetter (Virginia), OF Eric Feliz (Notre Dame), LHP Logan Allen (South Carolina)

Northside Christian School, FL
State Classification: 3A
Recent Accomplishments: 2008 district champions; 2002 state runner-up; regional appearances in 2008-2010
Top Returning Players (Commitment): Wil Dolan, Brian Fuller

Osceola Fundamental HS, FL
State Classification: 6A
Recent Accomplishments: 2011 county champion; 2011, 2013 district champion
Top Returning Players (Commitment):
CF Joey Coca, 1B/LHP Tyler Malinowski, C Larry Coffey

Pelham HS, AL
State Classification:
Recent Accomplishments:
2004, 2013 state champion
Returning Players:
C Hunter Stovall (Mississippi State), OF Sam Finnerty (Alabama), RHP Connor Radcliff (Samford)

Port St. Lucie HS, FL
State Classification: 6A
Recent Accomplishments: 2007 state runner-up
Top Returning Players (Commitment): RHP/UT Tyler Anshaw, OF/C Robert Ocasio

Regis Jesuit HS, CO
State Classification:
Recent Accomplisments: 2014 league champions, 2014 NHSI semi-finalist
Top Returning Players (Commitment): RHP Brent Schwarz (Rice), RHP Bo Weiss (North Carolina), SS/2B Alden Cameron, 1B/3B Matt Schmidt (Texas), OF Quin Cotton

Ridgewood HS, IL
State Classification:
Recent Accomplishments:
Top Returning Players (Commitment):
RHP Joe Uvelli (Purdue), SS Michael Ruffolo (Indiana State), 3B Gianfranco Sorrentino (Wisconsin-Parkside), LHP/OF Keith Karrigan, C Vito Iovino

Riverdale HS, FL
State Classification: 7A
Recent Accomplishments: 2008 state runner-up
Top Returning Players (Commitment):
SS Nick Blasucci, C Kevin McIltrot, RHP Jessie Lighthall, RHP Matt Doden, RHP Eric Amrhein, RHP Levi Humphries

Shaker Heights HS, OH
State Classification:
Division I
Recent Accomplishments: 2003, 2011-2014 conference champions; 2003, 2011 district champions
Top Returning Players: OF Nate Livingston, IF Arpit Agrawal, 1B/LHP, Canyon McWilliams, RHP Robert Desmond

South Hills HS, CA
State Classification:
Division II
Recent Accomplishments: 26 league titles and 5 CIF championships in school history
Top Returning Players (Commitment):
RHP Gavin Velasquez (Cal State Fullerton), RHP John Dearth (San Diego State), LHP Ryan Mauch, CF Christian Moya (Southern California)

St. Petersburg HS, FL
State Classification: 8A
Top Returning Players (Commitment):
2B Matt Mainelli, SS Keegan Galloway

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