Preseason Top 25 Preview: No. 11 Venice



By Nathan Rode and Doug Freeman

Leading up to the start of the high school season, we will count down the Top 25 preseason teams every day as part of our comprehensive season coverage:


                            3B Mitch Donfrio

Team: Venice
Preseason Rank: 11
2016 Record: 26-6
FHSAA Class: 7A
Head CoachCraig Faulkner
Playoff Run: State Runner-up
Returning Starters: 6


TOP PLAYERS
Name, Position, Class (College Commitment)
Shane Shifflett, SS, 2017 (Florida)
Caleb Williams, LHP, 2017 (High Point)
Mitch Donofrio, 3B, 2018 (Florida Atlantic)
Brad Jones, RHP, 2017 (Liberty)
Eric Shrader, RHP, 2017 (Central Alabama)
Mac Guscette, C, 2020 (Florida)
Joey Kinker, 1B, 2018 (Uncommitted)
Josh Kinker, LHP, 2019 (Uncommitted)  

X-FACTOR
Caleb Williams
. The High Point recruit was the winning pitcher in the 2015 state championship and 2016 semifinal. He pitches in the mid 80s with a clean arm action and command of his fastball.

KEY PLAYERS LOST
RHP Rylee Buckmaster (St. Petersburg JC)
SS Scott Dubrule (Jacksonville)
C Jake Grubbs (Florida Gulf Coast)
3B Trevor Holloway (High Point)
OF Brent Killam (Georgetown)

OUTLOOK
A perennial powerhouse, Venice has been to the state final four in five consecutive seasons, the first time a public school has done so in 70 years. Pitching and defense is the key to the Indians making it six in a row. The top players all have playoff experience and Williams has won big games. The defense behind him will be strong, especially with Shifflett manning shortstop. In addition to Williams, Venice has Jones, who can touch 91 mph. Replacing Grubbs behind the plate will be Guscette. Just a freshman, he is already committed to Florida. 

Make sure to follow @pbrflorida on Twitter for the most up-to-date coverage throughout the season.

RECENT NEWS