Prep Baseball Report

Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 12 Pope

Phil Kerber
Georgia Scouting Director

The Georgia High School Association has announced that opening day of the 2021 season will commence on Feb. 15. Programs were allowed to begin practicing in an official capacity on Jan. 18, meaning it's time for the PBR Georgia staff to break down the high school baseball scene in the state in the countdown to the first pitch thrown in 2021.Over the next several weeks, leading up to opening day, we will be publishing our team previews ahead of the 2021 spring season, touching on programs spanning multiple state classifications, counting down the official PBR Georgia Preseason Power 25 Rankings.

Team: Pope
Preseason Rank:
2020 Record:
Region: 6-6A
GHSA Classification: 6A
Head Coach: Jeff Rowland
Returning Starters: 6
Returning Pitchers: 6

Name State School Class Pos Commitment
Jackson Brown GA Pope 2020 C Jacksonville State
Daniel Crabtree GA Pope 2020 RHP Cleveland State CC
James Craig GA Pope 2020 RHP Motlow State CC
Cooper Krause GA Pope 2020 C Columbus State
Brody Meeks GA Pope 2020 RHP Young Harris
Blake Redman GA Pope 2020 SS Ohio State
Reid Robertson GA Pope 2020 LHP Dallas Baptist
Nate Shipley GA Pope 2020 OF Gordon State
Name State School Class Pos Commitment
James Tibbs GA Pope 2021 OF Florida State 
Peyton Cariaco GA Pope 2021 LHP/1B Kent St
Riley Frost GA Pope 2021 INF/RHP
Quinn Kerce GA Pope 2021 OF/RHP
Miguel Fernandez GA Pope 2021 INF Point University
Fabian Guillen GA Pope 2021 INF Spalding University
Jackson Hvizdak GA Pope 2021 C
Matt Anthony GA Pope 2021 INF Capital College 
Ben Keating GA Pope 2021 LHP Newport College
Dawson Campbell GA Pope 2022 OF/LHP  
Cody McGill GA Pope 2022 1B/OF/LHP  
Name State School Class Pos Commitment
Heath Owen GA Pope 2022 C
Jack Butler GA Pope 2022 RHP  
Carson Kerce GA Pope 2023 INF/RHP  
Kent Schmidt GA Pope 2023 INF/C  

Staying healthy. This has become a trend for the 2021 season. The biggest challenge facing teams is the possibility of losing players to quarantine. This has the potential to have long-lasting effects on the season or it could derail the entire year. If Pope can avoid this, then they will sitting pretty come playoffs. They may have lost eight graduating seniors to the next level, but they return six regular starts including one of the top power bats in the state, Florida State commit OF James Tibbs (2021), and Kent State commit LHP Peyton Cariaco (2021).

James Tibbs

The Greyhounds are going to be a well balanced team that can do a little bit of everything. With the loss of last season, this team may lack some experience, but they return six starters who should help steady the ship early on. As always, you can never count Pope out, especially when it gets to playoff time. 

The offense will be in good hands with the power hitting Tibbs leading the way. He will be helped out by returning starters INF Riley Frost (2021), OF/RHP Quinn Kerce (2021), and Spalding commit INF Fabian Guillen (2021). This group will make a trio of hard outs in the lineup. They are all athletic bats, who can spray line drives and then disrupt the defense with their speed.

A duo of 2022s who may have lost out on valuable experience in 2020, but have plenty of talent to have a big impact are 1B/OF/LHP Cody McGill and OF/LHP Dawson Campbell. McGill will add plenty of power from both sides of the plate to the batting order. Campbell, a left-handed hitter, is another tough out in the lineup and adds great range in the outfield.

Cody McGill

Cariaco will headline the pitching staff, following him will be quite a bit of depth for the Greyhounds. Frost, Kerce, Campbell, McGill and Newport College commit LHP Ben Keating (2021) all have some experience on the mound and will factor into the staff in one form or another.

One new arm who could make a big jump this spring is RHP Jack Butler (2022). Butler is a big bodied arm who is only just beginning to scratch the surface of his physical potential. He can work his fastball into the mid-80s and there is lot more in the tank. He also has a big breaking 11/5 curveball and a solid changeup.

Jack Butler

Pope will also have some younger talent that will be in the mix. INF/RHP Carson Kerce (2023) and INF/C Kent Schmidt (2023) are poised to provide a boost to the Greyhound this season.

If Pope can get through the season healthy, they will set up to make a deep postseason run. They have depth across the board, and a good mix of veterans and newcomers to make a challenge. Their schedule should prepare them well and they will compete against Allatoona for the region title, and then more.

Make sure to follow @PBRGeorgia on Twitter for the most-up-to-date coverage throughout the 2021 season.

Find more information on the 2021 Greyhounds below:

Full Schedule
Team Website
Team Twitter

Preseason Power 25 Countdown