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 2020 season will commence on Feb. 10. Programs were allowed to begin practicing in an official capacity on Jan. 13, 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 2019.Over the next several weeks, leading up to opening day, we will be publishing our team previews ahead of the 2019 spring season, touching on programs spanning multiple state classifications, counting down the official PBR Georgia Preseason Power 25 Rankings.

Our Preseason Power 25 rankings coverage starts today.

Team: Pope
Preseason Rank:
2019 Record:
Region: 7-6A 
2019 Region Finish: 1st
GHSA Classification: 6A
Head Coach: Jeff Rowland
Playoff Run: State runner-up
Returning Starters: 6
Returning Pitchers: 7

KEy Players Lost
Name State School Class Pos Commitment
Buddy Floyd GA Pope 2019 INF Georgia 
Max Pralgo GA Pope 2019 INF Miami (OH)
Caden Smith GA Pope 2019 C Mercer 
Will Lantis GA Pope 2019 OF/INF Birmingham-Southern 
Andrew Herlitz GA Pope 2019 RHP Birmingham-Southern 
Ian Hancock GA Pope 2019 OF Birmingham-Southern 
Gage Vailes GA Pope 2019 RHP Kennesaw State 
Andrew Feld GA Pope 2019 OF/1B Emory 
Tommy Hutchins GA Pope 2019 RHP   
Andrew Bowman GA Pope 2019 LHP  
TOP Players
Name State School Class Pos Commitment
Reid Robertson GA Pope 2020 OF/LHP Dallas Baptist
Nate Shipley GA Pope 2020 OF/RHP Gordon State
Blake Redman GA Pope 2020 INF Ohio State
Jackson Brown GA Pope 2020 C Jacksonville State
James Tibbs GA Pope 2021 OF/INF Florida State
Cullen Orr GA Pope 2021 RHP/INF  
Quinn Kerce GA Pope 2021 INF/RHP  
Peyton Cariaco GA Pope 2021 INF/LHP  
Riley Frost GA Pope 2021 INF/RHP  
Top Newcomers
Name State School Class Pos Commitment
Cody McGill GA Pope 2022 OF/LHP
Dawson Campbell GA Pope 2022 OF/LHP  

A team first mentality. The Greyhounds are loaded with big name seniors and talented underclassmen. The key to repeating the success of 2019 will be the team's ability to mesh. A large and talented senior class leaves some holes and big shoes to fill through the lineup. The pitching staff is in good shape, as seven of them return. There are three positions in the field that must be filled, but there are experienced underclassmen who are ready to step up. If the senior class and underclassmen are able to build some early season chemistry, and play for the name on the front, Pope will be in store for yet another big season.

The Class 6A runner-ups lost a number of talented seniors to graduation, including: SS Buddy Floyd (Georgia), INF Max Pralgo (Miami (OH)), C Caden Smith (Mercer), and RHP Gage Vailes (Kennesaw State). However, despite all this talent lost, Coach Jeff Rowland believes his 2020 team is more balanced across the board.   

Offensively, the Greyhounds will be led by one of the state's best hitters, OF James Tibbs (2021; Florida State). The left-handed hitter has an explosive pull-side swing, generating an immense amount of power with his lower half as he whips the barrel through the zone with advanced hand speed. 

James Tibbs

The returning seniors will also have a big role to play in the offensive production. SS Blake Redman (Ohio State), OF/LHP Reid Robertson (Dallas Baptist), OF/RHP Nate Shipley (Gordon State) and C Jackson Brown (Jacksonville State) should have little problem picking up any slack that was left when the 2019 class graduated. Brown had a big fall at LakePoint and looks poised to carry that over into an even bigger spring. The right-handed hitting backstop has an athletic, projectable frame at 6-foot-2, 175-pounds. His advanced hand-eye coordination also for him to routinely barrel up pitches and punish balls into the gaps.

Jackson Brown

Robertson and Shipley will be called upon to lead the pitching staff, forming one of the more dynamic one-two pinches in Class 6A. Southpaw Robertson has a strong presence on the mound and has shown a high level of pitchability. He works in the mid-80s with his fastball, can get up to 87 mph, and complements it with a sharp slurve-like breaking ball. Similarly, from the right-side, Shipley works in the mid-80s.

Reid Robertson

Cullen Orr (2021), Quinn Kerce (2021), Peyton Cariaco (2021), and Riley Frost (2021) will also factor into the Pope pitching staff and batting order. There is the potential for two younger players, OF/LHP Cody McGill (2022) and OF/LHP Dawson Campbell (2022) to step in and make an impact.  

Make sure to follow @PBRGeorgia on Twitter for the most-up-to-date coverage throughout the 2020 season.

Find more information on the 2020 Greyhounds below:

+ Full Schedule
+ Team Website
+ Team Twitter

Preseason Power 25 Countdown