Video: Videobombing hits the high school diamond
Watch your back when giving that post-game interview.
Could this be the year for the American Heritage Patriots?
The past three seasons, American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.) has seen its playoff run end early with losses to eventual state champion Archbishop McCarthy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) somewhere in the mix. In 2015 and 2016, they lost to the Mavericks in bi-district play and were eliminated. In 2017, the Patriots were eliminated by Goleman after losing a district championship to Archbishop McCarthy the week before.
Now, however, the Patriots return the bulk of last year's team, including All-American candidates Cory Acton and Triston Casas in the infield. American Heritage also already has avenged last year's loss to the Mavericks with a 14-3 thrashing last week.
The Mavericks might not be the same threat they have been in the past as it lost the majority of last year's state championship team to graduation, as well as the entire coaching staff that won seven state titles in eight seasons. Archbishop McCarthy was forced to forfeit 22 regular season wins last year for using ineligible players who received impermissible benefits, according to the Sun Sentinel. Although the Mavericks were able to play in the postseason and eventually capture the state title, coach Rich Bielski and director of baseball operations Alex Fernandez were let go in August.
Even without the dismantling of the Archbishop McCarthy dynasty, the Patriots would likely have been the state favorites, and possible national No. 1, anyway. Coach Bruce Aven not only returns two potential first-day draft picks in Acton and Casas, but eight other Division 1 college signees.
The Patriots open the first MaxPreps National Baseball Rankings at the No. 1 spot, edging out Lake Travis (Austin, Texas), which is off to a 13-0 start, and defending Southern Section Division 1 champion El Toro (Lake Forest, Calif.).
The first national rankings only include states and teams that have begun play, thus there are no teams from schools in the Northeast and upper Midwest. Additionally, teams that have not played a game in state where baseball season is underway, like Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) for instance, have been included in the initial rankings.
MaxPreps Top 25 National High School Baseball Rankings
1. American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.), 7-0
The Patriots passed their biggest test of the season thus far when they defeated Archbishop McCarthy (Fort Lauderdale) 14-3 on Friday. The Mavericks were the defending Class 6A state champion and defeated the Patriots in the district final last year. Gio Ferraro
homered in the win while Triston Casas
and Julio Cortez
each had three RBIs. Casas, a first baseman, is one of the top prospects in the country this year along with shortstop Cory Acton
. Both could be early selections in the Major League Baseball draft in June. The Patriots also have a convincing 12-1 win over a solid St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale) team and they will compete in the National High School Invitational later this month.2. Lake Travis (Austin, Texas), 13-0
The Cavaliers are off to the best start of any team in Class 6A in Texas. Among the wins include a 2-1 victory over Round Rock and a 2-0 win over The Woodlands. Lake Travis reached the regional quarterfinals last year and won District 25-6A.3. El Toro (Lake Forest, Calif.), 7-0
The defending Southern Section Division 1 champions return a pair of all-league players in Erik Tolman
and Stone Shiffman
. The Chargers posted a 2-0 win over previously undefeated San Clemente at the Loara Tournament on Friday. They also have solid wins over top programs like Aliso Niguel (Aliso Viejo) (12-10) and El Dorado (Placentia) (2-0). The South Coast League figures to be a tough one this year with Mission Viejo, Aliso Niguel and San Clemente all offering El Toro tough competition.4. Calvary Christian (Clearwater, Fla.), 9-0
The Warriors, the returning Class 4A state champions, have won a national-best 39 games in a row, including 30-0 in 2017. The Warriors had their toughest test on Monday when they were scheduled to play Class 8A defending state champion Lincoln (Tallahassee).5. Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, Calif.), 5-0
The Knights had one of the top players in the nation last year in shortstop Hunter Greene
. This year, Notre Dame has one of the top players in the Class of 2020 in Lucas Gordon
, who was the 2017 MaxPreps National Freshman of the Year.6. Sam Houston (Lake Charles, La.), 14-0
A Class 5A state semifinalist in 2017, Sam Houston has been impressive in the first month of the season. The Broncos edged fellow semifinalist Zachary 5-4 last week and has wins over Teurlings Catholic (Lafayette) (4-1 and 11-1), and Catholic Baton Rouge (4-3). Sam Houston will also have to get through a tough district that includes powerhouses Sulphur, Barbe and Acadiana.7. Oak Mountain (Birmingham, Ala.), 14-0
After leading Charles Henderson (Troy) to a pair of state championships, Oak Mountain coach Derek Irons has the Eagles among the top teams in Alabama. Irons led Oak Mountain to the quarterfinals of the Class 7A playoffs last year and has the Eagles off to a 14-0 start in 2018. Wins include a 9-4 victory over defending Georgia AAAAAA state champion Pope (Marietta, Ga.), an 18-1 win over Charles Henderson and a 3-1 win over defending Alabama Class 7A state champion Hoover.8. Blessed Trinity (Roswell, Ga.), 12-1
The Titans won the Perfect Game Showdown over the weekend with an 11-8 win over previously undefeated Providence School (Jacksonville, Fla.) in the championship game. Blessed Trinity also topped Georgia powers Parkview (Lilburn) 4-2, Buford 16-7 and Brookwood (Snellville) 4-1 in pool play. The Titans also have impressive wins over Walton (Marietta), Cartersville, Etowah (Woodstock) and Lambert (Suwanee). Only loss is to a strong St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) team at the Georgia Peach Invitational.9. Elk Grove (Calif.), 2-0-1
The three-time defending Sac Joaquin Section Division 1 champions blew away Central Section powerhouse Buchanan 13-1 over the weekend and also went 10 scoreless innings with Valley Christian (San Jose).10. Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.), 11-0
The Eagles won the Blue Division championship at the Perfect Game Showdown, defeating Houston County 6-2 in the final game. Montverde Academy is home to one of the nation's top players in Nander De Sedas
, who is considered the top high school shortstop prospect in the 2018 Major League Baseball draft by Perfect Game.11. Bellarmine College Prep (San Jose, Calif.), 5-0
The West Catholic Athletic League figures to be very competitive this year with the Bells joining Valley Christian (San Jose) in the year's first MaxPreps Top 25 National Baseball Rankings. Bellarmine already has a 7-2 win over De La Salle (Concord), a 7-5 win over Jesuit (Carmichael), an 8-6 win over Davis and a doubleheader sweep of Huntington Beach, 2-1 and 6-3.12. Valley Christian (San Jose, Calif.), 6-0-1
Only a marathon 10-inning 0-0 tie with powerhouse Elk Grove mars a perfect record for the Warriors. Valley Christian also has a 3-2 win over Jesuit (Carmichael) and a 2-0 victory over league rival Archbishop Mitty (San Jose).13. Gulfport (Miss.), 10-0
The Admirals reached the Class 6A state championship game last year before falling to Tupelo. Gulfport is the only undefeated team in Class 6A through the first month of the season. Tough games against Westmoore (Oklahoma City, Okla.) and George County (Lucedale) loom in the upcoming week.14. Providence School (Jacksonville, Fla.), 7-1
The Stallions already have a win over Florida Class 4A preseason favorite Bolles (Jacksonville) and they defeated North Gwinnett (Suwanee, Ga.), a Georgia Class 7A semifinalist last year. Only loss is to Blessed Trinity (Roswell, Ga.) in the finals of the Perfect Game Showdown on Saturday.15. Katy (Texas), 13-1-2
The Tigers' only loss is to Montgomery in tournament play and they have a tie with Cypress Ranch (Houston) and Houston Westside. Key wins include a 4-2 victory over Reagan (San Antonio). Katy won the district last year and was a regional quarterfinalist.16. Zachary (La.), 13-1
The Broncos reached the Class 5A state semifinals last year and they already avenged the loss in that game with a 14-1 win over West Monroe. Zachary also handed Sulphur a 5-3 loss on Saturday. The Broncos' only loss is to undefeated Sam Houston (Lake Charles) by a 5-4 margin.17. IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.), 6-0
The Ascenders could have one of their best teams in nearly a decade with 15 players already committed to Division 1 colleges. In six wins, IMG Academy has five shutouts and allowed just one run. The Ascenders will play in three major tournaments, including the Coach Bob tournament in Arizona, the National Classic in California and their own IMG National Classic. They also have a matchup with Montverde Academy in mid-April.18. New Hanover (Wilmington, N.C.), 4-0
Nearly every starter returns for a team that lost to T.C. Roberson in the Class 4A state championship series last year. New Hanover already has a win over defending Class 1A state champion Whiteville.19. Owasso (Okla.), 3-0
The Rams are the traditional pick in Oklahoma and they have a doubleheader sweep of Stillwater — a team that handed defending Class 6A state champion Mustang its only loss of the season thus far.20. Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), 1-0
The Gaels have won 30 games in each of the past three seasons, but they haven't won a state championship since 2015. That's a rare drought for a team that once won seven straight state titles. Bishop Gorman features the best player in the state in Gatorade State Player of the Year Austin Wells
.21. Reagan (San Antonio), 14-3
The Rattlers had three straight losses early in the season, including one to Katy, but have won 13 games in a row since with a pair of tournament championships. Reagan reached the Class 6A state finals in 2017.22. Har-Ber (Springdale, Ark.), 5-0
Runner-up to Cabot last year in the Arkansas Class 7A state finals, Har-Ber avenged that loss two weeks ago. The Wildcats get a good test next week when they play in the Best of West Tournament in Tennessee and take on Christian Brothers (Memphis, Tenn.).23. Argyle (Texas), 12-0
The Eagles have won nine games by shutout, including three straight 10-0 victories. Argyle, a Class 4A school, has a 5-0 win over Waco Midway, which has recorded a win against one of the top Class 6A teams in Rockwall.24. Mountain View (Mesa, Ariz.), 9-1
The Toros had an extremely young team last year when it went 13-15. This year, Mountain View's only loss is a 6-5, 9-inning defeat to defending Class 6A state champion Hamilton (Chandler). The Toros also have wins over Mesquite and Chandler.25. South Caldwell (Hudson, N.C.), 6-0
The Spartans lost just three games between 2015 and 2016, but fell to 19-6 last year. Most of the pitchers from that squad return, however, and South Caldwell is off to a strong start.