It would be hard to find a pitcher who had a better postseason last year than Spruce Creek's
In leading the Hawks to the Florida Class 8A state championship, Marsh threw a perfect game in one playoff outing, a no-hitter in another and knocked off the nation's No. 1 team, Olympia, in a third.
Marsh's efforts did not go unnoticed. He was named the Central Florida Player of the Year by the Orlando Sentinel and earned All-American honors from MaxPreps.
The best news for Spruce Creek coach Johnny Goodrich is that Marsh was just a sophomore last year. The MaxPreps Sophomore of the Year
, Marsh is one of seven starters returning from a team that won its final 12 games of the season and captured a state championship in the largest classification in Florida.
Thus Spruce Creek begins the season ranked No. 1 in the Xcellent 25 Preseason National Baseball Rankings. The final overall Xcellent 25 rankings will be posted Feb. 19.
Marsh's efforts last year were certainly impressive. Besides posting an 11-0 record, the University of Central Florida recruit had 110 strikeouts in 71 innings pitched with a 0.31 ERA. However he is hardly the only returning talent for the Hawks. In fact, the team returns all but 14 innings from a pitching staff that had a 0.99 ERA last year.Griffin Fuller
is the other mainstay on the staff. Headed to Stetson next year, Fuller was 10-1 with 54 strikeouts and a 1.01 ERA in 68 innings pitched. Then there is Chris Hopkins
, who logged a 3-1 record with 35 strikeouts and a 1.28 ERA in 31 innings pitched.
Offensively, four of the team's top hitters return from last year in Austin Hays
, Zach Spivey
, Casey Bell
and Chandler Rodriguez
. Hays, a Seminole State commit, led the team with a .361 average that included 24 RBIs and seven doubles. He's joined in the outfield by Spivey, who batted .330 with five doubles, 19 RBIs and 21 stolen bases. He's headed to Florida Gulf Coast University.
Bell anchors the infield at first base. He batted .312 with five doubles and 14 RBIs last year. Rodriguez is a valuable utility player who batted .284 with seven doubles and 21 RBIs.
Goodrich is also looking for help from newcomers Brandon Wilkes
in the infield and Gage Hutchinson