2008 Boys Baseball Rankings: April 10

Owasso (Okla.) holds down the top spot in the ESPN HIGH ELITE 25 high school baseball rankings.

Many schools across the nation have already played a good portion of their schedules. In the East and Midwest regions, however, teams don't begin their seasons until April. Additionally those regions are normally hammered with colder temperatures and heavy rains, causing a backlog in scheduling.

The defending state champion Owasso Rams are Oklahoma's top-ranked Class 6A team (the largest classification), and they are aiming for a seventh state championship in the past 10 years under coach Larry Turner. Owasso has won two tournaments this season.

Owasso features three players headed to Division I schools -- shortstop James Stanfield (Kansas), 6-8 left-handed pitcher Brian Flynn (Wichita State) and catcher Joe Spring (Oral Roberts). The trio leads a club that has plenty of young talent, keeping the Rams in the mix for the foreseeable future.

Flynn (6-0, 0.58 ERA with 72 strikeouts in 36 innings) might be the staff ace, but he is backed by Ryan Prickett (3-0, 1.94), Brandon Vargas (3-0, 1.22) and Kirk Austin (3-0, 1.47). No surprise the team's earned run average is 1.63, considerably low for high school standards, with 176 strikeouts in 112 innings.

The pitching is backed by solid hitting: The Rams' team average is a gaudy .383. They have outscored their overmatched opponents 159-28.

Stanfield is the glue, batting .510 with 25 runs scored, nine home runs and 33 RBIs. Junior center fielder Ryan Mayfield (.560, 23 runs), right fielder Jarrod Huneryager (.431, 18 RBIs, 19 runs), Spring (.367, 15 RBIs) and Kirk (.490, 18 RBIs). No wonder they average nearly nine runs. The Elite 25 rankings, which appear biweekly in the spring, are stocked with 12 teams from the South and seven from the West, including five from California. The next rankings are April 24.

ESPN HIGH Elite 25 High School Baseball Rankings
1 Owasso, Okla. 18-0 Recap: The Rams have won two tournaments this spring, racking up 11 victories. The latest tournament title was at the Nike Pro 9, beating No. 25 Jenks 10-0 in the final. Wichita State-bound lefthander Brian Flynn improved to 6-0, striking out 10 and allowing two hits. Junior CF Ryan Mayfield was named MVP of an Arizona tournament after hitting .700 in five games.
2 Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas 24-1 Recap: The Gaels have are 9-1 in their last 10 games, having won seven straight. Their latest victory was an 11-1 drilling of Sierra Vista (Las Vegas), to take hold of the Southwest Division lead. Donn Roach allowed only six hits while Stephen Manthei, Rocky Brandonisio, Brandon Garcia and LHP-1B Jeff Malm all homered. The potent offense has outscored opponents 283-71 and is averaging 11 runs a contest. Coach Chris Sheff's club also topped Gulliver Prep (Miami) 11-4 to win the Calvary Chapel Tournament. Neil Lawhorn's three-run homer gave the Gaels a 5-1 lead and Malm went 2-for-5 with two RBIs.
3 American Heritage, Plantation, Fla. 18-2 Recap: The Patriots placed third in the National Grand Slam Tournament in Boca Raton, Fla., beating Wellington 8-0. They lost to Palm Beach Central 4-3 in the semifinals in eight innings. Arizona State-bound 1B Eric Hosmer, considered a high draft pick this June, hit a solo homer.
4 Tupelo, Miss. 19-0 Recap: Mississippi's top-ranked team is deep, experienced and looking to reach the Class 5A state final after falling a round short in 2007. The Golden Wave have relied on 1B-P Kyle Thornton, who signed with Mississippi and is considered a pro prospect, and OF-P Gardner Richey (Samford). The Golden Wave have outscored opponents 201-49.
5 Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey, N.J. 3-0 Recap: The Ironmen are the class of New Jersey, having seven players who signed with Division I schools. They already recorded quality wins over rival St. Joseph Regional (Montvale) 12-0,and Bergen Catholic (Oradell) 10-0. Against St. Joseph, Boston College-bound pitcher Mike Dennhardt struck out 10, allowing two hits, and OF Michael Vargas (Florida International) knocked in two runs during a seven-run first inning. Depth includes 1B Steven Proscia (Virginia) and LHP Eric Pfister (Duke), both of whom signed with ACC schools.
6 Valley Christian, San Jose, Calif. 17-2 Recap: The defending CIF Central Coast Section Division I champions are favorite to repeat. The Warriors improved to 4-1 in the West Catholic League -- one of California's premier circuits -- after crushing San Francisco rivals Sacred Heart Cathedral 14-0 and Riordan 18-1. Coach John Diatte's squad has outscored opponents 129-36. Next up is Serra (San Mateo) Friday.
7 Opelika, Ala. 28-0 Recap: Sweeping a doubleheader from rivals Auburn assured the Bulldogs at least a share of the Class 6A, Area 8 championship and stretched the team's win streak to 28 games. In Game 1, Auburn University-bound Zach Blatt went the distance, scattering seven hits with 11 strikeouts and drove in four runs in a 13 -4 triumph. Trailing 4-0, the Bulldogs slugged three homers  the bombs came from Brooks Robinson, Jake Crain and Drake Sasser  for a 5-4 lead. In the 12-4 nightcap, Chase Dawson pitched a complete game and Jonathan Campbell had two hits and two RBIs for Alabama's top-ranked 6A team.
8 Harrison, Kennesaw, Ga. 15-1 Recap: The Hoyas had their win streak halted at 15 games in a 6-2 loss to Kennesaw Mountain. The Hoyas are 4-1 in Region 5-5A play, which is considered the most competitive prep circuit in Georgia. They won the Georgia Dugout Club division title, beating Suwanee 5-1. Jamal Austin, a speedy outfielder, has signed with Alabama-Birmingham.
9 Crespi, Encino, Calif. 12-3 Recap: Winning the 2008 Anderson Bat National Baseball Classic last month vaulted the Celts into another stratosphere. In the final, RHP E.C. McSweeney scattered seven hits with five strikeouts in five innings and the offense took advantage of three errors in the first inning to take a 2-0 lead en route to a 7-2 victory over No. 10 Orange (Calif.) Lutheran. It appears the Mission League title is a two-team race between the Celts and Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks), but the teams won't meet until May 6. Next up is a Saturday doubleheader against Thousand Oaks.
10 Orange (Calif.) Lutheran 14-2 Recap: Despite losing to No. 9 Crespi (Encino), 7-2, in the final of the National Classic, the Lancers are serious contenders for a CIF Southern Section title. That's because they have right-handed ace, Gerrit Cole (UCLA recruit), who is expected to be a top 10 choice in the draft. Cole (six homers, 20 RBIs and a .367 average) is 3-1 with a 0.70 ERA and 51 strikeouts in 30 innings. Brandon Maurer (5-0) and Aaron Oates (5-1) help fuel a staff ERA of 1.66. The Lancers' main competition in the Trinity League is Mater Dei (Santa Ana).
11 Paul VI, Fairfax, Va. 12-0 Recap: The Panthers captured the Southeastern Baseball Classic championship, edging host-school Hartsville 1-0. A leadoff home run by Georgia-bound CF Peter Verdin was the difference; sophomore Tyler Costello (2-0) struck out 12 to earn the win. Chad Morgan, SS Brett Bowers (East Carolina), freshman OF Lance Veeder and P-INF Greg Wiegand were named to the all-tournament team, and Verdin bagged the MVP award. Coach Billy Emerson's club has outscored opponents 136-29, and is 4-0 in the tough Washington Catholic Athletic Conference. Saturday's tussle with regionally-ranked St. John's (Washington, D.C.) is a true barometer.
12 Poway, Calif. 14-3 Recap: The Titans won the Lions Club Tournament Mike Morrow Classic Division, beating Montgomery (San Diego) 10-0 in the final. Now that a busy March has ended, one which had Coach Bob Parry's club playing three tournaments, it's time for Palomar League action. League heavyweights Torrey Pines (San Diego), Rancho Bernardo (San Diego) and La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad) all await, but this week its two more against Mount Carmel (San Diego) for the Titans. Alex Dickerson is batting .448 with three homers and 22 RBIs, and pitchers Keegan Yuhl (4-0) and Drew Leininger (3-0) have teamed for seven wins.
13 Brookwood, Snellville, Ga. 15-1 Recap: The defending Region 8-5A champions are headed back in that direction. The Broncos went 3-0 to capture the prestigious LaGrange Invitational, defeating Nova (Davie, Fla.) 3-0 in a game shortened to five innings because of cold weather. Ronnie Freeman's single scored two runs, and P Matt Adams picked up the victory. The Broncos recorded a 6-5 quality win over Columbus, Ga., that had previously been the top-ranked squad in Class AAA.
14 Barbe, Lake Charles, La. 24-5 Recap: Louisiana's top-ranked Class 5A club is built around offense. The Buccaneers are hitting .369, averaging 12 runs per game and are led by promising sophomore 2B Garin Cecchini (44 runs, .421 batting average) who has stolen 31 of 33 bases. Tulane-bound RHP Ryan Doiron is 5-0 with a 1.05 ERA and has struck out 46 in 33 innings. DH Hommy Rosado (.393) has a team-best 40 RBIs.
15 Creighton Prep, Omaha, Neb. 12-0 Recap: The Junior Jays improved to 12-0 after beating Wahoo 12-1 in five innings. Nick Ludemann picked up his first victory allowing only two hits. Coach Pat Mooney's club is built on experienced pitching  the team's staff includes six seniors. RHP Shawn McKenna scattered five hits in an 8-2 win over Nebraska powerhouse Millard North (Omaha) earlier this season. The Metro Tournament, which includes many of Omaha's top clubs, starts Thursday.
16 Farragut, Knoxville, Tenn. 14-0 Recap: The Admirals have won two tournaments this spring, including one in Florida. The team's pitching, guided by Tennessee-bound C-RHP Matt Ramsey, has allowed only 17 runs and posted six shutouts. C Michael Williams, a Kentucky recruit, was MVP of the Sunshine Classic in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Coach Tommy Pharr's club is 5-0 in district play. Next up is this weekend's Tullahoma Tournament.
17 Corpus Christi (Texas) Moody 21-2 Recap: RHP Justin Meza helped the Trojans win their 21st game and retain their spot atop the Texas' Class 5A rankings. Meza threw a three-hitter with 16 strikeouts and slugged a two-run homer in 2-1 victory over Calhoun (Port Lavaca). Meza's homer gave Moody a 2-0 lead in the third inning. C Thomas Tovar went 2-for-3. The Trojans are 4-0 in district play.
18 Clovis (Calif.) East 17-2 Recap: The Timberwolves won the Clovis Easter Classic, beating Clovis West (Fresno) 9-2 in the final. The pitching held up, allowing only nine runs. C Chris Kuber is hitting .391 with 19 RBIs and three homers, and Matt Jensen tops the team with a .455 batting average. Cody Kendall leads the staff with a 6-1 record and 1.05 ERA. League supremacy could be decided this week with a pair of games against Clovis.
19 Sunrise Mountain, Peoria, Ariz. 19-2 Recap: The Mustangs are the top-ranked in Arizona's Class 5A Division. The offense averages nearly 10 runs. Coach Eric Gardner's team played Desert West Region rivals Centennial (Peoria) on Wednesday and will meet again on April 23 with first place on the line.
20 Malvern (Pa.) Prep 18-0 Recap: The Friars are rolling this spring after picking up 14 victories during a trip to Florida. The offense is headed by Wake Forest-bound C Mike Lubanski, Chris Gosik and Chris Conwell. The Friars opened Inter-Ac League play, defeating Episcopal Academy (Merion) 16-2; Leon Stimpson and Nick Busillo homered in that victory.
21 James Monroe, New York 17-1 Recap: Coach Mike Turo's club is still adjusting to hitting with wood bats. "It's a big difference; we're bunting more," he said. This is the first year the New York Public School Athletic League went exclusively to wood. The Eagles have hit only one home run and are led by CF Juan Arroyo (15 runs) and LF-SS Melvin Garcia (.375, 15 RBIs). Nolan Herrera is 3-0 with a 0.50 ERA.
22 Pleasure Ridge Park, Louisville, Ky. 5-0 Recap: Coach Bill Miller's team is the top-ranked in Kentucky and a favorite to win the state's single-class championship. The Panthers won their fifth straight, defeating South Oldham (Crestwood) 2-0; Arkansas-bound pitcher Zack Cox threw a no-hitter in that victory. Cox, who struck out 14, hit the second batter but settled down to retire the final 20.
23 Atascocita, Humble, Texas 22-2 Recap: After a dismal 1-2 start, the Eagles have won 21 straight games and take an 8-0 District 21-5A record in to Friday's game against Humble. The Eagles won the Gary Herrington Invitational Tournament title. The team scored 49 runs in five tournament games, including a 12-1 victory over Spring in the final. They also took the Langham Creek Tournament championship.
24 Lake Brantley, Altamonte Springs, Fla. 17-1 Recap: The Patriots won their 17th game, clubbing Astronaut (Titusville) 16-3. Nick Franklin had three hits, including a grand slam. This team's potent offense averages nearly 11 runs per contest. It appears the District 3-6A title is in hand, but the Patriots will keep an eye on Winter Springs.
25 Jenks, Okla. 18-5 Recap: Mark Ginther (6-0) -- an Oklahoma State-bound right-handed pitcher and star quarterback on Jenks' state championship football team -- pitched a two-hit, 14 strikeout gem in the team's 1-0 victory over Union (Tulsa) in the Nike Pro 9 tournament semifinals. Graham McIntyre scored the only run in the first inning after doubling and came home on a two-out error. The Trojans lost in the final to No. 1 Owasso.
Regional rankings
1. Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey, N.J. (3-0) 2. Malvern (Pa.) Prep (18-0) 3. James Monroe, Bronx, N.Y. (17-1) 4. Calvert Hall, Baltimore (8-3) 5. St. John's, Washington, D.C. (10-2) 6. Archbishop Spalding, Severn. Md. (14-2) 7. Canon-McMillan, Canonsburg, Pa. (8-0) 8. Shawnee, Medford, N.J. (1-0) 9. Patchogue (N.Y.)-Medford (4-0) 10. Centennial, Ellicott City, Md. (4-0)

1. Owasso, Okla. (18-0) 2. Creighton Prep, Omaha, Neb. (12-0) 3. Jenks, Okla. (18-5) 4. Millard West, Omaha, Neb. (14-1) 5. Howell, St. Charles, Mo. (8-0) 6. Lakota West, West Chester, Ohio (5-0) 7. Carmel, Mundelein, Ill. (4-0) 8. Millard West, Omaha, Neb. (14-1) 9. Lake Orion, Mich. (2-0) 10. Chaska, Minn. (0-0)

1. American Heritage, Plantation, Fla. (18-2) 2. Tupelo, Miss. (19-0) 3. Opelika, Ala. (28-0) 4. Harrison, Kennesaw, Ga. (15-1) 5. Paul VI, Fairfax, Va. (13-0) 6. Brookwood, Snellville, Ga. (15-1) 7. Barbe, Lake Charles, La. (24-5) 8. Farragut, Knoxville, Tenn. (14-0) 9. Corpus Christi (Texas) Moody (21-2) 10. Pleasure Ridge Park, Louisville (5-0) xx. Atascocita, Humble, Texas (22-2) xx. Lake Brantley, Altamonte Springs, Fla. (17-1)

1. Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas (22-1) 2. Valley Christian, San Jose (17-2) 3. Crespi, Encino, Calif. (12-3) 4. Orange (Calif.) Lutheran (14-2) 5. Poway, Calif. (13-3) 6. Clovis (Calif.) East (17-2) 7. Sunrise Mountain, Peoria, Ariz. (19-2) 8. Los Alamitos, Calif. (13-2) 9. Mid-Pacific Institute, Honolulu (27-2) 10. Snohomish, Wash. (9-0)

Records through April 7. About the rankings: The ESPN HIGH Elite 25 high school baseball rankings are compiled by Christopher Lawlor of ESPN.com, who consults with a national network of sports writers, professional scouts and high school coaches. Criteria considered are a team's strength of schedule with an emphasis on national games especially those played against teams in the Elite 25 rankings; the superiority of competition in its state, district or league; the program's history and tradition; and the quality of its personnel with an emphasis on First-Year Player Draft prospects. Records do not include ties.


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