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Crusaders Tops in the Buckeye State

January 27, 2014
Cincinnati Moeller High School

Best 2014 high school baseball team in each state

From Thompson, Ala., to Sun Prairie, Wis., here are the top high school baseball teams in each state.

Drew Tate and Milton (Ga.) are the Peach State's top team and could make a run at a national title.
Photo by Fabian Radulescu
Drew Tate and Milton (Ga.) are the Peach State's top team and could make a run at a national title.
MaxPreps begins its countdown of the Top 100 high school baseball teams in the country starting on Feb. 10, but here's a sneak peek at the top team in each state heading into the 2014 season.

Top 2014 high school baseball team in each state

Alabama – Thompson (Alabaster)
After being ranked No. 1 in the state for parts of the season, Thompson suffered a surprising first-round playoff upset at the hands of Spain Park. However the Warriors return 28 pitching wins from a team that went 38-11, including Jake Walters, who was 10-0 with 96 strikeouts and a 0.78 ERA. Coach Pat Hamrick also returns five position players, including the entire outfield.

Alaska – South (Anchorage)
South loses league MVP Max Karnos to graduation, but it has won the large school state title two of the past three seasons, including a 15-1 win over Service in last year's title game.

Arizona – Mountain Pointe (Phoenix)
The Pride advanced to the semifinals in 2013 with a 23-9 record and they could go all the way in 2014. Coach Brandon Buck returns eight players who have college offers and a total of 12 who could play at the next level. Leading the way is Cole Tucker, a member of Team USA 18U that won the gold medal over the summer.

Arkansas – Fayetteville
The Purple Dogs went 27-2 last year and return 90 percent of the innings from that team, including state tournament MVP Kyle Pate (7-0, 85 K, 52 IP) and No. 1 pitcher Andy Pagnozzi (9-0, 1.117 ERA, 76 K, 59 IP). Fayetteville also has one of the team's best defensive shortstops in coach Vance Arnold's tenure in Arkansas commit Drew Tyler (Jr.). The Purple Dogs will play a tough schedule this year that includes participation in the Coach Bob Invitational in Arizona and the USA Classic in Memphis.

California – Harvard-Westlake (Studio City)
Brody Westmoreland, ThunderRidge
Photo by Ray Chen
Brody Westmoreland, ThunderRidge
The Wolverines finished the season ranked No. 1in the MaxPreps computer rankings after defeating Marina (Huntington Beach) 1-0 in the Southern Section Division I championship game. Coach Matt Lacour's team should be one of the teams to beat again this year thanks to the return of MaxPreps National Player of the Year Jack Flaherty (13-0, 0.63 ERA).

Colorado – ThunderRidge (Highlands Ranch)
The Grizzlies went 21-5 last year and defeated Rocky Mountain for the Class 5A state championship. Coach Joe White returns six starters from last year's team, including three players with draft potential – all-state shortstop Brody Westmoreland, and pitchers Tyler Loptien and AJ Jones.

Connecticut – New Canaan
New Canaan went 63 years between state championships in baseball. The next state title might not take so long. Coach Mitch Hoffman has had New Canaan improving every year, culminating in last year's state title.

Delaware – St. Mark's (Wilmington)
Winners of the state championship the past two seasons, St. Mark's had an improbable run at the title last year when it went winless in league play only to get hot at the end of the year and capture the state crown.

Florida – Archbishop McCarthy (Fort Lauderdale)
The Mavericks have won four consecutive state titles and are the favorite to win a fifth after returning eight starters from a 27-5 team that captured the Class 6A championship. The pitching staff looks formidable with potential draftees Brian Gonzalez and Andres Nunez and University of Tennessee commit Aaron Soto all taking the mound this year for the Mavericks.

Georgia – Milton
Coach Joey Ray returns nine seniors from a team that captured the Georgia Class 6A state championship last year. Leading the way are Dylan Cease and Alex Schnell, who combined for 16 wins last season. Cease was 9-0 with a 0.81 ERA while Schnell was 7-0 with a 0.51 ERA. The entire infield also returns with Cease playing shortstop when he isn't pitching. Milton also plays in the National High School Invitational and a strong showing there could propel them toward the top of the national rankings.

Hawaii – Waiakea (Hilo)
The Warriors return 19 players from a team that won the Big Island Division I title. Coach Kevin Yee also has one of the nation's top pitchers in lefty Kodi Medeiros.

Idaho – Coeur d'Alene
The Vikings return five all-league players from a team that went 22-6 and reached the Class 5A state championship game. Leading the way is one of the state's top recruits, shortstop Nick Nyquist.

Illinois – Mount Carmel (Chicago)
The defending Class 4A champions went 34-8 last year and return five positional players and three pitchers from that squad. Five of those players have committed to play college ball, including senior lefthanded pitcher Richard Forndon (Northwestern) and senior outfielder David Dobrinich (Western Illinois).

Indiana – Indianapolis Cathedral
The Fighting Irish fell one run short of a state championship and a perfect record, finishing at 29-1 after losing to Elkhart 1-0 in the Class 4A championship game. Cathedral returns seven players from that team, including one of the nation's top juniors in pitcher Ashe Brenton-Russell.

Kansas – Blue Valley West (Stilwell)
Every starter, except for one lefthanded pitcher, return for 41-year head coach Bill McDonald, who feels that this group of players are "some of the best people I have ever the opportunity to coach." The Jaguars were 26-3 last year and won the Class 6A state championship. Leading the way are Nebraska bound pitcher Zach Engelken (69 K, 5-0, 1.04 ERA) and Tanner Craig, a four-year starter at catcher who is headed to Kansas.

Kentucky – Henderson County (Henderson)
The Colonels (33-9-1) reached the state finals in 2012 and the semifinals in 2013. Coach Nathan Isenberg returns 19 players from last year's squad.

Louisiana – Barbe (Lake Charles)
Coach Glenn Cecchini expects to have one of his best teams ever, which is something considering he's one a national championship during his tenure at Barbe. Last year's squad posted a 36-4 record, but came up short in the playoffs against West Monroe. Seven players who earned all-district honors last year return, including all-state outfielders Beau Jordan.

Maine – Waterville
Jack Alkire, DeMatha
Photo by Israel Carunungan
Jack Alkire, DeMatha
The Panthers lose just two players from a team that went 17-4 and reached the Class A state championship game. Waterville also returns all 17 pitching wins, including eight from Brian Bellows.

Maryland – DeMatha (Hyattsville)
Look for DeMatha to be the team to beat in Maryland this year and also make a run for a spot in the national rankings. Coach Sean O'Connor returns six starters in the field and his No. 1 and 2 pitcher from last year in junior Jack Alkire and all-state pitcher Andy Rozylowicz. Other returning all-state payers include outfielder Michael Dunn and second baseman Antonio Rosanova.

Massachusetts – Bridgewater-Raynham (Bridgewater)
The Trojans have 11 players returning from last year's state championship team, including four starters and leading pitcher Andrew Noviello (5-1, 0.61 ERA).

Michigan – Brother Rice (Bloomfield Hills)
The Warriors (32-9-1) return 19 players from a team that reached the Division I state championship game last year. Brother Rice also has the top prospect in the state in pitcher Matt Ruppenthal, who threw three shutouts during the postseason.

Minnesota - Mounds View (Arden Hills)
The Mustangs (20-6) captured the Class AAA state championship behind the play of Sam Hentges, who had a single, double and a triple in the championship game. Regarded as the top recruit in the state, Hentges returns to lead Mounds View to a possible repeat state title.

Mississippi – Harrison Central (Gulfport)
A strong pitching staff anchored by three seniors that won playoff games during Harrison Central's state championship run could make the Red Rebels the team to beat in 2014. Harrison Central also has one of the state's top players in first baseman Bobby Bradley, the Class 6A state player of the year and an LSU commit.

Missouri – Westminster Christian (St. Louis)
Seven of eight starters return in the field, including potential MLB draft pick Shane Benes (.417, 11 HR) at shortstop. Finding starting pitching will be the key as five starters graduated from a team that went 41-4 and won the Class 4 state championship.

Nebraska – Omaha Westside
Omaha Westside won the state championship last year with underclassmen leading the way. Junior pitcher Mike Waldron and senior outfielder Jake Meyers earned all-state honors last year while senior outfielder Devin Stueck made the second team.

Nevada – Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
For the first time in seven years, Bishop Gorman (34-10-1) did not win a state title in 2013, but things could get back to normal for the Gaels in 2014. Coach Nick Day feels he has a special team, led by standout defensive catcher Michael Blasko, talented shortstop Cadyn Grenier (Oregon State commit) and precocious junior pitcher Jack Little.

New Hampshire – Portsmouth
After setting the national win streak twice between 2011 and 2012, Portsmouth was unable to win a state title at the end of the 2012 season. However Portsmouth rebounded in 2013 to win its fifth state title in six seasons with a club that had 10 players without varsity experience. That team is a year older and could make another run at a state title.

New Jersey – Gloucester Catholic (Gloucester City)
Just the second team in state history to win four straight state championships, Gloucester Catholic is a good bet to become the first team to win five in a row. Twelve members of the team played on the American Legion national championship team and last year's high school team loses just two players from the starting lineup.

New Mexico – Rio Rancho
Coach Ron Murphy won last year's Class 5A state with mostly underclassmen. This year he returns eight starters and 12 lettermen. The Rams are expected to be strong on defense and four deep on the mound.

New York – Baldwinsville
Dominick Cammarata, Roberson
Photo by Alyson Boyer Rode
Dominick Cammarata, Roberson
Baldwinsville captured the Class AA state championship last year and return the state's top prospect in pitcher Scott Blewett, the Central New York Pitcher of the Year.

North Carolina – Roberson (Asheville)
Roberson's tough schedule and talented group of returning starters make it a candidate for a possible national championship. The lineup includes Braxton Davidson, a potential high MLB draft pick, and catcher Dominick Cammarata, who also has draft potential. The schedule includes hosting the National High School Invitational.

North Dakota – Shanley (Fargo)
Shanley could make it back-to-back state championships in 2014 as it loses just two seniors from last year's Class A state championship team.

Ohio – Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati)
Coach Tim Held returns the bulk of a pitching staff that went 32-2 last year and won the Division I state championship. Shortstop Riley Mahan and pitcher Zachariah Logue both have draft potential and have already committed to Kentucky. Four other starters have also committed to Division I colleges.

Oklahoma – Owasso
The Rams (36-0) enter the season with one of the longest win streaks in the nation at 36 in a row. Coach Larry Turner won his 10th state title last year and is aiming at 1,000 career wins (he's 31 wins away). The Rams return their top two pitchers in Jeb Bargfeldt and Braden Webb, along with one of the team's top hitters in Mason O'Brien.

Oregon – Jesuit (Portland)
Jesuit had a bit of a slump last season, going 19-12 after posting a 23-6 record in 2012. Coach Eric Gunderson returns two of the top players in the state in pitcher Christian Martinek and shortstop Evan Haberle.

Pennsylvania – Malvern Prep (Malvern)
The Friars return 19 pitching wins from a team that went 27-9 and won the Inter-Academic League championship. Chris Butera was 8-1 as a sophomore last year while Gardner Nutter was 7-0.

Rhode Island – North Kingstown
Bishop Hendricken is usually the team to beat in Rhode Island, but North Kingstown reached the state finals and returns four starters along with potentially the state's most dominant pitcher in Dominic Grillo (9-0).

South Carolina – Flora (Columbia)
The Falcons have won back-to-back state championships, going 24-7 in 2012 and 26-6 last year. Flora also has one of the state's top prospects in shortstop Madison Stokes.

South Dakota – Roosevelt (Sioux Falls)
The Rough Riders have won 53 games over the past three seasons, including 18 last year in winning the Class A state championship. Roosevelt returns possibly the state's top player in all-state pitcher Josh Baumgart.

Tennessee – Christian Brothers (Memphis)
Corbin Martin, Cypress Ranch
Photo by Jim Redman
Corbin Martin, Cypress Ranch
The defending Class II AA state champions (37-8-1) return five starters who are committed to play at the next level. Topping the list are four-year starters John Wesley Ray, a pitcher headed to Ole Miss, and Corey Herndon, a pitcher/third baseman who will play at Central Arkansas.

Texas – Cypress Ranch (Houston)
Two years after winning the Class 5A state championship, Cypress Ranch is at it again with a talented group that includes eight players who earned some type of all-district honors in 2013, including district MVP Corbin Martin.

Utah – Jordan (Sandy)
Not only does Jordan return all-state catcher Colton Shaver (.542, 9 HR), but honorable mention all-state picks Morgan Gomez and Mason Krueger are back from a team that went 15-11 last year.

Vermont – Essex (Essex Junction)
The Hornets reached the state championship game, falling by one run to Champlain Valley Union. Essex returns one of the top players in the state in junior Joey Robertson.

Virginia – Great Bridge (Chesapeake)
Great Bridge lost in the state finals last season and lose one of the nation's top pitchers in Connor Jones (Padres draft pick), but coach Sean Townsend feels his team will be very deep in 2014. Great Bridge has a player with varsity experience returning at every position, including all-state infielder Charlie Cody, who is committed to play at Virginia.

Washington – Puyallup
After an early end to the 2013 season, Puyallup is hungry for a state title in 2014 and coach Marc Weise returns nine players who saw considerable action on last year's squad. Puyallup's top player is a junior, Brendan Illies, will see time on the mound when he isn't catching. He has draft potential in 2015.

West Virginia – Cabell Midland (Ona)
The Knights lose just four players from a team that reached the Class 3A state championship game. Among the returning players is Seth Kinker, who could be the state's top recruit this year.

Wisconsin – Sun Prairie
Defending state champions with a 26-2 record in 2013, the Cardinals return six starters from last year's team including the entire outfield. Sun Prairie also returns pitcher Sam Lund, a second team all-state selection who posted a 10-0 record last year.

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