High School Baseball Poll - Collegiate Baseball Newspaper
For Immediate Release: Wednesday (March 29, 2000)
RANCHO BERNARDO NO. 1 IN EASTON SPORTS COLLEGIATE BASEBALL NEWSPAPER (www.baseballnews.com) POLL
TUCSON, Ariz. With good power, balance and outstanding pitching, Rancho Bernardo of San Diego, Calif. topped the first Easton Sports Original National High School poll for the 2000 season. The San Diego team ran up a quick 8-0 record, led by 3-0 pitching marks from Matt Wheatland and sophomore Cole Hamels. But Coach Sam Blalock knows full well that his team could dissipate in a hurry.
"We will be facing about three rival pitchers down the road who throw in the 90s," said Blalock, pointing out the torrid competition that all major teams face in talent-rich California. Rancho Bernardo is fielding a team with four possible early-round draft picks, led by super catcher Scott Heard, one of the nations top power hitters.
Following RBHS in the Easton poll is Wellington of West Palm Beach, Fla., which ran off a 13-0 mark to start the season. No. 3 is Bellaire, Tex., 15-1, led by one of the coaching legends in the game, Rocky Manuel. No. 4 is Lowndes of Valdosta, Ga., 13-0, followed by Westminster Academy of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., which ran up a quick 11-0 record before falling to 13-3. The Westminster team has remarkable pitching but its hitting has been a little bit suspect in early games. Sixth was Key West, Fla. at 16-1. Rounding out the top 10 in the first poll of the season: 7. Gloucester Catholic, N.J., set to begin play; 8. Sarasota, Fla., 9-1; 9. Kamiakin of Kennewick, Wash., 0-0 and 10. Green Valley of Henderson, Nev., 11-1.
Poll Notes Several top-rated teams are just beginning their seasons. But among the "warm weather clubs, six from California were ranked and six from Florida in the first rankings of the nations elite. One of the top prospects playing for Bellaire, Tex. is Enrique Cruz, a multi-talented "all-tools" player who can hit and field with the best. He plays shortstop. Last season Bellaire set several all-time records including most shutouts, no-hitters, SB, HR, highest BA. The team has six starters returning, including All-American Cruz.
Westminster Academy of Fort Lauderdale, coached by Rich Hofman, has two of the nations fine hurlers this season in transfer Dane Artman and Scot Drucker. No. 12 Brito of Miami, Fla. is "my most talented team ever," Coach Ralph Suarez reports. His team went 18-3 in early going. El Capitan High of Lakeside in the San Diego area of California matches No. 1 ranked Rancho Bernardo in the number of Div. I prospects on its team four. The team stood a 3-1 in the early season.
(Top 30 Agate Follows)