After a last minute cancellation of our 2020 tournament due to the Coronavirus outbreak, we are very excited to be back for our 14th year! We are welcoming over 20 different high school teams to compete in this spring’s events. The tournament consists of two weeks this year with “The Classic” being held from March 15-19, and “The Showcase” from March 22-26.
Historic Sanford Memorial Stadium is the primary location of the event. In the 1950s, the stadium was the spring training facility for the New York Giants and where past legends such as Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays showed off their skills. Francisco Lindor, Javier Baez, Carson Fulmer, Brendan Rodgers, and Greg Bird, some of the best players in professional baseball, have all at one time played in the FHSI.
Dunedin High School
After a strong year in 2019 making it all the way to the State Championship and falling short, the Falcons were ready for revenge in 2020. Now a year later, and a missed season, that fire is still fueled. Coach Ron Sexton in his 8th season with 122 career wins is looking to his four senior captains to lead the way, starting with University of Southern Florida commit Marcus Brodil taking charge at center field and at the plate, Noah Burkolt and Dylan Oester covering the middle infield at shortstop and second base respectively, and Connor Russell moving to catcher to man the plate. Burkolt will also lead the pitching staff as the ace of the team. With Brodil and Burkolt leading the offense and a talented group of underclassmen following them, the Falcons are sure to come out strong in the tournament.
This will be the Seminole’s and Coach John Hollenbeck’s 4th appearance in the FHSI. They are led on defense by senior center fielder, Argene Lynn, who was a 2018 FHSI All-Tournament Team Selection, and on offense by University of Central Florida commit Drew Faurot, Ethan Miller, Boone Hosey, and Lynn. Seniors Austin Fuller, Noah Gelabert, Jarrett Johnson and sophomore Colby Marini will be relied upon on the mound. With 28 years of coaching experience, and an overall record of 487-270, Coach Hollenbeck will be sure to use this to his advantage and ensure his players are prepared for every game and situation.
Eustis has 18 players on their roster with an astounding 17 upperclassman made of ten seniors and seven juniors. The amount of experience on this team is a no brainer but there is a reason the game is played. The Panthers will be led by three seniors on the mound: Seminole State commit Ty Van Dyke, Jacksonville University Commit Scout Updike, and Mars Hill University commit Cody Bruns. The leaders at the plate will be Thomas University commit Brandon Triplett, and juniors Torin Glover Jr., Neo Cook, and Brock Cartin. Hoping to pick up where the 2020 season was cut short, Coach Matt Burgess and his team is expecting to compete for not only a district championship but much more.
Christian Academy of Knoxville
This will be the fourth appearance in the FHSI for the Christian Academy of Knoxville. Under head coach Tommy Pharr, the Warriors are looking to compete for their fifth state title in seven years, and fourth straight having won in 2017, 2018, and 2019. The team is led by seven seniors who have committed to play at the next level including Andrew Kribbs at the University of Tennessee and JD Price at Western Carolina University. The Warriors are excited to get back out on the field again after having gone 35-9 in 2019 and missing the 2020 season. According to Coach Pharr, his team has a solid defense with a lot of depth on the mound.
Hagerty High School
Hagerty is playing in the FHSI for the third year. Though they may have a younger team, it is full of athletes who know how to compete and stay in ballgames. 2022 University of South Florida commit Stewart Puckett leads the offense with RHP Garrett Baumann, a 2023 University of Central Florida commit, taking charge on the bump. A pair of junior Bethune Cookman University commits, Cameron King and Schyler Arroyo, are both high level in the field and at the plate, as well as all around athletes. There are also three committed seniors, Trent Caples to Embry Riddle University, Bryce Fitzgerald to Flagler University, and Caleb Rodriguez to Florida Gulf Coast University as well as a 2024 Florida State University commit in Talan Bell. Covid altered what would have been the Huskies development year for these younger players and so they may struggle in the regular season as they get settled in. Coach Mike Sindone mentioned that these players have a competitiveness and athleticism in them though that he can see leading them in the right direction and being a “dark horse” team once it comes to districts.
Oviedo High School
The Oviedo Lions are making their debut in the FHSI. Troy University commit Eric Day and Newberry College commit Kade Faircloth lead the team as seniors bringing with them a wealth of experience and talent. Right behind them is a very talented junior class as well as a couple skilled underclassmen to finish off the roster. Coach Andy Lyon said the team will be counting on their staples which include pitching, solid defense, and their talented offense to bring them success in the tournament and the 2021 season.
Timber Creek High School
For three years straight the wolves have made it to the final four, coming up short the the past two in 2018 and 2019. They are looking to return for their fifth appearance in six years with team captains Denton Coqyut (Trevecca Nazarene University commit) and Fabian Amaro guiding the way. Coach Tim Beaman prided his team’s speed, pitching and defense as strengths. Florida State University commit Nicholas Perez leads the infield at shortstop while Coach Beaman hopes to continue adding depth to the pitching staff and improving the play in the outfield. With 123 wins in seven seasons he has coached, Tim Beaman has proved he knows how to bring success to his teams and looks to do it again this season.
For their third appearance in the FHSI, IMG Academy brings many highly talented players who serve as IMGA’s 2nd National Team. This includes Evan Applewick (Indiana University), Jack Thompson (Carson-Newman), Jackson Werth (Belmont), Sammy Contacos (Florida State College at Jacksonville), and Charlie Devito (Lynn University) charging up the offense, while Gunther Braendel (University of Miami), Jack Thunberg (University of New Orleans), Luke Ross (University of Minnesota), Drew Gray (Arkansas), Davion Hickson (Florida State), and Blayden Plain (Florida) take over on the mound. Having gone 16-9 in the 2019 season, the Ascenders strive to improve that record this season and make a statement in this year's tournament.
This will be Flagler Palm Coast High School’s seventh showing at the FHSI. Top returning players for the Bulldogs include seniors Christian Diaz, Brady Araujo, Tate Underberg, and Noah Trawick who was Flagler’s leading hitter the last two seasons. Coach Anthony Campanella, who is in his 26th year of head coaching, says his team is young but they are gritty. His players won’t give any of their opponents an easy game.
Lake Howell comes to the FHSI with a new head coach in Eric Martinez. He looks forward to seeing his team grow and thrive this season. Seniors Dalton Robinson, who is committed to Eastern Florida State, and outfielder Pete Howell have great expectations of success from their teammates. Senior Evander Jimenez also helps steer the outfield with senior CJ Mills seeing both the outfield and infield. Brothers Tyler Toro (Junior) and Brayden Toro (Freshman) take charge on the mound with Brayden Toro also seeing time at third base.
West Orange comes to the FHSI with a deep lineup and solid pitching. Three senior commits, Rick Reeth to Notre Dame, Tracy Mitchem to Tulane, and TJ Nikhazy to Wheeling University have strong bats on the team while senior Kai Knudholt, a Lake Sumter College commit, brings his talents to the pitching staff. The Warriors also have junior Titan Kamaka, committed to Florida State University, who brings a strong defensive game and junior Will Ross, committed to Florida, who works his magic on the mound.
This will be the fifth appearance at the FHSI for Winter Springs High School. Led by Range Community College in Texas commit Irvin Murr, and senior Nathan Tinder, the team has a good mix of old and young players. The Bears have a good depth in the pitching staff including 2023 UCF commit Joey Wimpelberg and Raymond Velez, a senior commit to Hillsborough State College. They also expect senior Nathan Tinder, junior Colby Rice, junior Noah Miller, and junior Nick Davidson to help lead the way on the mound. Troy University commit Matthew George and sophomore Jacob McKenzie anchor the offense. Coach Mike Bradley says that his team has a productive lineup top to bottom and defensively can field with the best of them. The Bear’s strength is playing basic baseball well.
Orangewood Christian High School
Orangewood were district champs in 2019 and looks to have another competitive team this season. The Rams are well balanced with upper and lower classmen. The offense will be led by seniors Lewai Mitchell, Nick Weber, and Cortland Clark. On the bump, they will be led by a trio of sophomore southpaws in Brayden Calapa, Austin Waring, and Ethan Humme. Coach Scott Hilinksi likes to play aggressive baseball to put his team in the best position to compete against other classifications of baseball in Central Florida.
This will be the Cougars sixth time playing in the FHSI. Barron Collier is spearheaded by eight committed seniors which includes Virginia Commonwealth commit Marcus O’Malley, a pair of Florida Gulf Coast commits Jacob Marlowe (P/1B) and Van Freischmidt (OF), High Point commit Easton LaPlaca (C/P/3B), Troy commit Noah White (C/1B/P), Mars Hill commit Reid Sondermeyer (P/3B), and a couple Florida Southern commits in John (P) and Michael Balboni (P/OF). Carter White (2B) and Mason Ceccarelli (OF) are a 2023 and 2024 Central Florida commit respectively. The Cougars have been district champs for four years straight beginning in 2016 and have been regional champs two of the past four seasons.
Seminole High School
Seminole High School comes in this season only returning one player with a full year of varsity experience. Led by four year varsity letterman and Stetson University commit TJ Melani, the Noles look to reclaim that magic that they experienced in 2019 as the Class 9A State Champions. Seniors Pete Glazar, Patrick Fink, Steven Vetter, Josue Matos (Glenville State), Quentin Graves (Mars Hill), Jadan Boyce, and Collin James will help lead the Seminoles this spring in a season that will surely be filled with many unknowns due to Covid related issues. Perseverance through every unknown and obstacle will be the staple for this team to succeed.
The Titans are young and inexperienced but they have the talent to take them far. While learning to compete at a high level, hard work and resilience will be keys for this team to continue to stay in close games and cause a few upsets while at it. Led by senior Mason Wilson behind the plate, a 2021 commit to Rollins College and Nico Banez in the outfield, a 2022 commit to Dartmouth, they look to get back to the regionals and finish what they couldn’t in 2019. Look for Tanner Cullen, Ben Murrell, and Maalik Duffy to show up at the plate with Gaven Book and Robert Hurlock tending to the mound.
The Stallions made it all the way to the state championship in 2019 only to come up just short. The 2021 team, though inexperienced, strive to make that same run. With 23 years in his career, Coach Carm Mazza has the experience and knowledge to motivate and make sure his players are prepared for any type of gameplay they may see. The team is led by three college commits, North Carolina commit Dylan King behind the plate and first base, Florida commit Carsten Finnvold on the pitching mound, and Georgia Tech commit Nick Romano in the middle infield at shortstop.