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Classic Pool A Preview



Pool A of the FHSI is geared to a north vs. south showdown, but don't discount two other out-of-area teams as play gets underway on Monday. The current sixth-ranked team in Florida, Hagerty, and a top-ten team in Illinois Class 3A, Normal University, are the headliners, but a resurgent Treasure Coast team and a building Clearwater squad lurk.


Clearwater

Nickname: Tornadoes

Location: Clearwater, Florida

Head Coach: Jordan Banks

2022 Record: 6-19

Playoff Finish: District Quarterfinals

Key Players:

Ryan Kimmet, C, c/o 2023

Jacob Thomas, LHP, c/o 2023

CJ Moore, OF, c/o 2024

Ty Woodring, 3B, c/o 2025


Head coach Jordan Banks is in his sixth year at Clearwater, as the Tornadoes look to make a dent in the highly competitive Pinellas County baseball scene. Clearwater has started strong in 2023, earning wins over St. Petersburg High, Keswick Christian, and St. Petersburg Lakewood in the first two weeks of the season. The Tornadoes are in search of their first state playoff berth since the 2012 season, while Clearwater's last regional championship came in 2001.


Hagerty

Nickname: Huskies

Location: Oviedo, Florida

Head Coach: Mike Sindone

2022 Record: 17-12

Playoff Finish: Regional Champions, State Semifinals

Key Players:

Garrett Baumann, RHP, c/o 2023 (UCF commit)

Luis Rivero, UTIL, c/o 2023 (Saint Leo commit)

Conner Spelman, C, c/o 2023 (Jacksonville commit)

Carter Kamm, RHP, c/o 2023 (Coker commit)

Austin Jacobs, MIF, c/o 2024 (Florida State commit)

Brayden Toro, INF/RHP, c/o 2024 (South Florida commit)

Eli Fleming, 1B/RHP, c/o 2024 (Pittsburgh commit)


Hagerty comes into the 2023 season as perhaps the best threat to dethrone two-time defending champions Stoneman Douglas in Florida's Class 7A. The Huskies, who took the national champions to the limit in the state semifinals last season, return five Division I commits, as well as uncommitted Talan Bell, the top-ranked lefthanded pitcher in his class in Florida, and top 20 junior Austin Jacobs. Head coach Mike Sindone stated his team is "built for pitching & defense," while also finding "creative ways to get runs across"


Treasure Coast

Nickname: Titans

Location: Port St. Lucie, Florida

Head Coach: David Morales

2022 Record: 4-19

Playoff Finish: District Quarterfinals

Key Players:

Kyle Peterson, RHP, c/o 2023 (Felician University commit)


In his fourth season at the helm, Treasure Coast head coach David Morales is looking to guide the Titans back to the state playoffs. Treasure Coast lost a core group of seniors from the 2021 roster, leading to what Morales called a "transitional season" in 2022, with eight sophomores and a junior in the everyday lineup. Now, led by Division II commit Kyle Peterson, the Titans come into 2023 with a full year of experience and the expectation to compete in their Class 7A district.


University (Ill.)

Nickname: Pioneers

Location: Normal, Illinois

Head Coach: Steve Paxson

2022 Record: 30-7

Playoff Finish: Regional Finals

Key Players:

Matt Sauser, RHP/OF, c/o 2023 (Florida State commit)

Eli Kieser, RHP/3B, c/o 2023 (Ball State commit)

Grant Marshall, LHP/1B, c/o 2023 (Rock Valley College commit)

Charlie Vercruysse, RHP/SS, c/o 2024 (Notre Dame commit)


One of the top 100 teams in the state of Illinois makes their second appearance in the FHSI, remaining the only team from the Land of Lincoln to journey to Seminole County for the event. University's pitching staff will be as deep as any in the tournament, with three of their arms committed to Division I schools. Head coach Steve Paxson is in line to win his 500th game this season, and the Pioneers remain a major threat to win the state title in Illinois' Class 3A after a conference title in 2022 and a third-place finish in the state in 2021.

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