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FHSI Classic Pool D Preview

Professional scouts will pay plenty of attention to the action in PoolD at the Florida League High School Invitational. A top 100 sophomore and a top 100 junior will take the field in Pool D, which is led by one of state's top independents and a state runner-up from 2021.

Flagler Palm Coast

Location: Palm Coast, Florida

Head Coach: Anthony Campanella

2021 Record: 6-16

Playoff Finish: District Quarterfinals

Key Players:

Gavin Gotera, RHP, c/o 2022 (Piedmont University commit)

Head coach Anthony Campanella, who won three regional titles while the head coach at Daytona Beach Seabreeze, brings Flagler Palm Coast to Seminole County. If the Bulldogs can find a way through a difficult Class 7A District 1 schedule, FPC would have a chance at the first playoff win in school history. Campanella states his young team will look to compete and play the game the right way.

Lake Howell

Location: Winter Park, Florida

Head Coach: Eric Martinez

2021 Record: 13-12

Playoff Finish: District Semifinalists

Key Players:

Tyler Toro, RHP, c/o 2022 (Lake Sumter State commit)

Chance Fitzgerald, RHP, c/o 2023 (Florida State commit)

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

All eyes for Lake Howell will be on junior flamethrower Chance Fitzgerald. A Florida State commit, Fitzgerald is ranked as one of the top 100 prospects in the junior class by Perfect Game, as well as a top 20 prospect in Florida. Fitzgerald is not the only young standout for the Silver Hawks, as sophomore infielder Brayden Toro will help lead the lineup. Head coach Eric Martinez, the brother of World Series-winning manager Dave Martinez, has coached previously at West Port and St. John Lutheran in Ocala, taking St. John to the regional playoffs three times.

Montverde Academy

Location: Montverde, Florida

Head Coach: Victor Valencia

2021 Record: 18-7

Playoff Finish: N/A (Indepedent)

Key Players:

Salvador Alvarez, C, c/o 2022 (Florida commit)

Jorge Bello, IF, c/o 2022 (Florida International commit)

Japhet Rosado, MIF, c/o 2022 (Stetson commit)

Yulian Batista, RHP, c/o 2022 (Stetson commit)

Victor Martinez, IF, c/o 2023 (Florida International commit)

AJ Goytia, C, c/o 2023 (Miami commit)

Eric Correa, OF, c/o 2023 (Rice commit)

Anthony Cole, OF, c/o 2023 (Florida Gulf Coast commit)

The Montverde Academy Eagles are no stranger to the Florida League High School Invitational, playing in the event for the ninth time. Montverde, who brought Francisco Lindor in their first appearance in 2011 and won the title in 2018. bring one of the most talented teams in the state to the FHSI, boasting eight Division I commits among their ranks. Catcher Salvador Alvarez is the top recruit for Montverde, who plays as an FHSAA independent.

Orangewood Christian

Location: Maitland, Florida

Head Coach: Scott Hilinski

2021 Record: 15-12

Playoff Finish: District Champions, Regional Semifinalists

Key Players:

Joe Belflower, RHP, c/o 2022 (Illinois Tech commit)

Orangewood Christian has consistently been a regional playoff contender since the early 2000s, playing at least one game in regionals in 19 consecutive seasons (not including the COVID season of 2020). Orangewood Christian won regional titles in 2010, 2011, and 2014, the last of which came under current head coach Scott Hilinski. Hilinski stated the Rams "enters this season with a talented mix of players and are expected to be very competitive in and out of their 2A classification."

Spruce Creek

Location: Port Orange, Florida

Head Coach: Matt Cleveland

2021 Record: 23-9

Playoff Finish: Regional Champions, State Runner-Up

Key Players:

Luke Bentley, IF, c/o 2022 (Lake Sumter State commit)

Henry Dickmann, C, c/o 2022 (Penn State Greater Allegheny commit)

Austin Asbill, LHP, c/o 2022 (Tallahassee CC commit)

Knute Rockey, RHP, c/o 2022 (Embry-Riddle commit)

It's not the same Spruce Creek team that came one game away from winning the state title in 2021, head coach Matt Cleveland readily admits. But Spruce Creek has reloaded, with a freshman class that Cleveland believes may be the best of his coaching career. The Hawks, winners of two state championships in the past decade, bring a deep pitching staff to the FHSI, albeit with a lineup that has "a lot of inexperienced young guys and unproven upperclassmen"

Tampa Prep

Location: Tampa, Florida

Head Coach: AJ Hendrix

2021 Record: 8-11

Playoff Finish: Regional Quarterfinalists

Key Players:

Noah Sheffield, SS, c/o 2024 (Florida State commit)

AJ Hendrix has been at the helm of the Terrapins for the better part of two decades, including a regional championship in 2012. Although Tampa Prep is led by six returning seniors, much of the attention will be paid to sophomore shortstop Noah Sheffield, the son of nine-time MLB All-Star Gary Sheffield and one of the top 40 sophomores in the nation and the number three player in the state. Hendrix stated the Terrapins will have a balanced offense and will "look to the whole team to deliver timely hits with runners in scoring position."


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