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IMG Academy baseball program Chosen for National Tournament

IMG Academy baseball program Chosen for National Tournament

Varsity team will travel to California to play some of the nation's top teams in the Diamond Sports National Classic starting April 5

BRADENTON, Fla. (March 31, 2010) - The IMG Academy baseball program next week will join 15 other teams from across the country in California at the nation's elite annual baseball tournament.

The 21st annual Diamond Sports National Classic - widely regarded as the most prestigious prep baseball tournament - has an alumni list that includes Alex Rodriguez, Shawn Green, Pat Burrell, J.P. Howell, Brett Tomko, Hank Blalock and more than 300 other MLB draftees since its inception.

The IMG Academy baseball program, which finished 2009 ranked in the top 10 of several national polls after posting a 31-1 record, will face El Dorado (CA) on Monday, April 5, then advance to bracket-style play, with four guaranteed games. The semifinals and finals will take place at Cal State Fullerton. The IMG Academy baseball program will live blog each game at blog.imgacademies.com/category/baseball/.

The IMG Academy baseball program will be represented by 11 seniors (Richard Baerga, Blake Perry, Chad Clifton, Mike McCormack, Patrick Albrittain, Carlos Somoza, Gavin Patton, Dillon Moyer, Michael Bradshaw, Jimmy O'Neill, Andrew Ladisa) and 9 juniors (Matt Martin, Barrett Snyder, Dan Kennon, Joe Daru, Tanner Pollack, Brandon Bonilla, Jake Busiek, Nick Sebastian, Jeremy Green).

Other teams participating include:

Bishop Amat HS, CA

Under the guidance of head coach Andy Nieto, Bishop Amat has won more than 25 games each of the past 3 years including 2 CIF championships. This season the Lancers return 6 all-league players. Leading the way will be seniors Jerry McClanahan (UC Irvine, .448, 7 Hr's, 38 RBI's) and USD bound pitcher Paul Paez (10-3, 2.17). USC commit Rio Ruiz (.358, 31 RBI's) and Jordan McCraney (.337, 35 RBI's) will combine with San Diego St. bound Adrian Franco (.440, 27 runs) to provide a potent offensive attack for the Lancers.

Cottonwood, UT

The four-time Utah state champions hope to continue their run of dominance in 2010. Ranked #2 in Utah and #21 in Collegiate Baseball, Cottonwood will be led by 6 returning starters in addition to 2 of their top 4 pitchers. Four-year starter Dalton Gust along with BYU signees Desmond Poulson and Derrick Pitts should provide the nucleus for another title run this year.

Crespi, CA

The Crespi Celts begin the 2010 campaign as the top ranked team in CIF Division II as well as the #2 team in southern California. Leading the way for Crespi will be 6'5” Oregon-bound pitcher, Ryon Healy, last year's CIF Most Valuable Player (11-0, 1.81/3 HR's, 25 RBI's), UC Irvine signee, Austin Walker, and UCLA signee, Kevin Williams (12 2B's, 2 Hr's, 28 RBI's). Josh Mason (15 2B's, 4 HR's, 30 RBI's) and all-league selection, Mike Hubbard, round out a very experienced team.

Edison HS, California

The Chargers finished the 2009 season ranked #2 in the state by Cal Hi sports, #9 in the nation by Max Preps and #18 by USA Today on their way to a final record of 23-6. The 2010 squad has 11 players returning including 6 starters, led by junior LHP, Henry Owens (9-1, 0.98), senior shortstop, Kyle Jones (.370, 16 RBI's) and junior outfielder, Eric Snyder (UCLA, .354, 3 HR, 17 RBI's). Edison recently moved to the #1 spot in Baseball America and will be making their first appearance in the National Classic.

El Dorado HS, California

Co-host El Dorado hopes to build upon a 2009 season that saw them finish 16-11 where they reached the CIF playoffs, only to suffer a loss in the opening round. The Hawks will be led by returning all-league starters, senior outfielder Adam Velez (.430, 24 RBI's), senior catcher Drew Luther ((.361), senior first baseman, Brennan Fulkerson, (.329) and sophomore LHP, Kyle Twomey (3.68, 57 inn). El Dorado has reached the finals of the National Classic three times but is still seeking its first championship.

Esperanza HS, California

Co-host Esperanza will be young and inexperienced in 2010, but also very talented. With only 3returning starters and no returning pitchers, the Aztecs will need to grow up quickly. Jonathan Maciel (Long Beach St.), Troy Newman and Travis Almazan will be looked to for leadership this year. Esperanza has previously won three national Classic titles, 1991, 1997 and 2005.

Marin Catholic HS, California

The Wildcats return 6 starters and 11 lettermen from last year's team that finished 20-7, winning their fourth consecutive league championship.

Leading the pitching staff will be 6'4” junior LHP, Robb Woodcock (1st team all-league as a freshman) and junior transfer, Tommy McCoy. Offensively, Marin Catholic returns three-year starter, Nate Kristoff (.349, 11 2B's, 18 RBI's) and junior outfielder, Connor Murphy (.440, 26 RBI's). Also returning are junior 3b, Tyler Scott and junior outfielder, Ian Lam. This will be Marin Catholic's first appearance in the National Classic.

Mater Dei HS, California

The 2010 Mater Dei baseball team should be very good offensively and defensively with 6 starters and 13 lettermen back from a team that finished 24-6, reaching the CIF Division I semi-finals. Leading the Monarchs will be All-County and UC Berkeley bound shortstop, Derek Campbell, All-Southern California and Arizona State signee, outfielder Cory Hahn and outfielder Jacob Medina (Loyola Marymount). Matt Blanchard will anchor a young but talented pitching staff. Mater Dei is the defending National Classic champion, having won the title in 2009.

Notre Dame Prep HS, Arizona

After finishing the 2009 season with a record of 30-2 and seeing three players selected in the major league draft, this young Saints team will have some big shoes to fill. Although last year's very talented seniors have graduated, Coach Gianni is very optimistic about this exciting new group. Leading the way in 2010 will be a pitching staff that returns six seniors, three of whom posted winning records in 2009. Notre Dame looks to Jonathan Cohn (University of Maryland) as well as 6'8” Aaron Slegers and Taylor Scott to play major roles this year. The Saints are making their 2nd consecutive appearance in the National Classic.

Orange Lutheran HS, California

The Lancers return 16 lettermen including their top 5 pitchers and 8 starting position players from the 2009 squad that finished 18-11. Anchoring the pitching staff will be USC signee, Bobby Wheatley, UCI bound, Andrew Thurman and sophomore LHP, Art Moran-Vidrio (4-0, 0.53). The offensive attack should be very balanced led by Dillon Bryant (UNLV) and Andre Real (USD). Bryant, Chase Harrison, Willie Shaw and Josh Doyle are all three-year starters and played on the 2008 team that finished 2nd in the National Classic.

Palm Desert HS, California

The Aztecs return 9 starters and 15 lettermen from last year's team that finished 21-6, winning their 6th Desert Valley League title in the past 7 years. Leading a young, but experienced pitching staff will be Nick Baker (2nd team All-CIF, 11-0, 1.51). Offensively, Palm Desert returns outfielder, Mychal Kabeary (1st team All-CIF, .467, 29 RBI's, 29 SB's) and All-League infielders Scotty Burcham (.380, 26 RBI's) and Ryan Garvey (.361, 4 HR, 21 RBI's). This will be the Aztecs third appearance in the National Classic.

The IMG Academy School @ IMG Academy, Florida

The 2010 Panthers have reloaded from a year ago when they finished 29-1, winning 4 tournaments and reaching #7 in the country in Max Preps final poll. Returning from last year's team are 5 Division I early signees- Under Armor

All-American RHP Casey Mulholland (Mississippi, 6-0, 1.46, 68 K's), OF Gavin Patton (Kentucky, .413, 4HR, 39 RBI's), SS Dillon Moyer (UC Irvine, .401),

6'8” RHP Jimmy O'Neill (Stetson, 7-0, 2.45, 57 K's) and 6'6” RHP Blake Perry (Kentucky). This will be the first appearance for IMG Academy in the National Classic.

Península HS, California

The Panthers return 7 starters and 12 lettermen from last year's team that finished 18-11 and reached the CIF Division II playoffs. Leading a strong and deep pitching staff will be juniors Cristain Torres (All-League, 6-1, 1.44) and Sammy Moore and senior Yuki Takahashi. In addition, seniors Joshin Atone, Cameron Leigh, Ryan Pereborow along with juniors Mark Okuma and Tony Poncia are expected to be big contributors. This will be Peninsula's first appearance in the National Classic.

Salpointe Catholic HS, Arizona

The Lancers return 7 starters and 11 lettermen from their 2009 squad that finished with a record of 18-14, losing in the quarterfinals of the Arizona 5AI state playoffs. Leading the way in 2010 is the 2009 5AI ‘Player of the Year' and Yale signee, Jacob Hunter (.514, 12 2B's, 42 RBI's). He will be joined by Notre Dame bound Dan Slania and four-year letterman, Harrison Graham. Salpointe will also look to seniors Marc Gavre, Jack Hale and Aron Harrington and juniors Joe Serrano and AJ Alexander to make significant contributions. Salpointe will be making its first appearance in the National Classic.

South Hills HS, California

South Hills High School has won ten out of the last eleven league titles. Led by a core of sophomores that are now seniors they have gone to the CIF finals two years in row and with only losing two starters from last year this team of veterans are setting their sites on making it to their third straight CIF championship. Returning to the team are some of the highest ranked seniors in the valley- pitcher Dakota Behr, catcher Cody Doyle, third base Jacob Shirley and SS Christian Ibarra. South Hills is ranked #1 in the San Gabriel Valley and 17th in the state of California by Cal Hi Sports. This is their first trip to the National Classic.

West Ranch HS, California

2009 proved to be a breakthrough year for the Wildcats as they advanced to the 2nd round of the CIF Division I playoffs in just their 3rd varsity season. Gone are three All-CIF players and four players who moved on to college baseball but returning is a fine nucleus of players looking to continue last year's winning ways. West Ranch returns All-League seniors Allen Sarkissian (.437, 38 hits) and Nico Rusconi (.382, 37 hits) along with Chris Caldwell (.385) and Jared Ortiz (.382). Junior RHP Ryan Keller (University of San Diego) will anchor the pitching staff. This is the first appearance in the National Classic for West Ranch.

2010 Pre-Season Rankings

Edison HS, CA

#3 - Baseball America

#23 - Collegiate Baseball

#1 - California by CalHiSports

#1 - California by Max Preps

#1 - Southern California by LA Times

Mater Dei HS, CA

#17 - Collegiate Baseball

#35 - Max Preps

#3 - California by CalHiSports

#8 - Southern California by LA Times

The IMG Academy School @ IMG Academy, FL

#8 - Perfect Game

#16 - Max Preps

#25 - Collegiate Baseball

#30 - ESPN Rise Magazine

#43 - Rivals.com

Cottonwood HS, UT

#21 - Collegiate Baseball

#2 - Utah 5A Coaches Poll

Bishop Amat HS, CA

#19 - California by CalHi sports

#4 - Southern California by LA Times

Crespi HS, CA

#7 - California by CalHiSports

#2 - Southern California by LA Times

Orange Lutheran HS, CA

#15 - Perfect Game

#6 - Southern California by LA Times

South Hills HS, CA

#17 - California by CalHiSports

Palm Desert HS, CA

#8 - Southern California by LA Times

West Ranch HS, CA

#9 - Southern California by LA Times

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