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IMG Academy baseball program poised to compete in Hard 9 National Classic in California

The official press release for the Hard 9 National Baseball Classic in Anaheim, CA was sent out yesterday announcing the complete field of 16 of the nation's top high school baseball teams. As the Varsity squad at the IMG Academy baseball program competes in Orlando's Spring Break Grand Slam, they are excited and privileged to be a part of the highly touted field of teams. Here is the write-up on IMG Academy directly from the press release:

IMG Academy baseball program Varsity
IMG Academy' Varsity team after their chamnpionship victory in the Sarasota Baseball Classic.

IMG Academy is looking to continue the momentum created by its Varsity baseball team last year, who went 19-6 and included a first-place finish in the South Florida Classic in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. With four student-athletes already committed to Division I programs, and seven other roster members poised to play Division I/high Division II ball, the depth of this year's roster is second-to-none. Players to watch include: CF/INF - Alfredo Escalera: After capturing the attention of numerous Division I schools, Escalera recently committed to Stetson University. He has impressed all with his notable speed and agility (6.6 on 60 yard dash), strong arm and projectable bat. LHP- Max Foody: The 6'4'' 230-pound recent ESPNHS top-ten player has decided to take his game to the next level at Florida State University. Foody is known for his ability to produce a well-rounded pitching game. He has a fastball that reaches up to 92 MPH, a curveball that runs around 78 MPH and a changeup that sits at 80-82 MPH. RHP/3B - Brett Hanewich: The 6'3'' 215-pound pitcher/3B has recently committed to Stanford University to continue to excel in the classroom and on the diamond. Not only does Hanewich have a fastball that consistently reaches 92 MPH, but he has shown projectable power from both sides of the plate. SS/RHP - Cameron Varga: The 6'3'' 205-pound SS/pitcher recently committed to University of Florida as one of the top 2014 prospects. As a position player, his athleticism allows him to play SS and his lightning quick hands at the plate produces plus power to all fields. As a pitcher, his athletic build generates great arm speed allowing him to consistently touch 92MPH, earning him the job as the team's closer.

The entire field of 16 teams is listed below:

Bishop Amat from La Puente, California

Esperanza High School from Anaheim, California

El Dorado High School from Placentia, California

Chaminade High School from West Hills, California

Bishop Alemany High School from Mission Hills, California

Cypress High School from Cypress, California

El Toro High School from El Toro, California

Pacifica High School from Garden Grove, California

Carlsbad High School from Carlsbad, California

Valley Vista High School from Peoria, Arizona

Sunrise Mountain High School from Peoria, Arizona

James River High School from Midlothian, Virginia

Spanish Fork High School from Spanish Fork, Utah

IMG Academy from Bradenton, Florida

Galena High School from Reno, Nevada

Ocean View High School from Huntington Beach, California

The 23rd Annual Premier High School Tournament will take place from April 7-12 and include 32 players who have committed to NCAA Division 1 programs. Tournament Director, Marcus Jones, had this to say about the tournament:

“The 2012 Hard 9 National Classic will showcase some of the best baseball talent in the country. Since 1990, the National Classic has been recognized across the United States as the #1 high school baseball tournament in the nation, and that continues with this year's field.”

Over 23 years, more than 250 schools from 24 states have participated in the National Classic. Some notable National Classic alumni include Major Leaguers such as Alex Rodriguez, Shawn Green, Brett Tomko, Shannon Stewart, AJ Hinch, Hank Blalock and Pat Burrell. IMG Academy will play its first game of the tournament on Monday, April 9, versus Cypress High School.

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