March 25, 2005
If you missed the Cleats National Invitational Tournament at Horizon High School this week, you missed some pretty darn good baseball.
Among the 16 teams in the field were representatives from six states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii and Utah) including Chaparral and Florida’s Gulliver Prep, both of which were ranked in Baseball America’s preseason top 10.
The quality of the field prompted Baseball America associate editor Alan Matthews to compliment Horizon coach Eric Kibler for putting on the country’s best high school tournament.
"I do feel like . . . it is indeed one of the, if not the premier tournaments in the nation," Matthews said. "They’ve done a great job going out and finding teams across the country. Not just any team, but the top teams.
"There are a couple other events during the course of the high school season that do a good job of pulling teams from the national landscape, but no event (coordinator) this year has done it as well as Eric has."
It’ll take a little luck — OK a lot of luck — for it to occur, but a 4A state championship game matchup between Cactus Shadows right-hander Brett Jacobson and Chaparral lefty Ike Davis would be a monster.
The 6-foot-6, 195-pound Jacobson signed with Vanderbilt after posting a 7-2 record with a 2.31 ERA as a junior. The 6-foot-5, 205-pound Davis signed with Arizona State after a 9-0 junior campaign in which he posted a 1.39 ERA. Both were named first-team All-Americans by Baseball America (Jacobson as a pitcher and Davis as a first baseman).
Of course, assuming both No. 1 Chaparral and No. 4 Cactus Shadows win their region tournaments, each would still have to win three state tournament games in four days just to advance to the final. Then it would be a matter of Jacobson and Davis being ready to pitch in the Saturday championship after probably starting in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
Considering the game would be for a state title and who knows how many scouts would be there, the guess is both guys would be ready.
Seton Catholic senior Jack Marsh’s domination of 3A tennis — an undefeated prep career and three straight state titles — brings up an interesting question. Why are athletes in individual sports split into separate conferences based on the size of their school at state championship events?
It makes sense to split the schools up by size for competitive reasons in team sports, but not in individual sports such as cross country, swimming, badminton, golf, wrestling, track and tennis.
Don’t tell me Queen Creek’s Kari Hardt can’t run with Arcadia’s Lucy Caldwell or Marsh can’t play with Mountain Pointe’s Geoffrey Embry just because their schools’ enrollment figures are smaller.
TOROS, HAWKS TO REPEAT?
With three of its top six players back next year including Tribune player of the year Harper Kamp, state champion Mountain View will no doubt enter next season as the heavy favorite in 5A Division I boys basketball.
A handful of teams could give Mountain View a game — Corona del Sol, Dobson and Phoenix St. Mary’s come to mind — but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Toros again flirt with an undefeated season. In 5A Division I girls, expect either Highland’s Amanda Vennard or Red Mountain’s Kayla Pederson to lead her team into the title game.