Early thoughts on the High School baseball season

Posted by Andy Durham on February 12, 2008 at 1:03 pm under High School | 8 Comments to Read

It’s time to start talking about the high school baseball season because they started practicing yesterday and if the weather holds up they’ll be out there again this afternoon. Did you see our opening day pictures? Not too bad for a quick day-one roundup. If you want us to stop by your practice or workout contact us at durhamandy@live.com.

Here’s how some of the teams might begin to stack up in 2008.
Southeast Guilford:The Falcons played for the State 3-A championship last year and they have the nucleus of that team returning with P/SS Cam Cockman, P/IF Austin Moyer, C/3B Jeff Medley, OF Justin Venable, OF Brian Webb, OF Pat Nesbitt, and the big question that they are asking down in Pleasant Garden is will Josh Tobias the freshman make the varsity squad? SEG has to get the early call for #1 team in our area. The Falcons are loaded with talent.

Ragsdale:The Tigers lost several key seniors but they have Pitcher David Coffey back and DeSean Anderson is returning in the outfield. Anderson played in RF last year but I would think he’d be ready to load it up in center this season. Ragsdale also picked up a well-known transfer in Matt McBride who came over to Jamestown from West Forsyth, the home of Garrison Lassiter. Ragsdale also claims state gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory but Southeast has Charlie Pannell and at Forest Oaks, they say bigger is better.

Northwest Guilford:The Vikings won 20 last season and can they do it again with Logan Self returning as a one-man powerhouse? Brandon McKinney, John Neese, and Hunter Bennett have all moved on but Coach Sonny Gann still has a few tricks up his sleeve.

Grimsley:Grimsley returns Gabe Dimock, Cal Sutphin, and Lucas Wrenn but they also have newcomers like George Carter and Matt Nettesheim. Nettesheim is one heck of an outfielder and for a small guy he can hit for power and precision. Nettesheim bats left-handed and he was one of the top players in last year’s Palomino run for the Guilford Patriots. Carter comes to Grimsley from Guilford Day School and Nettesheim comes over from Northwest Guilford. James Russ Jr. moves up from the Whirlie JV squad and he might be ready to step right on the mound. I do not rermember the kid’s last name but they call him Shaq and he is back for the Whirlies. Grimsley lost Clint Moore, Alan Craven, Cody Walker, and Ken Daly to graduation and LHP/1B Aaron Jones left for Gospel Light.

Page:Page has Nick Jones back and he is one of the area’s top players. Coach Hardin sounds optimistic when he speaks about this year’s team and the Pirates are looking forward to meeting Grimsley the same day Smith and Dudley get together on the field downtown at New Bridge Bank Park.

Dudley:There may be some teams ranked ahead of Dudley but I do know this, Dudley beat NEG for the first time in a long time last year and Dudley qualified for the playoffs for the first time in quite a while. Coach Larry Farrar will have his Panthers ready and when they take the field Ray Crawford is the kid to watch out for. Crawford is going to be a good one before it’s all said and done. Doug Sigmon is back and he hit one out of the old First Horizon Park last year when the Panthers beat Smith and the Golden Eagles’ tall pitcher 6’7 Avery Hardy. Sigmon can also play some third base and he along with Crawford give Dudley a solid foundation.

Others:Southwest Guilford will be tough. Coach Reid Holmes always has his Cowboy kids ready and the same can be said for Chris Causey over at Western Guilford. One of the big question marks will be the emergence of Northern Guilford under Johnny Smith’s leadership and how qucikly the Nighthawks can come together. One of the parents was telling me that they had 24 kids coming out for baseball and since NG only has 9th and 10th graders they will have to make two teams from the 24.

Johnny Smith has been at this baseball thing for a long time and he knows what he is doing and this will take some time. You can’t expect the baseball to take off like the NG basketball team did because it’s a totally different proposition. Johnny picked up some big kids from his Northwest allotment and few smaller ones from his Northeast dispersal. The first official game for Northern is March 4th and we are looking forward to that contest.

If you have some more news, if we left somebody out, spelled your kid’s name wrong, or you want us to print your schedule on the web site, send it all to durhamandy@live.com.


  • jamos24 said,

    good info

  • sportsfan said,

    I agree, good info on the schools that were talked about specifically. What specifics can you give on Eastern, Southern Guilford, SW, NE, Western Guilford, Andrews, High Point Central and Smith? I enjoy coming to this site, but it appears that much of the specific info focuses on just a select few programs. I would like to hear about kids from the other areas too and would think that most coaches in the area would be a valuable resource and wouldn’t mind giving you info.

    One question….I agree Johnny Smith is a good coach and will build a great program. Just curious as why NG basketball and NG baseball is a different proposition. They are dealing with the same group of students, the same boundary lines, the same age group, etc. Why should one have a greater chance of success than the other?

  • Andy said,

    The other schools lie on the outskirts and that is not a great excuse for not giving them more coverage. I am going to try and get out to NWG, SWG, Ragsdale, and WG on Friday or Monday. At times it becomes a deal where I can’t be at all the schools at one time or on the same day and I go the quickest route and get as mcuh done as fast as I can so we can be the top media outlet of all among the local sports.

    I also have to hit the schools that are making the most noise and the one’s that eventually will be in the thick of the playoff races at the end of the season. SEG will be there, Ragsdale will be there, Alan Ashkinazy will have his team there come playoff time. I wish more coaches would send me more info and I wouldn’t have to run around as much.

    Guilford County is our home base and other triad areas will have to reach out to us, and if they do, we will be there.

    It is easier to get it in going in basketball than it is baseball because of the five player vs. nine set up. Find yourself five good basketbal players and you are ready to go. Two or three good ones and three decent players and you are ready.

    Baeball takes more time and you can’t hide players. You can’t even hide a guy in right field if the other team knows what they are doing. If have always been of the theory that you can make up for an error in basketball quicker than you can atone for a mistake in baseball. One mistake in baseball can kill whereas you can bounce back from a turnover quicker in hoops.

    Give me 5 decent basketball players(two or three good ones and say three or two support players) and I can make the playoffs.

    I will need very solid players at all positions in baseball to get there and with 9th and 10th graders it will be hard to find one pitcher that can dominate and take you all the way into playoffs unless his name is Rusty LaRue Jr.

  • sportsfan said,

    Thanks for responding. I am sure it is difficult to cover all areas and thanks for trying. I thought about it being difficult to cover the ‘outskirts’, but I thought SE, NW, and Northern were outskirts too….that was why I was confused.
    I also agree that sometimes you have to cover those in the thick of things. With that being said…I think Ragsdale will also be a contender, but what about SW not being mentioned in your specifics? They have advanced the last 2 years to the third round of the playoffs, (beating Ragsdale last year in round 2) who lost several key players. SW in turn returns 7 starting position players and 3 senior pitchers.
    One thing for sure, when you match up SE, Ragsdale, or SW on any given day you can be assured of a great game. All 3 programs are well coached and are full of talented players. Guilford County is fortunate to have so many good teams in the area.

  • mark said,

    yeah Andy you definitely need to head over to SW Guilford. They are loaded with seniors (talented seniors). This may be their year.

    Ragsdale and SE Guilford will play two wars this year to see who can come out on top in the Mid Piedmont. Ragsdale is loaded with talent and they are all juniors and sophomores. They will be tough to beat the next two seasons.

    Impact just posted their preseason poll today too http://www.impactbaseball.com/teampolls.asp Ragsdale will be playing #1 Rocky Mount early in March. SE Guilford and SW Guilford also hook up early in the season.

  • Andy said,

    Ragsdale and Southwest are on the list of stops for our next tour of duty. I was planning on hitting the road again on Monday but I may have to move it up to Friday due to time allowances.

    We can use more input here on SWG and the other schools on the outside regions of our county. SWG fans are standing up and being heard and I did loook at the Impact Poll and was a bit surprised to see Southeast and Ragsdale ranked that close together. SEG was in the finals last year and they return just about everybody except for Ben Areno, Jody Hackett and Adam Stone.

    This has to be SEG’s year. They have to beat Ragsdale and the other teams they face and win the Mid Piedmont. Ragsdale will be tough and we will find out more about SWG as we get further along, but SEG with Cockman, Moyer, Medley, and Venable has to win it all this year or the season is a bust. SEG got to the finals last year and this has to be their year. The other teams are not going to lay down but SEG has to complete their mission and that is to win the State 3-A Championship.

    SEG was there last year and Ragsdale with Trevor Mullins the year before. SWG won it all back in the mid to late 90’s and our 3-A teams look to be loaded again, but I repeat, “This has to Southeast’s Year”.

    What is the fan support like at the SWG games?

  • sportsfan said,

    Fan support is generally very good, especially as the weather warms and they are playing other good teams. The double headers at home with jv and v both playing always encourage larger crowd support too. I am sure when they play SE and Glenn there will be a huge crowd. When they have played Ragsdale the last 2 years in playoffs they have taken a massive group of fans. I think the playoff games at Ragsdale have probably been about even in attendance by both sides. If you attended either of those, I am sure you saw great baseball and great fan support for both teams.

    I think you would probably increase you viewership by any team once you start discussing them. All it takes is one person from that team to spread the word and others will find their way to your site. I came to this site because a team my son was on was discussed. I think others will do the same.

  • Joe Plante said,

    I watched Northwest Guilford scrimmage Ragsdale and Kannapolis today at the Ragsdale field. It should be a fun season for the Northwest Vikings ball team.
    Plenty of new looks out on the mound and in the field. Special thanks goes out to the Ragsdale parents and coaches for hosting a great double header. The Viking baseball team and fans had a wonderful time. Good to get out again and be able to watch the boys play.