Baseball

Tim StevensFebruary 26, 2012 

Teams to watch

Fuquay-Varina: The Bengals are ranked among the top teams in the state by Impact Baseball. Junior Garrett Suggs, an N.C. State commitment, covers centerfield. Right fielder Addison Braswell also has committed to the Wolfpack and leftfielder Chris Williams, who led the team in hits in 2011, is headed to Louisburg College. Senior shortstop Zach Orrison is a four-year starter and leads the defense.

Wakefield: Senior Vance Vizcaino, a Tennessee recruit, hit .394 during the Wolverines' 19-7 season in 2011. Frank LaGuardia hit .351 with seven doubles. Courtney Crews and Nick Trevino also are among seven returning starters.

Leesville Road: The Pride returns four starters from a 23-4 team. Catcher Matt Saylor is a four-year starter and two-time all-conference pick. Outfielder Jess Noble was all-conference and Sean Ross is the most experienced pitcher.

Wake Christian: The Bulldogs were 26-1-1 a year ago and return seven starters. Dillon Garrision hit .471 and was 9-1 on the mound with a 2.00 ERA. Junior Hunter Baker hit .471 and was 5-0 with a 1.15 ERA. Senior shortstop Ronnie Hatfield (.444) and senior outfielder Joseph Curry (.467) also are back.

Middle Creek: Pitchers Graham Edwards (9-4, 2.18 ERA) and Jimmy Boyd (8-3, 2.72 ERA) lead the Mustangs. Middle Creek and Fuquay-Varina square off Tuesday in their season openers.

Holly Springs: The Hawks return two starters from last season's N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A state championship team, including catcher Joey Roach, who hit .431 last year.

Athens Drive: Third baseman/pitcher Patrick Graham (.449 batting average, four home runs) and catcher Patrick Mason (.418) are back.

Players to watch

Alex Raburn, Durham Jordan, Sr.: Falcon hit .514 and was an N.C. Baseball Coaches Association all-state pick. He scored 30 runs, drove in 26, and had 13 doubles and six home runs. He also stole 11 bases.

Max Schrock, Cardinal Gibbons, Sr.: Committed to South Carolina as a freshman. Hit .443 as a freshman, .494 as a sophomore and .534 as a junior with nine home runs. Second baseman Robbie Thorburn has committed to UNC-Wilmington

Will Gilbert, Green Hope, Sr.: Left-handed pitcher was 6-1 in 2011 and has signed with N.C. State. Sophomore shortstop Stephen Pitarra hit .341 last season.

Zack Garrison, Northern Durham, Jr.: Already a two-time all-conference pick. Teammate Wilbur Harding was 4-1 as a pitcher last year when Northern finished 6-15.

Wilson White, Broughton, Jr: White and junior Joe Bialkowski are the Caps' righty-lefty pitching combo.

Corey Brookings, Wake Forest-Rolesville, Sr.: UNC-Pembroke recruit hit .326 and had a 4-1 pitching record with a 2.77 earned run average.

Evan Phillips, Clayton, Sr.: UNC-Wilmington pitching recruit throws in the 90s.Teammate Tyler Keele is another major college pitching prospect.

Justin Carroll, West Johnston, Jr.: 6-foot-4 right-hander leads pitching corps.

Matt Tenuta, Apex, Sr.: N.C. State recruit was 4-2 in 2011 with a 3.30 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 44 innings.

Jake Kusz, Durham Riverside, Jr.: Strong-armed catcher hit .471 for the Pirates.

Alex Hulmes, Garner, Sr.: Leader of the Trojans and, along with catcher C.J. Schmitt, a two-time all-conference pick.

Jared Kehagias, Southern Lee, Jr.: Shortstop is a career .439 hitter.

Ben Youngblood, Smithfield-Selma, Sr.: Hit .346 with a slugging percentage of .577 last season.

Christian Sledge, Bunn, Soph.: Built a 5-1 pitching record as a freshman with a 1.77 ERA. Senior pitcher Taylor Longson was 5-2.

Kyle McCauley, Triton, Sr.: Pitcher has signed with St. Andrews.

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