Three Triangle players have been listed among the top 100 high school players in the country by BaseballAmerica, and two of them play for the same team.
North Carolina recruit Bryse Wilson and South Carolina recruit Brad Debo have been giving opposing pitchers nightmares for years in a loaded Orange lineup.
So has Bunn senior Spencer Brickhouse, the other player to crack the top 100. He is committed to East Carolina and, like Debo and Wilson, is projected to be an early pick in this summer’s MLB draft.
South Granville, the defending N.C. High School Athletic Association 2A champ, boasts Justin Bullock, one of the top-ranked juniors in the country.
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Last year’s final N&O top 15
1. South Granville (25-4): Bullock hit .417 with 31 RBIs and eight home runs and went 9-3 on the mound. Senior Justin Brown (8-1, 1.07 ERA, 83 Ks in 52 1/3 innings) led among pitchers. Tucker Britt batted .444.
2. Millbrook (22-12): The 4A runners-up bring back Reid Herring, an East Carolina quarterback recruit who tossed 78 strikeouts and posted a 2.26 ERA. Scott McKeon, Tyler Eckert and Bryce Carnevale bolster the lineup. Andrew Strickland and Austin Hartley had sub-2.00 ERAs.
3. Fuquay-Varina 23-8: The Bengals have a strong senior group, led by Austin Harris (8-1, 1.66 ERA), Caleb Bissette (6-0, 1.99 ERA) and Justin Shelton (.374 batting average, 29 RBIs). Junior Brycen Braswell, a UNC-Wilmington recruit, led the team with a .458 batting average.
4. Lee County (17-8): Coach Charlie Spivey’s club reached the 3A East final series. Drayton Lamb (.412, three triples) and Jake Thomas (.372) are the top returning hitters.
5. Leesville Road (17-9): The Pride, which won 16 straight games after a 1-8 start to the year, must replace half of last year’s roster.
6. Orange (22-4): Wilson (9-2 with 0.69 ERA; .351 with five homers) and Debo ( .380, 26 RBIs) get the attention, but Cameron Mehl (.353) and company can play too.
7. Northern Durham (17-8): The Knights made it to the fourth round and return Spencer Smith (.508), Luke Fenlon (.426) and Griffin Baker (.400, 1.52 ERA).
8. Garner (16-7): The Trojans have four returning starters, led by seniors Trevor Blalock and Jack Elliott.
9. Cardinal Gibbons (22-3): Crusaders’ Noah Campbell hit .446, Cam McNabb .410 and Daniel Haberem .400. Haberem also posted a 2.00 ERA and Paul Todd’s was 1.66.
10. Green Hope (20-7): Seniors Trevor Losito (.317) and Mitch Spence (6-0, 0.64 ERA) return from the all-conference team. Senior Chris Joyner had 41 strikeouts in 26.1 innings.
11. Heritage (19-6): The Huskies are starting over with a new coach and many of the program’s stars now graduated.
12. West Johnston (17-6): The Wildcats are led by Cameron Meyers (.431) and Noah Liles (.343).
13. Bunn (19-3): The Wildcats, 41-5 over the last two years, were stunned in the first round last year. Brickhouse hit .585 with seven home runs. Nick Sanders (.393) is a three-time all-conference pick.
14. Middle Creek (17-8): Seniors Sammy Chapman (2.76 ERA), a Richmond recruit, Zack Moore (.417), an East Carolina recruit and Trevor Heasley (.365), a UNC Greensboro recruit give the Mustangs senior leadership. Juniors John D’ercole, Tucker Rogers and Robbie Frongello also return.
15. North Johnston (19-5): Juniors Garrett Littleton (.353), Blake McLean (.351) and Dylan Radford (.333, 2.68 ERA) lead the way.
Other teams to watch
Apex (10-11): Ben Highfill ( .471), a Liberty recruit, is the conference’s only three-team all-conference player this season. Seniors James Hooks (4-0), Esteban Valencia, Jake Gregory and Matt Rogers add experience.
Chapel Hill (16-9): Nick Hebert hit .420 for the Tigers and Connor Stough batted .351.
Corinth Holders (13-8): Two Rivers 3A champs are led by Khalil Hodge (.358) and Tyler Barritt (.349).
Holly Springs (15-9): Senior Patrick Wheeler (.409), Alex Simpson (.288) and Tyler Babin return to the lineup for the Golden Hawks. Jake Isbell (4-2, 2:12 ERA), Matt Lusirillo and Ryan McLean return to the mound.
Louisburg (16-4): Graduated just four seniors from Tar-Roanoke 1A champs.
Northwood (15-8): Chargers are led by junior Max Hundley, Logan Crabtree and Patrick Szyzpinski.
Sanderson (14-8): Ryan and Drew Baldy and Cory Wood help form a dangerous lineup.
Southern Lee (16-11): Sophomore Johnathan Husk hit .414. Senior Ryan Holmes had a 2.33 ERA.
Voyager Academy (14-5): Had just three seniors on North Central 1A champion team.
Individuals to watch
Cole Abshire, Sr., Wake Forest: Hit .375 for the Cougars.
Ryan Cameron, Jr., Union Pines: Hit .475 with four home runs.
Jacob Faulkner, Sr., Franklin Academy: Hit .397.
Kyle Gensler, Jr., Cary: Hit .423 last season.
Joe Johnson, Sr., South Johnston: High Point recruit is a star at the plate and on the mound.
Tyler Keenan, Jr. Cleveland: Hit .483 with 7 home runs.
Dean Pulley, Sr., Rolesville: Batted .391.
Austin Shank, Sr. East Chapel Hill: Hit .304 for 15-7 Wildcats.
David Solomon III, Sr., Person: Hit .462 and posted 2.55 ERA.
Brandon Stephens, Sr., Wake Christian: Signed with UNC-Greensboro.
Isaiah Stone, Sr., Jordan-Matthews: Hit .346 for the Jets.
Tyler Vaughn, Sr., Triton: Hit .471 for the 15-8 Hawks.
Collin Winstead, Sr., Roxboro Community: Batted .400 for 15-7 Bulldogs.