USA Baseball reveals field for '16 HS Invitational
Sixteen high schools from around the country will compete for NHSI title
By Cash Kruth
The 16-team field has been announced for the 2016 USA Baseball National High School Invitational, which will take place from March 23-26 at USA Baseball's National Training Complex in Cary, N.C.
The fifth annual event features some of the top prep baseball teams and players from across the nation.
"The National High School Invitational has established itself as the premier event on the high school baseball calendar, and we are thrilled to partner with the Town of Cary, the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance and our media partner, Baseball America, for the 2016 event," USA Baseball's Executive Director/CEO Paul Seiler said. "The NHSI continues to draw elite high school programs and players from across the U.S. for a one-of-a-kind high school baseball experience."
Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana, Calif.), the 2012 and '13 champion, returns, as does '14 champion The First Academy (Orlando, Fla.). Past participants Bingham High School (South Jordan, Utah) and Huntington Beach (Calif.) High School also return, while Topsail High School (Hampstead, N.C.) will serve as this year's host after finishing '15 as Mideastern Conference champions.
Seven of the 16 teams are from Florida and California. Joining The First Academy from Florida are Charles W. Flanagan High School (Pembroke Pines), North Broward Preparatory School (Pompano Beach) and Trinity Christian Academy (Jacksonville), while Chaminade College Preparatory School (Los Angeles) joins Huntington Beach and Mater Dei from California.
Other participants include Liberty Christian Academy (Lynchburg, Va.), Allatoona High School (Ackworth, Ga.), Houston High School (Germantown, Tenn.), Florence (Ala.) High School, Poly Prep Country Day School (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Rocky Mountain High School (Fort Collins, Colo.) and Walton High School (Marietta, Ga.).
Blake Rutherford (No. 7) will roam the outfield for Chaminade, while left-hander Braxton Garrett (No. 41) will toe the rubber for Florence. Third baseman Carter Kieboom also will play for Walton, while three others who should be drafted in the first several rounds also will participate: infielder Daniel Bakst (Poly Prep), outfielder Josh Stephen (Mater Dei) and right-hander Zack Hess (Liberty Christian).
The NHSI is a single-elimination tournament, with each participating team guaranteed to play four games. The official event schedule will be announced in February.
Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.