The 2015 USA Baseball National High School Invitation (NHSI) proved once again to be the top high school event in the country. This year’s tournament brought in some of the top talent from across the United States, pulling schools from 10 states to the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, NC, to compete for the top high school honor. The event was held March 25 -28 this year.
The NHSI has become one of my favorite events to cover. The talent, level of competition and drama of each game is captivating. This year was no different. Four long days of intense action came down to a California championship showdown of College Park, with top prospect Joe DeMers, against San Clemente and their top prospect Lucas Herbert. It was a thrilling game that saw San Clemente returning the NHSI trophy to SoCal.
I took more 1,800 photos and five hours of video over the course of those four days. Somehow, I have managed to pick a few dozen of my favorite photos and moments from them. I hope you enjoy this photo look back at the 2015 National High School Invitational.
The first day of action started off with Mosley (FL) against JSerra (CA). It turned into a pitchers’ duel with Dillon Brown and the Dolphins coming out on top 1-0. Dillon pitched 6.1 inning, giving up only one hit and one walk while striking out four.
My favorite story of the day was courtesy of the Loyalsock Lancers of Williamsport, PA. For the Lancers, their game against the Horizon Huskies (AZ) was their first game of the year. Given the amount of bad weather in the Northeast this year, the Lancers had only be able to scrimmage on their football field before making the trip to Cary. They came out ready to play, relying on some solid pitching and timely hitting to beat the Huskies 7-4. Luke Glavin pitched the first two innings, giving up only one hit and two unearned runs.
The matchup between Farragut (TN) and College Park (CA) turned into the Joe DeMers Show. The 2015 draft prospect did it all. As the starting pitcher for College Park, DeMers threw a complete game, giving up only three hits and one run while striking out six over seven innings. He also went 1-for-1 at the plate with a stolen base, sacrifice fly and a run scored.
Above, he slides safely into third base.
Huntington Beach (CA) beat St. Thomas Aquinas 12-3. Landon Silver had a big day for the Oilers, going 2-for-4 at the plate with a double, triple, two runs scored and an RBI.
Puyallup (WA) relied on a great pitching performance by left-hander Chris Micheles to beat Leesville Road (NC) 3-0. Micheles threw a complete-game, two-hit gem. He surrendered only one walk while striking out eight.
Whitewater (GA) punched their ticket to the quarterfinals with a 7-4 win over DeSoto (MS). Jabari Richards led Whitewater, going 3-for-4 at the plate with a triple, one run scored and three RBIs.
The last first-round game on Day One saw San Clemente (CA) take on Lambert (GA). San Clemente came out on top 7-5. Trevor Beard got the save.
Day Two kicked off with the last opening round matchup: College Station (TX) against Trinity Prep (FL). MacGregor Hines led College Station to a 3-1 win with a complete game effort. Hines gave up two hits, one run and walked three while striking out twelve.
The first quarterfinal game of the day put College Park against Loyalsock. College Park came out on top 5-1 thanks in part to a two-run home run by Nickolas Oar.
Yes, Hager Danner was all smiles during Huntington Beach’s quarterfinal game against Puyallup. That’s because Danner threw a complete-game gem that helped Huntington Beach advance to the semifinals with a 6-0 win. Danner gave up only three hits and two walks while striking out 13 batters.
Walker David of College Station makes a nice jumping catch during a matchup against San Clemente. San Clemente went on to win 5-3.
DeSoto brought the bats and arms to their game against Trinity Prep. Keegen James threw a complete game shutout, allowing only four hits and while striking out six. DeSoto hitters combined for 13 hits.
This base umpire had to duck out of the way as Whitewater’s Tyler Burdette threw to first for an out.
The last quarterfinal game of the day put Mosley up against Whitewater. Mosley came away with the 4-2 win to advance to the semifinals. Above, Jordan Murray celebrates after scoring for Mosley.
The theme for Day Three was the rain. Lots of rain. Five games were able to finish including College Station against Farragut. The back-and-forth affair finished with Farragut on top 5-4.
Below, College Station infielder Israel Martinez celebrates with teammates after scoring.
Sam Behren’s complete game performance helped lead College Park past Mosley 13-2 to clinch a spot in the championship game. Even in the rain, Behren was able to hold Mosley to seven hits and two runs. He struck out two.
San Clemente pitcher Chris Puckett shut down Huntington Beach in their semifinal matchup. The 5-0 victory sent San Clemente to the championship game against College Park. Puckett went six innings, allowing five hits and one run while striking out five.
The final day of the NHSI saw some intense action. Above, St. Thomas Aquinas catcher Anthony Mulrine is able to apply the tag and hold of to the ball during a collision at the plate.
The championship game put San Clemente against College Park. That meant, regardless of the outcome, the NHSI trophy would once again be heading to California. San Clemente jumped out to an early 3-0 lead and never gave it back, beating College Park 8-3.
Lucas Herbert led the San Clemente offense, going 1-for-2 with a double, two walks and two runs scored.
San Clemente head coach Dave Gellatly manages to avoid the Gatorade bath while conducting a TV interview.
Congratulations to San Clemente High School on claiming the 2015 National High School Invitational title! With the 2015 event in the books, preparations are underway for the 2016. If the first four years are any indication, next year will be epic!