District Preview: Class 6A-District 8
We continue our countdown with Class 6A-District 8.
Teams: Blake, Jefferson, Jesuit, Middleton, Robinson, Spoto
Last season’s district champion: Jesuit (25-7)
The perennial powerhouse Tigers returned to the state semifinals for the sixth time in the last decade, finishing 2017 as the Class 6A runner-up. Jesuit went a perfect, 13-0 against district opponents last year, and outside of district play the Tigers also won the 37th annual Saladino Baseball Tournament championship.
2018’s Big question: Does any district opponent have a chance to stop Jesuit’s run of six consecutive district crowns?
A youthful Robinson team and sluggish seasons last year from Spoto, Blake and Middleton don’t pose too much of a potential threat to the Tigers juggernaut. In fact, since 2011 the Tigers have not lost a regular season game to district foe.
|Jefferson senior Robby Martin (813Preps file photo).|
However, Jefferson (which was not a district opponent for two of the previous seven season with Jesuit) is the last team to take a title away for Jesuit back in 2011. The Dragons return an experienced team in 2018 and have high expectations for the post-season this year after a runner-up finish and region quarterfinal win last season. Things will need to go well in all aspects against a stocked Jesuit squad, but the Dragons have some incredible athletes led by senior and FSU signee OF/P Robby Martin (.418, with a county-leading 44 RBI and nine home runs last season), and junior and University of Tampa commit RHP Mike Dominguez, who returns after a 5-2, 2.33 ERA season, with 64 strikeouts in 50 innings.
|Jesuit senior Jack Anderson (photo courtesy of Jesuit High).|
Jesuit has been “King of the 6A-8 Mountain” and the Tigers have no plans of being toppled any time soon. Senior ace RHP Jack Anderson (Florida State signee) was an All-813Preps First Team selection last season after going 7-4, with a 0.79 ERA and 78 strikeouts, including a complete-game, five-hit shutout in the state semifinals. Bolstering the pitching staff will be senior Everett Lee, who faced injuries his first two seasons and was behind a big crop of seniors and Anderson last year. However, in his 5.1 innings of work in ’17 he posted 10 K’s and could have a breakout year for the Tigers.
|Jesuit SS McGuire Weaver (photo courtesy Jesuit High).|
Offensively, Joel Brewer and McGuire Weaver are a nightmare for opposing pitchers. As a junior last year Weaver (FSU signee) led all Jesuit hitters with a .400 average, while scoring 26 runs, driving in 21 and stealing 14 bases. Brewer (South Carolina signee) chipped in a team leading 31 runs scored, 10 doubles and 16 stolen bases. Along with returners OF Charles Ethan Clark and C Carter Anderson, the Tigers again have lofty expectations.
We touched on Jefferson above, but lets add a little more. Speaking of adding more, the Dragons add two key transfer additions who will look to help in a big way in 2018. Catcher Charlie Welch is a 6-foot-1, 200-pound right-hander committed to Pepperdine and Mark Degusipe (Florida Atlantic) will have a big impact on the mound after posting a 1.15 ERA across 18 1/3 innings at Alonso last season.
|Jefferson senior AJ Mathis (813Preps file photo)|
They join an already talented offense keyed by Martin, OF AJ Mathis (FSU commit, .390, 31 runs scored in ’17), and IF Ty Evans (Saint Leo commit, .270, 21 runs). On the mound, Dominguez leads the way, along with Degusipe, Martin and Jack Rodriguez providing a lot of depth to the rotation and bullpen.
Robinson finds itself in a bit of rebuilding mode after losing 11 seniors and six of its top seven hitters from last spring. Senior 3B/1B Austin Glasgow is the lone returning offensive starter. Glasgow hit .341 with 10 runs scored in 2017. RHP Jake Granese who was 3-0, with a 0.93 ERA across 22 2/3 innings returns at the top of the rotation, but the Knights also have some experience in junior RHP Koby Fogg, and hope to get quality innings from Mike Swanson, Isaiah Tosado and Paul Jennewein. The Knights finished the season with a 11-13 record, and after splitting the regular-season series with Jefferson, Robinson fell to the Dragons 2-1 in last year’s district tournament.
Others: Spoto - The Spartans finished last season 5-18, and return a number of seniors including P/IF Nicolas Ariezaga and OF Adrian Rodriguez … Blake (2-21 in ‘17) and Middleton (0-23) hope to improve, but have a tough road to compete with the teams at the top for a region berth.
- Jarrett Guthrie
Take a look at the districts we've checked in on so far:
District Preview - Class 3A-District 4
District Preview - Class 4A-District 4
District Preview - Class 7A-District 9
District Preview - Class 8A-District 4
District Preview - Class 8A-District 5
District Preview - Class 9A-District 8