'19 District Preview - Class 7A-District 8
Reigning district champion: Leto
District Thought: It’s hard to argue with the success this district has had since being grouped together four seasons ago with Gaither claiming the 7A state title in 2016, King reaching the 7A state final in 2017, and Leto reaching the state semifinal last season. Can 7A-8 make another play for a state title in 2019?
Coach: Jason Smith, 4th season
Record last season: 1-23
Notable Returners: Luis Brito, Sr., RHP; David Cornelio, Jr., SS/3B; Brayden Moyer, Jr., 3B/RHP
|Chamberlain junior Brayden Moyer|
Outlook: The Chiefs will rely heavily on a handful of key returners, especially Brayden Moyer (.254, nine RBI last season) and junior David Cornelio, who returns as a captain for the second-straight season … Senior Luis Brito returns with the most experience on the mound, with both Moyer and Cornelio also seeing double-digit innings pitching last season … Sophomores OF Tim Cook and UT/RHP Adrian Vega will need to have an immediate impact on the team for success.
Coach: Nelson North, 5th season
Record last season: 14-10, district runner-up
Notable Returners: Austin Grause, So., RHP; Jordan Williams, Sr., OF; Derek Crum, Sr., OF/LHP; Roy Peguero, Sr., RHP
|Gaither senior Derek Crum|
Outlook: The Cowboys have a pretty complete team coming into the season with solid depth at pitching, highlighted by sophomore righty Austin Grause (3-4, 2.11 ERA), senior Roy Pegeuro (3-1 last season, Bethune-Cookman commit), and Crum; a strong offense keyed from the start by speedy Jordan Williams (.295, 24 runs, 11 RBI and 20 stolen bases), some pop from Crum, and high expectations from sophomores IF Willie Jackson and C Jacob Choe.
|Gaither senior Jordan Williams|
Coach: Kenny White, 13th season
Record last season: 7-17
Notable Returners: Terence Doston, Sr., OF; Nathan Gustafson, Sr., RHP; Trevor Jones, Jr., LHP
Last year’s reload = this year’s strength: Last season’s 7-17 record halted a run of six-straight winning seasons and three-straight region tournament berths, as a young Terriers squad had to replace eight starters from the 2017 season. So though Hillsborough remains a bit young, it only lost two players from last season and returns 10 or so players with significant playing time. Most significant in this mix is that all of last season’s pitchers who reached the double-digit innings mark return to the mound.
Outlook: A pitching staff that includes returners lefty Trevor Jones (3-4 in 11 appearances last season), righty Nathan Gustafson (2-1, 2.82 ERA), and sophomores Skyler Netolicky and Brady Burgess has the Terriers coaches excited for the season … Two-sport standout and West Virginia signee Terence Doston leads the way on offense after posting a .361, 12 run, 12 RBI season last year, along returning senior 1B Carlos Romero (.350) … Hillsborough will welcome the addition of Chamberlain transfer Juan Jamie-Nunez (a St. Johns River CC commit) both defensively and at the plate.
Coach: Jim Macaluso, 44th season
Record last season: 17-9, Saladino Tournament Champions
Notable Returners: Jacob Cordell, Sr., C; Zan Rose, Jr., RHP; Jose Ramos, Sr., UTIL/RHP; Bryce Pennington, Sr., C
|King junior Zan Rose|
|King senior Jacob Cordell|
Outlook: Obviously, good news for the senior 1B Zarrian Brinson, would be a win for the offense, but there is a possibility surgery could force him to miss significant time, if not the whole season. One of King’s strengths this year will be at catcher, where senior captains Jacob Cordell (11 RBI) and Bryce Pennington will see time behind the plate, as well as each playing some time at first base in Brinson’s absence, and at designated hitter … A pair of sophomore transfers could develop nicely as RHP/SS Matt Johnson (from Plant) and LHP/OF Dontavious Johnson (from Chamberlain) will both be used on the mound this season and will need to develop quickly in a tough district battle.
Coach: John Pizzio, 13th season
Record last season: 24-5, region champions, state semifinalist
Notable Returners: Christian Suarez, Sr., RHP; Javy Hernandez, Sr., 3B; Tomas Lozano, Sr., OF
|Leto senior Christian Suarez|
|Leto senior Tomas Lozano|
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