Beginning the season with a No. 1 ranking, coach Bryan Hucks 2012 Lower State finalist Wildcats have a high bar set for them. They seem ready for the task, starting the season with a 4-1 performance at the IP Classic last weekend. The Wildcats are led by catcher Nick Ciuffo and pitchers Cole McMillan, Josh Regan and Cody Smith.
The 2012 Class 3A champions are led by seniors Jake Lewis and Schroder Carlton, who are among a strong crew of experienced returners. The Falcons have the tools to be champions again.
The Eagles fell short in the Lower State championship against local rival A.C. Flora, and they are sure to have some tough battles again. But led by coach Scott McLeod, the Eagles have posted two early wins.
The Bengals have been on a steady incline but fell short of the District 4 title last season. This year led by catcher DJ Schofield and a host of senior pitchers, including Andrew Beckwith Blythewood is looking to surpass that. They start the season with a No. 2 ranking.
The junior-heavy Indians squad is looking to make a run at the Class 3A title, after winning the 2A pennant last season. Pitcher Drew Moyer and outfielder Taylor Leaphart are the only seniors on the team, but Gilbert will not be short on leadership or experience.
Hammond is starting the season on a four-game win streak. With seven seniors, led by future Gamecock Jae Roberts and shortstop Brooks Borders, the Skyhawks are well-positioned for a run at the SCISA title.
Heathwood Hall struggled last season to a 3-15 finish. Off to a 1-2 start, the Highlanders have given up 15 runs and scored 13, and defense will make the difference if they are to stay in contention.
The Bearcats lost much of their defense from last years team, which finished 12-14 and reached the district finals. Five years removed from their last Class 3A title, the Bearcats have a steep climb ahead of them.
After falling to Lexington in their third game of the 2012 Lower State tournament, the Timberwolves are driven to make the most of another chance. Led by sluggers Chase Huffstetler and Jordan Davis, White Knoll has some ground to make up after a 2-5 start this season.
Coached by Derek Wilson, the Raiders are off to a strong start in their quest to improve on last years bottom-of-the-region finish. At 2-0, Keenan starts off at the top of Region 3-2A, and looks to keep it going with its big bats.
Akilah Imani Nelson