BAXTER’S BLITZ: Midlands area awash in good teams

02/19/2014 11:52 PM

02/19/2014 11:53 PM

WE TALKED about the top Midlands baseball players in the Blitz on Monday. Now, let’s focus on where the top teams from the area fit into the SCVarsity Preseason Top 10 Polls.

In 4A, there are three teams in the top 10, and the three are at the top of the list.

Lexington is coming off of a title win in 2013. Despite losing a king’s ransom of talent to graduation, this team will be in the mix of the top two or three teams in the state at the end of the season. The Wildcats must prove they can manufacture runs, which will be the challenge.

Lexington is followed closely by Sumter, which might be the most loaded 4A team. The Gamecocks could be the team to beat in the Lower State. At the start of the season, I’d say they might be stronger than the Wildcats.

The third contribution to the top 10 is Blythewood. The Bengals return a solid core lineup and will challenge in a tough Upper State group.

4A Top 10: 1. Lexington; 2. Sumter; 3. Blythewood; 4. Dorman; 5. West Ashley; 6. Mauldin; 7. Wando; 8. Conway; 9. Northwestern; 10. Boiling Springs.

In Class 3A, defending state champion A.C. Flora is at the top of the poll again, though repeating is going to be a monstrous task considering the competition in the Upstate.

Airport had an outstanding season in 2013 and, with experience on the hill, comes in at the fourth.

Gilbert is 10th. I’m predicting Gilbert gets a lot better from the first pitch to the postseason and could, potentially, win its region.

3A Top 10: 1. A.C. Flora; 2. Belton-Honea Path; 3. Wren; 4. Airport; 5. Greenville; 6. Socastee; 7. Hartsville; 8. St. James; 9. Emerald 10. Gilbert.

Class 2A has two Midlands teams in the poll.

Mid-Carolina is strong and might compete for a state title. It comes in No. 2 behind Chesnee.

Newberry begins at No. 7, and might get better during the season, but 2A is top-heavy with strength and I don’t see them making a title run.

2A Top 10: 1. Chesnee; 2. Mid-Carolina; 3. Ninety Six; 4. Waccamaw; 5. Bishop England; 6. Liberty; 7. Newberry; 8. Central; 9. Dillon; 10. Chesterfield.

There are no Midlands teams in the Class A poll.

Warning for football players’ parents

I was alerted by several coaches that there are individuals contacting players and soliciting money in exchange for “helping them get into college.”

I followed up and determined that they might be taking advantage of parents and players.

In my opinion, there is nothing these “recruiting services” or “recruiting agents” can do that you cannot do yourself for free.

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