DURHAM, N.C. -- Gainesville High baseball has been turning heads locally for some time. This season the Red Elephants will get a chance to do so nationally, as Gainesville competes in the third annual USA Baseball National High School Invitational, March 26-29 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C.
USA Baseball announced today that the Red Elephants will be one of the 16 teams that will take part in the prestigious event.
Gainesville, which won Region 8-AAAAA last season and reached the Class AAAAA quarterfinals, will compete against fellow Georgia schools Milton and Parkview. Milton, which played in the tournament last season, claimed the 2013 Class AAAAAA title.
Also featured are Venice High School (Venice, Fla.), which finished 2013 No. 2 nationally in the final Baseball America rankings. Teams from Colorado, Alabama, Tennessee and Arizona will also take part, as well as host school T.C. Roberson High School (Asheville, N.C.), which finished third in the 2013 North Carolina state tournament after a loss to the eventual state champions.
"We are excited to continue to host the National High School Invitational," said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball's executive director/CEO. "The quality of competition in the first two years of the event has made this the premier event on the high school baseball calendar, and with the inclusion of some of the best programs in the country, and some of the game's top draft-eligible high school players, this year's NHSI will continue the tradition of excellent competition that has been established."
The NHSI will be a single-elimination championship tournament, with each participating team guaranteed to play four games. An event schedule will be announced as part of an eight-week video series, beginning on Jan. 9, detailing the first-round matchups with analysis from USA Baseball's panel of baseball experts.
The 2014 National High School Invitational will be the first high school event in the nation where every on-field coach will have completed the "Coaching Baseball" course from the National Federation of State High School Association and USA Baseball.
"Having the nation's best high school programs setting the standard in education for all coaches across the country says a lot about their character and speaks volumes of their commitment to the athletes," said Rick Riccobono, USA Baseball's senior director of development.