Unveiling the 2016 ‘Diamond Nine’ top prep players of 2016 — including an O’s draftee
The high school baseball season officially came to a close Sunday evening with the completion of the annual Brooks Robinson All-Star Game at Camden Yards.
In the game, which featured 30 of the top senior players from across the state, the South team scored five times in the first four innings and held on for a 5-2 win over the North.
A pair of Archbishop Spalding players led the South squad. Left-hander Tyler Blohm – spoiler alert: there’s more on him below – started and had four strikeouts in two innings. Meanwhile, teammate Billy Godrick – another spoiler alert: more on him below, too – hit a solo home run to left field and also singled in three at-bats.
So now it’s time to close the book on the 2016 high school baseball season in Maryland by unveiling our inaugural BaltimoreBaseball.com Diamond Nine. Our picks for the top nine players in the Baltimore area – regardless of position — were made after consulting with coaches and reviewing statistics and information that was available to us.
The first Diamond Nine includes six seniors, one junior and two sophomores. There are three players from the MIAA A Conference – including two from three-time defending champion Archbishop Spalding – as well as two players each from Anne Arundel County, Harford County and Howard County.
Here are this year’s selections, listed alphabetically…
BALTIMOREBASEBALL.COM’S 2016 DIAMOND NINE
Jeremy Arocho, Old Mill, junior
The 5-foot-10, 160-pound switch-hitter batted .435 overall at the top of the lineup for the Patriots this season. Arocho, a shortstop who committed last July to play at Maryland, had 17 RBIs and scored 24 runs for Old Mill. He also stole 15 bases and had 12 extra-base hits. In the Class 4A East Region Section I semifinal against county rival Arundel, Arocho had an RBI triple in the fifth inning as the Patriots earned a 9-5 win. Their season ended two days later with a 2-0 loss to Severna Park in the sectional final.
Tyler Blohm, Archbishop Spalding, senior
Blohm, the Orioles’ 17th-round selection in the 2016 Major League Baseball first-year-player draft, led the Cavaliers to their third consecutive MIAA A Conference title last month. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound left-hander finished his senior season with a 9-0 record and a 0.74 ERA. Blohm, who earned the BaltimoreBaseball.com Prep Ballplayer of the Week award in Week 6, struck out 103 hitters and walked just 13 in 66 innings for Spalding. In his final regular-season game, Blohm struck out 15 of the 19 batters he faced in six innings during an 11-3 rout over Archbishop Curley. His fastball sits in the upper 80s and has touched as high as 91 mph. He’s deciding between going pro with the Orioles’ organization or going to college to play at the University of Maryland – a tough call.
Casey Crawford, Howard, senior
Crawford, who led the Lions to the Class 4A state championship as an All-Howard County quarterback in football, excelled as a two-way player on the diamond this spring. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound right-hander was 7-2 with a 0.60 ERA in 10 games (eight starts). He struck out 33 hitters and allowed just four earned runs in 47 innings. At the plate, Crawford – who played infield when he wasn’t on the mound – batted .415 and had a team-high 21 RBIs. In the state playoffs, he pitched a shutout in a 5-0 win over Sherwood. Crawford will play baseball at Division III Bridgewater in Virginia next year.
Billy Godrick, Archbishop Spalding, senior
As I mentioned above, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound center fielder capped an illustrious high school career with a home run at Camden Yards on Sunday. As a senior, Godrick batted .455 with four home runs, 26 RBIs and 42 runs for the Cavaliers. He also had nine doubles and 12 stolen bases. In the decisive game of the MIAA A Conference championship series, Godrick was 2-for-3 with an RBI, a run scored and two stolen bases. Godrick, who didn’t make an error all season, will play next year at Fordham.
DaVonn Griffin, Hammond, senior
A four-year varsity player, Griffin – who split time between shortstop and the outfield – batted .374 and had 52 stolen bases in 54 attempts in his high school career. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound senior hit .417 with three home runs, six doubles and 23 runs scored in 20 games this season. He led Howard County with 20 stolen bases. Griffin started the year with seven hits in his first 10 at-bats and scored six runs in those three games. He was selected for the Brooks Robinson game and will play in college at James Madison.
Spencer Horwitz, St. Paul’s, senior
Horwitz, a left-handed hitter, put on an offensive show for the Crusaders as a senior this spring. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound catcher and infielder hit .543 with 25 extra-base hits (15 doubles, five home runs, five triples) and 40 RBIs. He reached base 65 percent of the time. And that’s after Horwitz batted .475 with 12 doubles and two triples as a junior in 2015. In an 18-15 win – yes, you read that score correctly – over Archbishop Curley on April 19, Horwitz had two home runs and a double. He’ll play next year at Radford.
Jack Jenkens, Bel Air, senior
Jenkens led the Bobcats to the Class 4A state championship this year with his play on the mound and at the plate. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound left-hander was 8-1 with a 1.50 ERA in 12 games (nine starts) and hit .366 with a team-high 21 RBIs. Jenkens pitched a no-hitter in Bel Air’s postseason opener – a 10-0, six-inning win over Parkville – and threw five innings in the state title game as the Bobcats broke away for an 8-1 win over Quince Orchard. He’ll continue his baseball career at Division II Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania.
Austin Koehn, Patterson Mill, sophomore
With the 5-foot-11, 155-pound right-hander on the mound for more than 40 percent of the time this spring, the Huskies marched to the Class 1A state championship game. Koehn, who pitched in 14 of Patterson Mill’s 25 games, finished with a 10-1 record and 1.42 ERA in 69 innings. He had 62 strikeouts and walked just 18 batters. Koehn pitched a complete game and struck out six hitters in the Class 1A North regional final as the Huskies beat McDonough, 4-1.
Joe Seidler, Chesapeake-Anne Arundel, sophomore
In 27 games this spring, Seidler batted .392 with 19 RBIs and eight extra-base hits (five doubles, one triple, two home runs). But the 6-foot-2, 195-pound right-hander’s work on the mound is what led the Cougars to the Class 3A state championship game. Seidler finished 11-1 with a 0.87 ERA in 15 appearances. He struck out 63 batters and allowed just 46 hits in 72 2/3 innings for Chesapeake. Seidler’s only loss came in the state title game, when he gave up four runs (two earned) in the seventh against Huntingtown after holding the Hurricanes scoreless for the first six innings.
Other nominees (listed alphabetically): Gunnar Barnard, Marriotts Ridge; Andrew Cotton, Bel Air; Camden Cregger, Francis Scott Key; Spencer Dietrich, Severna Park; Shawn Dignazio, Kenwood; John Fitzgerald, Gilman; Kieran Garner, River Hill; Jake Getzendanner, Catonsville; David Harding, Archbishop Spalding; Charles Harmon, Dundalk; David Hutchison, Hammond; Blake James, Atholton; Brandon Martin, Westminster; Jacob Michael, Patterson Mill; Kody Milton, Severna Park; Alex Parker, McDonogh; Stephen Pelli, St. Mary’s; Michael Prosperi, Arundel; Zack Radcliffe, Bel Air; Jack Schroeder, Mount Hebron; Carter Sears, Archbishop Spalding; Barrett Smith, Archbishop Spalding; Trevor Sprinkle, Calvert Hall; Zach Stoll, Mount Saint Joseph; Michael Yetter, Bel Air; Sean Zaranski, Mount Saint Joseph; Elliot Zoellner, St. Mary’s.
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