The local high school baseball season wrapped up three weeks ago. Today we unveil our third annual BaltimoreBaseball.com Diamond Nine. Our picks for the top nine players in the Baltimore area — regardless of position — were made after reviewing statistics and other information available.
This year’s Diamond Nine includes seven seniors and two juniors. There are two players from the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association – both from the ‘A’ Conference. The remaining players participated under the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association – two from Anne Arundel County’s Severna Park, two from Carroll County’s Century High School and one player each from Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Howard County.
Here are this year’s selections, listed alphabetically.
BaltimoreBaseball.com’s 2018 Diamond Nine
Ryan Archibald, Sr., INF/RHP, John Carroll
When Archibald stepped up to the plate in 2018, there was a good chance he’d reach base. The University of Arizona commit posted an on-base percentage of .590 — 52 points higher than his astounding, .538 batting average. The left-handed hitter belted seven home runs, had 30 RBIs, scored 27 runs and added five stolen bases. In 27 2/3 innings pitched, the right-hander struck out 38 batters.
Cameron Clark, Sr., INF/RHP, Severna Park
Clark made his senior year count with the Falcons. He put up strong numbers on the mound and at the plate. The right-hander registered a 2.63 ERA and notched 63 strikeouts. Offensively, Clark batted .440 with five doubles, six home runs and 31 RBIs. He also scored 31 runs, but, most impressive, he struck out only three times.
Nathanael Hibbs, Sr., INF, Century
Hibbs is one of two Century players on this list, and for good reason. The senior hit .493, leading Carroll County in hits (34) and tying with teammate Ethan Kiple for the county lead in home runs (10). Hibbs, who will attend Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla., this fall, had 12 doubles and knocked in 38 runs for the Class 2A state champion Knights.
Ethan Kiple, Sr., INF/RHP, Century
As mentioned above, Kiple slugged 10 homers. But the senior also had a .413 batting average while driving in 42 runs, the most in Carroll County. The Harford Community College commit also dominated on the mound for Century. In 39 1/3 innings, the right-hander notched a 3.38 ERA, recorded 52 strikeouts and won all seven of his decisions.
Ryan Kulick, Jr., INF/RHP, Howard
Kulick, pictured above, had 29 hits this past season for the Lions. And his 29th was the most important — a two-out, two-run double that gave Howard its first state title in the Class 4A championship game against Severna Park. The junior batted .439 with six doubles, 27 RBIs and 18 runs scored. Kulick may have pitched only 19 1/3 innings, but the right-hander had a sub-2.00 ERA while allowing only five runs and striking out 22 hitters.
Tyler Louis, Sr., INF, Douglass
Louis was one the best players this season in Baltimore City. The senior shortstop batted .581 with 23 RBIs. He also hit three home runs and nine doubles while drawing 19 walks. Getting on base so much paid off – he scored 29 runs for the Mighty Ducks.
Kody Milton, Sr., INF, Severna Park
Milton makes our list for a second straight year. The University of Maryland commit mashed the baseball once again. He posted a .514 batting average with eight home runs and 35 RBIs. The son of a former big leaguer – his dad and coach, Eric, was a first-rounder out of Maryland in 1996 and spent 11 seasons as a lefty starter in the majors – Milton was under the microscope his entire prep career and still flourished.
Paul Nixon, Sr., INF/RHP, Archbishop Curley
The Friars earned their first MIAA ‘A’ Conference championship since 2001. Nixon, a Harford Community College commit, was a large part of that. The three-time ‘Prep Ballplayer’ finalist dominated at the plate and on the mound. He batted .412 with eight doubles,10 home runs and 43 RBIs, reaching base at a 47 percent clip. In 61 innings, the right-hander allowed 41 hits and struck out 88 batters. Nixon registered a 2.41 ERA and finished with a 9-2 record (8-1 within the MIAA).
Reggie Shaw, Jr., OF/RHP, Randallstown
Shaw did it all for the Rams this past season. The junior batted .583 and reached base more than 67 percent of the time. He drove in 15 runs and scored 36, thanks to six doubles, seven triples and a homer. He allowed two runs (one earned) in 14 2/3 innings for a 0.42 ERA, surrendering only two hits while striking out 15 batters.