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The Bob Jones baseball team has been invited to attend one of the elite tournaments in the country as the Patriots will travel to North Carolina for the USA National High School Invitational April 1-4. Photo Contributed

Bob Jones Baseball Invited To Play In “Gold Standard” Elite National Tournament

MADISON-  The defending Class 7A state runner-up Bob Jones Patriots baseball team will see the first pitch of the 2020 season on Feb. 13 at Grissom High, but already many fans are looking to the first four scheduled days of April as what could be the highlight of the upcoming spring season.

The Patriots have been invited to be among 16 teams to compete in the 2020 USA National High School Invitational (NHSI) in the North Carolina Town of Cary. The ninth annual event will take place April 1-4 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, which is part of the Research Triangle of both Raleigh and Durham.

“What a great honor it is to be included in such and elite event and we’re extremely excited for the entire program as Bob Jones is just the fifth team from Alabama to ever participate in the tournament and we’re not taking the experience for granted,” said Jared Smith head coach of Bob Jones. “It’s a privileged to be selected and we look forward to the higher level of play than we have experienced, but we expect to go there and show we belong among the best teams.”

Bob Jones will be the only team from Alabama to play in the event that will feature teams from a total of nine states, led by California and Florida with four teams each.

The NHSI is a single elimination championship caliber tournament with each participating team guaranteed to play four games. The championship game will be played Saturday, April 4 at 6:00 p.m.

Three-time defending tournament champions, Orange Lutheran High of Orange, Calif. return to the NHSI. The Lancers have won its last 13 consecutive games at the NHSI dating back to 2014. The squad won the tourney title 2017-2019.

“In its sterling history, the NHSI has drawn elite baseball talent and the premier prep teams from across the United States for a truly one-of-a-kind tournament,” said Paul Seiler USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO. “This year will be no different. We look forward to welcoming all 16 teams.”

“I know the tournament is difficult to get into so I reached out a couple years ago knowing what sort of talent we had in our program,” said Smith in his fifth season as head coach. “I was told we would be a candidate. I approached the parents of our players and explained to them about this great honor. It will take about $650 for each person attending and we’ve been raising money to help with the costs of the multi-day trip.”

Bob Jones was state runner-up in 2019 losing to McGill-Toolen in a three-game series for the ages losing the third and deciding game 7-6. The Patriots finished last year’s campaign 42-10, but have seven starters and 13 seniors returning from last year’s squad including five first team All-State selections- Dylan Ray, Mitchell Daly, Cam Hill, Caden Rose and Sam Maynard.

“I was hired five years ago and was expected to make this program highly regarded in the state,” said Smith.

Smith has certainly lived up to his expectations as the NHSI is regarded as the “gold-standard” event in high school baseball.

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Digital version of The Madison Record – Sept. 9, 2020

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