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2009 - RivalsHigh Baseball Top 50 | Rivals High | last sorted on 6/22/2009

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Gorman Wins National Title

A 35-game winning streak despite a difficult schedule, a fourth consecutive Nevada state baseball title and losses by teams ranked ahead of them propelled Las Vegas’ Bishop Gorman Gaels to’s national high school baseball championship.

The Gaels were the preseason No. 1 but didn’t play like one, losing three of their first four games in the Big League Dugout Invitational in Scottsdale, Ariz. Then, despite a pregame, on-field pep talk by the seniors, they were trailing 7-0 in their fifth game against Canyon del Oro of Tucson, Ariz.

That’s when the Gaels’ bats awoke, and they rallied for a 12-8 victory.

Those bats didn’t go to sleep for quite some time. That victory marked the beginning of a 35-game winning streak in which the Gaels outscored their opponents 513-69, with scores – including games that ended 29-3, 30-2 and 27-0 – that would have been lopsided on the football field.

“Before we knew it, we were 1-3 and it was like you had to turn the jets on,” Bishop Gorman coach Chris Sheff said. “I don’t think anybody panicked, I just think they knew that we were going to be a good club.”

The comeback against Canyon del Oro was a turning point.

“We didn’t play terrible in our first four games,” Sheff said. “We didn’t play terrible – we just didn’t do enough to win. In that game, we get down 7-0, and we’re not playing well at all, and I’m like, ‘OK, well maybe something’s going to go on here. Maybe we’re not going to have such a great year.’ And then the kids at bat responded, we took the lead and won that game, and everything from that point forward, we just kind of rolled.”

Believing they no longer had a chance at a national championship in any poll, the Gaels didn’t lose from March 18 until May 15, when they stumbled in the Sunset Regional title game against crosstown Cimarron-Memorial – a loss that senior Jeff Malm called “kind of a blessing in disguise” after the team’s lengthy winning streak.

“We came out and we played with a chip on our shoulder the last few games – the state play-in game and then the state,” Malm said. “We played with a lot more intensity and more drive from all of our players.”

In the play-in game, the Gaels defeated Las Vegas High, led by Sports Illustrated’s “chosen one” cover story subject Bryce Harper, 10-6. Victories over Green Valley and Douglas High put them in the state championship game May 23 for a rematch against Cimarron-Memorial, where a 3-1 victory gave the Gaels their fourth consecutive state title.

Despite the impressive résumé, the Gaels (40-4) weren’t in national championship position after the victory. But Notre Dame Prep in Scottsdale, Ariz.; Bellaire High School in Bellaire, Texas; Callalen High School in Corpus Christi, Texas; and Foy H. Moody High School in Corpus Christi all lost, paving the way for Bishop Gorman to rise to the top of the rankings.

The Gaels were led by five seniors who signed with Division I college programs this year, but they had only three pitchers with varsity experience. Malm, a first baseman and left-handed pitcher, was drafted in the fifth round by the Tampa Bay Rays and will either end up in that team’s system or will go to college at USC. R.J. Santigate, an infielder and right-handed pitcher, was drafted in the 44th round by the Los Angeles Angels. He has signed with Long Beach State.

During his four-year career, Malm tied the national record for career hits with 277, the last one a single in the state championship game. He also struck out four of the five batters he faced as a closer in that game. But his leadership went beyond statistics. During his freshman year, he boldly told Sheff that the team would win four straight state championships. To that point, it had never won one.

The victory was a sweet one for the seniors, some of whom, including Malm, cried openly. Malm said it was a special victory given all that the team had achieved and overcome.

“Us seniors when we came in, we won the first state championship in school history our freshman year,” Malm said. “We didn’t want to ever have to go out with that feeling of losing, especially your senior year. The adversity that we had come through earlier in the year – and then to have to come back and lose in the regional championship and play our way back into state – it was just a real joy for us to be able to win.”

1Bishop GormanLas VegasNV40-42
Stock Rising Despite a slow start Gorman comes back and ends the season No. 1 with Moody's loss in the Texas finals. Won 4A State tite.
Won 4A State Title. Naples had a case for a national title after winning the Florida Class 4A state title.
Won Class 3A State Title The only major conference undefeated team in the country. Sumrall has now won back-to-back state titles.
Won 3A State Title. Farragut made it to the top spot this season before suffering a setback. They end the year with a very respectable Top 5 finish.
Won 6A State Title. The Rams have taken home three straight 6A state titles in Oklahoma and are a model for constant success in baseball.
Won 5A State Title. Northshore dominated New Orleans metro this year and won states.
Won Texas 5A State Title. The Bulldogs averaged 11.3 runs per game this season and came from seemingly nowhere to win states.
Won Class 6A State Title. Alonso made an impressive run to a 6A title after an early loss to Gaither.
9Pendleton (IMG Academy)BradentonFL31-110
Season Complete IMG can not compete in state tournaments however they are rewarded for playing a very impressive schedule.
10Desert RidgeMesaAZ29-518
Won Arizona Class 5A Division II State Title. The best team in Arizona deserves to be in the Top 10 at seasons end.
Won Class 4A State Title. The Bombers claim their second state title in three seasons.
Won Florida Class 3A State Title. Bolles made a national statement by bettering American Heritage and Pensacola Catholic to win states.
Won Texas 4A State Title. Slade Heathcott lead Texas High to a win over Moody and a Top 15 finish to the season.
14Foy H Moody SchoolCorpus ChristiTX37-41
Moody lost their chance at a state and national title in one heartbreaking 4-3 loss to Texas High.
15Capistrano ValleySan Juan CapistranoCA22-4NR
Stock Rising Tyler Matzek lead Cap Valley to a CIF Southern Section Title.
16EdisonHuntington BeachCA23-616
The Chargers did almost enough to finish in the Top 10 by winning the Sunset League. Had they beat Capistrano Valley they would have been tops in California.
Won Class AAA State Title. Donavan Tate and squad made a post season charge and took the AAA state title in Georgia.
Third straight L.A. City Section Championship for Chatsworth.
19CalallenCorpus ChristiTX34-34
Guilt by association for Calallen. Had Moody won states Calallen could have clinged to a higher spot.
20Mater DeiSanta AnaCA24-614
Mater Dei may have peaked too soon as they won the Anderson Bat Classic and then rode out the season looking somewhat average and very inconsistent.
21Carl AlbertMidwest CityOK37-423
Won Class 5A State Title. Oklahoma's other dominant team. The second state title in three years for Carl Albert.
22MenchvilleNewport NewsVA26-240
Won Class 3A State Title. Menchville moves up to the No. 1 spot in Virginia with a win in the states top class.
Beating the former No. 1 team (Bellaire) in the playoffs keeps you in the final rankings.
Won AAAAA State Title. Winning the biggest class in a power state gets you in the Top 25.
25De La SalleWarrenMI30-533
Won Division I State Title. The Pilots eeked out a 3-2 win over Saline for a state title and a national Top 25 finish.
26South ForkStuartFL29-3NR
Won Florida 5A State Title. South Fork won 5A, but that was not one of the better classes in Florida.
27Greenbrier Christian AcademyChesapeakeVA28-221
Won VISAA State Title. Virginia was a tight battle for the best team - Greenbrier was edged narrowly by Menchville.
Won 5A State Title. Oh, they also won 50 games.
Won Class 2A State Title. Some argue Poquoson could have won 3A.
Bellaire reached No. 1 in the national ranking before a tough playoff loss. A great season none-the-less.
31Rocky MountainFort CollinsCO22-441
Won Colorado 5A State Title. Rocky Mountain repeats as 5A state winners.
32Notre Dame PrepScottsdaleAZ30-224
Losing to Mingus in the state finals was disappointing for a team that could have argued as tops in Arizona until then.
Andrean needs to win this weekend to take states in Indiana.
A loss to Cartersville in the AAA finals derailed a Top 10 season.
Another Cali team with a big name pitcher and some other good parts. Mater Dei ended their season.
Won Independent 3A Title. North Carolina's best team came from the Private School ranks.
37Hunterdon CentralFlemingtonNJ29-142
Hunterdon won the Group 4 title in Jersey and took the No. 1 spot from Don Bosco who usually owns the state.
38Joliet CatholicJolietIL32-5NR
Won Class 3A State Title. The Hilltoppers won with a sixth inning single to break a 1-1 tie.
39CimarronLas VegasNV33-7NR
Three of their seven losses were to No. 1 Bishop Gorman. Although they did get over on the Gaels once.
40Lake BrantleyAltamonte SpringsFL28-435
With a disappointing playoff performance Brantley could have fallen further than 40.
Poway won the CIF San Diego Section Title.
42Rio RanchoRio RanchoNM26-446
Won New Mexico 5A State Title. Beating La Cueva earns them instant respect.
Early season contender for a national title had a stumble to the finish.
44Benton SeniorBentonAR28-2NR
Won Arkansas 6A State Title. The best from Arkansas makes the list.
46Lexington CatholicLexingtonKY28-8NR
Won Kentucky State Title. The title game was in their back yard and they held serve for the win.
47La CuevaAlbuquerqueNM29-248
Had they sealed the deal and beat Rio Rancho - like they did twice in the regular season - they would have finished in the Top 20.
48West OrangeWinter GardenFL27-147
West Orange gets credit for the company they keep in Florida.
Won South Carolina Class 6A title. Defeating Wando for the title gets Gaffney into the Top 50.
50Houston MemorialHoustonTX28-534
The best team in Houston clings to the last spot in the Top 50.

Dropped out: Previous No. 11 Ronald Reagan (San Antonio, TX), No. 19 Walsh Jesuit (Cuyahoga Falls, OH), No. 25 Yuciapa (California), No. 31 El Toro (Lake Forest, CA), No. 32 Sylvan Hills (Sherwood, AR), No. 37 Wando (Mt. Pleasant, SC), No. 38 St. Joseph's (Montvale, NJ), No. 45 Brother Rice (Chicago, IL), No. 49 Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, NJ), No. 50 Germantown Academy (Ft. Washington, PA).

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