Lambert baseball’s 36-2 run last season caught the attention of USA Today. Their state championship drew the eyes of USA Baseball, too, so much so that the Longhorns earned an invitational to the elite National High School Invitational (NHSI) from March 25-28, 2015, in Cary, N.C.
The Horns and Whitewater (Fayetteville), the Class AAAAA runner-up last year, are the two Georgia teams in a 16-team field that includes defending state champions from California, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.
“It’ll be a neat thing for the kids,” Lambert athletic director and interim baseball coach Drew Ferrer said. “From what I understand, lots of nationally-ranked players and teams will be there, and lots of college and pro scouts.”
USA Baseball contacted former Lambert coach Jamie Corr about participating in the event, and it was a no-brainer to accept, Ferrer said.
Each team gets four games guaranteed over the four-day event, but the championship bracket itself is single-elimination. Parkview and Milton—both of whom Lambert beat in the state playoffs last year—took part in the 2014 NHSI, as did Gainesville.
Because the tournament is during high school baseball season, Ferrer had to reschedule region games with Habersham Central and Chattahoochee and move what would have been home games to away venues, but coaches have been accommodating, he said.
Among the notable attendees: California Div. II state champion College Park, Mississippi Class AAAAAA runner-up De Soto Central, Tennessee Class AAA champion Farragut, Texas Class AAA champion College Station, and Puyallup, winner of Class AAAA in Washington state.
The other 2015 USA Baseball NHSI participating schools:
• Horizon (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
• J. Serra (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.)
• College Park (Pleasant Hill, Calif.)
• Huntington Beach (Calif.)
• San Clemente (Calif.)
• St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)
• Trinity Prep (Winter Park, Fla.)
• Mosley (Lynn Haven, Fla.)
• Lambert (Suwanee, Ga.)
• Whitewater (Fayetteville, Ga.)
• De Soto Central (Southaven, Miss.)
• Leesville (Raleigh, N.C.)
• Loyalsock (Williamsport, Pa.)
• Farragut (Knoxville, Tenn.)
• College Station (Texas)
• Puyallup (Wash.)