Baseball team has a big shot at national tournament

Zoe Evans , News Editor

     The Raiders baseball team has a chance to compete on a national stage in April of 2020. On Tuesday, Jan. 13 the USA Baseball organization released a statement that the Raiders were chosen to compete in the National High School invitational among 16 other high schools from nine states in the nation.  This is a highly honorable accomplishment to be chosen from the thousands of teams out of the country.

     “USA Baseball is excited to continue celebrating high school baseball on the national stage with the ninth annual National High School Invitational,” said USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO Paul Seiler. “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, and this year will be no different. We look forward to welcoming all sixteen teams, their families and their fans to our National Training Complex for an unforgettable baseball experience.”

     Last season the Raiders proved to be exceptional. The team had to the best season yet. They finished the season 21-7 and advanced to the NCHSAA Class 4-A West Region final series state championships to lose to Mooresville High School in May.

     “We were chosen, I believe, because we have a pretty successful program the last couple of years,” said Coach Gary Nail. “We have several players that are Division 1 college recruits/commits that will be playing at major college baseball programs. We also have a couple of players that are considered possible Major League baseball draft picks.”  

     “This is a huge honor for our school and team, being able to play and compete with the best high school teams in the county and to show that we can play with the best and are one of the best in the whole county is amazing,” said senior Danny Beal. 

     In coach Nail’s 28 years of coaching baseball, this is a high distinction for him and his team as he has never been invited to a tournament like this. Nail has shaped Reagan baseball into an amazing program in the eight years he has been here. 

     “It is a compliment and an honor to our program and our players. We are really excited and thankful to have been invited,” Nail said. 

     Reagan was the only team chosen from North Carolina. They will compete at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, NC and the Raiders will serve as the hosts for the single elimination rounds since they are the closest in distance.

     “Playing for a national title means everything to me and I wouldn’t want it to be with any other group of guys,” said junior Josh Hartle.

     The Raiders are preparing to take on baseball teams from all across the country, as far as Calirfornia on April 1-4.

     “Just like any other game, it will be a challenge with our schedules and our normal routines being thrown off, from getting on a bus and going to unfamiliar territory but I know that the coaches and the leaders on the team will help us get in the right mindsets right for what will be one of the most fun times we will have ever have playing baseball,” Beal said.