ANTHEM, Ariz. -- Spring tournament season is in full swing in Arizona, as some of the top high school teams from around the nation continue to converge on the desert to gain valuable experience against quality competition and exposure to the scouting community.
This week kicks off the Coach Bob National Invitational, which is a two week tournament. The first week begins with the Open Division, which will feature 48 teams hailing from nine states.
The headliners in the field are defending Oklahoma 6A state champion Broken Arrow (OK), who finished 2011 as the No. 2 ranked team in the nation, and host Boulder Creek (AZ) who boasts the top pitching prospect in the state of Arizona in RHP Tony Blanford.
The tournament field includes four defending state champions, including: Broken Arrow (Oklahoma 6A), Piedra Vista (New Mexico 4A), Regis Jesuit (Colorado 5A) and Sherwood (Oregon 5A).
Coming into the tournament the players that have already made big impressions on the PG scouting staff include: Blanford (ranked No. 167 in class of 2012), Edmond Santa Fe RHP Ty Hensley (No. 38 in class of 2012 ), Broken Arrow LHP Jacob Evans (No. 500 in class of 2012), Broken Arrow RHP Trey Cobb (No. 92 in class of 2013), Piedra Vista OF Shilo McCall (No. 174 in class of 2012) and Sherwood LHP Brett Nielsen (No. 324 in class of 2013). This impressive group will have more company by week's end, with a large number who we have received positive reports on.
We will follow up on these players along with other prospects that stand out in our free daily recap blog featuring scouting notes and video that can be accessed from the Perfect Game homepage. In addition we will be providing live twitter coverage from Ben Collman (@PGbcollman ), Todd Gold (@TGold_PG) and @highschool PG with real-time scouting information and game updates throughout the tournament.
This week's edition of the National Game of the Week will come from the Open Section of the Coach Bob National Invitational with Thursday night's marquee matchup between Broken Arrow (OK) and Boulder Creek (AZ). The matchup will be televised locally on Cox-7 and the probable pitchers are Arizona State commit Tony Blanford and Oklahoma commit Jacob Evans.
Following the Open Section we will post a top prospect list with scouting reports on the players who made the biggest impressions.
The nine states represented in the Open Section of the Coach Bob National Invitational include: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas.
Alaska sends 2009 & 2010 state champion Juneau-Douglas, who has represented Alaska well at the Coach Bob Invitational in recent years, having knocked off a team from the mainland each of their past four trips to the desert.
Arizona's local entrants include Boulder Creek, the No. 1 seed in last year's 5A Division 2 playoffs, O'Connor, a playoff team from a year ago who is off to an 10-2 start in 2012, 2011 4A Division 1 quarterfinalist Prescott, 2011 playoff team Apollo who is off to a 10-2 start in 2012, southern Arizona powerhouse Ironwood Ridge, 2011 playof team Valley Vista, who is off to a 9-2 start in 2012, and 2011 4A playoff team Cococino out of Flagstaff.
Arkansas and Texas each send one representative with with Rogers (AR) and Liberty Christian (TX). New Mexico's back-to-back defending 4A state champions Piedra Vista is joined by crosstown rival and fellow 2011 4A playoff qualifier Farmington. California is well represented with Lowell, a staple of the CIF playoffs from the Bay area with several interesting players. SoCal is represented by Moorpark and Quartz Hill rounding out the contingent from the Golden State.
Colorado has sent a dozen teams to the open section, including defending champion Regis Jesuit. Air Academy 2011 5A playoff qualifier Air Academy who is off to a 4-1 start in 2012, 2011 2A playoff qualifier Parker Lutheran, 2011 4A semifinalist Wheat Ridge, and 2011 4A playoff qualifier Green Mountain.
Eight teams from Oregon have made the trip south to escape the rain and test their mettle against out of state competition, some of whom will be playing their first games of the season in Arizona thanks to the weather in the northwest. 5A state champs Sheldon is joined by a pair of teams that met in the 5A state playoffs in Thurston and Gresham (Thurston won the slugfest 16-10).