issue206Josh Hotstove










One game, for all the marbles, two nationally recognized teams, one private, one public, Who has the best baseball team? We asked six well respected baseball minds their opinion. From this group, which I promised to keep anonymous, we spoke to four high school baseball coaches, one pro scout and a veteran umpire. All of these men have seen both teams play multiple times this year.
We set the game up with both teams using their ace pitcher, perfect weather conditions, 7:00pm Friday night start on a neutral baseball field with standard high school dimensions.


First let’s look at probable starting lineups for both teams
Charlotte Christian           Providence
John Turley SS                  Andrew Moritz LF
Reece Hampton CF          Jake Holtzapple 3B
Josh Hall LF                       Josh Hiatt P
Dillon Carpenter 1B        Logan Davidson SS
Bailey Lewis RF                Trevor Rhyne 1B
Drew Donathan C            Andrew Fishel C
Davis Waldrop 2B           Satchel Jerzembeck 2B
Miles Gary DH                 Zach Brown RF
Scotty Wallace 3B           Tucker Jones CF

Jackson Kowar P


Now let’s look at some of the comments from the panel
High School Coach 1:         Pick- Charlotte Christian
“I keep going back to Jackson Kowar as the difference. As good as the Providence hitters are, I am not sure that they can put up more than 2-3 runs on Kowar. If Jackson has his best stuff, he could easily have 9-12 strikeouts and that would be very hard to overcome. I have so much respect for both of these teams. Greg and Danny’s kids understand their respective programs and the role that each player fits into. I feel like the top of Christian’s order can put up three runs and the bottom side can add a couple more, even against a pitcher as good as Josh Hiatt. On the flip side, Providence manufactures runs and uses the bunt better than any team in town. If Moritz can get on early in the inning, he is going to be pushed around by Holtzapple and Hiatt. My worry is can the bottom of the order do anything against Jackson Kowar? I believe we would see a 5-2 Charlotte Christian win.”
High School Coach 2:         Pick – Charlotte Christian
“Jackson Kowar on his best day is going to be the player that decides the game. Every time I have watched him pitch, he has been close to unhittable. I have seen Josh Hiatt shut teams down, but I have also seen him go through rough patches mid game. I am not so sure that the Leonard kid wouldn’t be the right choice to pitch this game and let Hiatt focus on hitting and defense. In this scenario, I see Hiatt and his bat keeping this game in play where he focuses simply on hitting and defense. Leonard hits his spots as well as anyone in the area and that could slow down the Christian bats. It would be close, but I am going with Christian.”
High School Coach # 3         Pick – Providence
“The Providence hitters make this one easy for me to pick. I know Kowar is a draft pick pitcher and I know how nasty he can be, but I believe Providence can put up enough runs and Hiatt will be strong on the mound. I really like the Davidson kid and Trevor Rhyne always seems to get the key RBI’s for Providence.”
High School Coach # 4         Pick – Providence
“I know most of the people you spoke to probably side on pitching as being the difference, not me. Providence has too many hitters in their lineup. They are going to score, even off Kowar. Seeing a front line pitcher like Kowar is nothing new for these kids at Providence. Hiatt, Holtzapple and Moritz are so strong at the plate, they will put Providence ahead early and Hiatt will keep the Knights off-balance as he has done all year on the mound. Could be a 5 or 6 run win if Christian makes errors.”


Pro Scout         Pick – Charlotte Christian
“I like what I see from Christian both with their bats and with what Jackson Kowar has done on the mound. I sense that people believe Christian doesn’t play as many good teams as Providence, but there are good and bad teams on both teams schedules. The defense will be good on both sides. I don’t think we would see more than 1 error by either team. Pitching advantage goes to Christian, even against a pitcher as good as Hiatt. Could we maybe play a 1-0 game for about 9 or 10 innings and go to the bullpen? Wouldn’t that be great for Charlotte baseball. I hate these teams don’t play every year.


Umpire         Pick – Providence
“Josh Hiatt may not get the pitching headlines that Jackson Kowar gets, but he is on the same level as far as high school baseball pitching. When he mixes in all his pitches and the defense plays well behind him, Providence is not going to lose very often, regardless of who they are playing. I also give Providence the edge up the middle. Two great coaches, two super teams, all that is missing is an actual game.”



With all six of our panelists registering their opinions, we end up in a 3-3 deadlock. I thought about breaking the deadlock myself, but to be honest, I have no clue who would win. I see so many unknown factors that could make a difference. The only thing I know for sure? It’s a real shame that these teams didn’t play one another this year. They should play every single year.
Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools will not allow a regular season public-private matchup, so the only option is to play in a spring break tournament. That used to happen in the Jack Sink Tournament, but Providence and others created a new tournament this year and Christian was not in the field. I loved the concept of their tourney – play to a champion, but the mix of teams was lacking and we saw a three conference mates play in a semifinal and a final game. There was no celebration at the end of the tourney and maybe 100 people in attendance.
As many of you know, The South Charlotte Sports Report operates dozens of events every year. I sure would love to add a new event that pitted these two wonderful programs and some other top teams against one another next spring. The fans, the players and the families want to see top teams play. We want to crown a champion and let the best of the best go head to head to answer the question – Who is the best team in the City?
The South Charlotte Sports Report Diamond Classic? I’m game and ready, I just need the teams to play and I will deliver the city what they want, a true champion.
In closing, I want to salute both of these outstanding baseball programs. They are both led by strong coaching staffs and they do a great job of developing their players. Both fields are among the nicest in the city and each has a great support staff of administrators, parents and fans. Congratulations to Charlotte Christian on another state title and if Providence does win their Butler series, we then of course wish them all the best in their chase for a championship.


Reece HamptonWho do you think would win, Vote now