Preps: Tigers, Sharks in top 10; reclassification on hold

The South Carolina Baseball Coaches Association released its preseason high school baseball poll on Wednesday, and a pair of Grand Strand teams made the top 10.

Conway is ranked fifth in the Class 4A poll and St. James is picked sixth in the Class 3A rankings, giving the Grand Strand a pair of early contenders for state titles in the largest classifications.

The Tigers are coming off a disappointing season that ended with back-to-back playoff losses in the district tournament. But they return a solid lineup, led by highly rated pitcher Grant Holmes.

The Sharks were expected to undergo a rebuilding year last season with the loss of eight seniors but caught fire late in the year to defend their region title and advance to the Lower State finals. College of Charleston commit Anders Deshields is back to lead a loaded roster.

Baseball and softball practice open statewide on Monday.

CLASS ACT: The SCHSL has decided to delay its final decision on 2014-15 and 2015-16 football reclassification until April, giving schools limited time for scheduling and other planning that must be made well in advance.

The SCHSL’s call has three choices: Get bigger, get smaller or stay the same. The latter seems unlikely now that two unique proposals have been put forth and gained support. One calls for a move to five classes, the other three classes with each division playing for two state championships.

The choice will have a big impact on Grand Strand schools. A five-class system would create a Grand Strand super-conference. Under current enrollment numbers, Conway, Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Socastee and St. James would be in the same 4A region while Carolina Forest would move up to 5A.

The three-class system being proposed by Conway coach Chuck Jordan and Gilbert coach and AD Barry Harley calls for reduced travel. The SCHSL is awaiting updated enrollment figures before making a final determination.

Photo by Rancier Photography

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