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RAVENS ACE A HOT PROSPECT AS DRAFT APPROACHES

Baseball

Alonso senior right-hander Jose Fernandezwill pitch in his third state tournament next week - and hopes to finish his high school career with a second Class 6A state title.

After that, Fernandez will likely be drafted in next month's annual Major League Baseball first-year player draft, and according to Baseball America, his stock is continuing to rise.

In Baseball America's 2011 draft projections released Monday, Fernandez was ranked No. 19 overall, up three spots. He is the 10th-highest high school player.

Last week, a mock draft by Baseball America's Jim Callis had Fernandez being selected No. 24 overall by the hometown Tampa Bay Rays.

Fernandez improved his career postseason record to 10-0 with a 4-2 complete-game win over Orlando Dr. Phillips in Friday's 6A region final. He was clocked as high as 98 mph in the seventh inning.

As a sophomore, Fernandez was the winning pitcher in the Class 6A state title game, a 4-3 win over Miami Columbus. After Alonso lost in the state semifinals last season, Fernandez has a chance to cap his high school career on top.

"This year we're going to fight for it," he said about returning to states after Friday's start. "I'm ready for it. I would pitch in the pros right now if they would let me. I wasn't tired tonight at all."

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Recruiting

Lancers SS commits to USF

Cambridge senior shortstop Zac Gilcrease has committed to play at South Florida, Lancers coach Sam Marsonek said Tuesday. Gilcrease, who was also considering Wake Forest and High Point, is slated to sign his letter of intent Friday at Cambridge.

As a senior, the 6-foot-2, 175-pounder hit .383 with five doubles, two triples and 24 RBIs.

Marsonek said Gilcrease chose the Bulls chiefly for the opportunity to compete for playing time at shortstop right away.

Gilcrease becomes the second player from Class A Cambridge to sign with a Division I-A school, following pitcher Peter Miller (FSU).

"It's big for the program, but it says a lot about him and the work he's put in over the last three years," Marsonek said. "It's a testament to his work ethic."

- Cambridge senior basketball player Rachael Bode has committed to play at Florida Southern College and is planning to sign with the school Friday.

Bode scored 1,343 career points at Cambridge, helping the Lancers to back-to-back Class A region final berths the past two seasons. As a senior, Bode averaged 15.5 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.0 steals and 2.7 assists. She scored in double figures in 19 of 21 games.

- Middleton girls distance-running standout Amber Brooks, who capped her sparkling prep career with a second-place finish in the 800 meters at the recent Class 2A state meet, has committed to North Carolina Central University. She said she'll sign Monday.

- Riverview second baseman Emily Holman and first baseman Kellsey Myers will sign with small-college programs, the school announced. Holman (.312, six doubles, 28 RBIs in 2011) will sign with Division II Saint Leo University. Myers (.200, seven RBIs) will sign with Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas.

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