The Nor-Am High School League (NAHS) is counting down the minutes until Opening Day for their second season, and the kids are ready to play baseball!
New for this year will be a playoff qualification change that eliminates Division 2 teams from both conferences from a playoff spot – meaning the shot at a promotion is ever more important as a season end goal for these teams.
Last season, in the Independent Schools (INDY) Conference, Dodgers Baseball Academy and Miami Sports Academy were both sent down to Division 2 after placing in the bottom two positions of the standings. The Dodgers Academy ended the season at 19-23, while Miami finished 12-30.
Their spots in Division 1 were replaced with Niagara Academy (31-11) and York Academy (28-14). York garnered the lead in run scoring last year, and this season are the INDY Conference favorites to finish first in the playoff seeding.
A first-place finish now earns a bye for Round 1, a desirable advantage for the high school postseason.
York’s rookie sophomore Bill Whimster, a speedy center fielder with incredible range, could be a big factor this year. So could seasoned senior Dale Johnson, who hit .339 and had 7 homers and 32 RBIs last season. Both are ranked in the top 5 for their positions in the NAHS.
The addition of Whimster helps propel York to the top of the predicted NAHS rankings. The #2 team in the rankings is Great Lakes HS Warlords, based in Rochester, NY, which has the #2 newcomer in high school baseball, LHP Antonio Cueneca, a hard-throwing 15-year-old freshman from Mexico City.