Originally written on SeaTown Sports  |  Last updated 5/6/12

                                                             Steve Cox Memorial Field (Photo Credit: Seattle Prep)

It has finally arrived, the Metro Baseball Tournament! This is only the first step towards conquering the state title. So far this season the Metro League has been dominated by one team, Seattle Prep. Can anyone take them down? Prep is the favorite to win this tournament and will be looking to capture their second consecutive Metro Championship. The winner of this event not only takes home a trophy, but earns a berth to State as the No. 1 team from the Metro League. Teams that finish in second and third place will also earn a berth to State. This is a double-elimination. Who are the sleepers? Players to watch? SeaTown Sports is here to answer those questions and preview your team’s chances of winning this tournament. Plus we predict the winner. READ OUR IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS AFTER THE JUMP!!

Here is a link to the bracket: http://www.scribd.com/mason_kelley_1/d/92545869-Copy-of-2012-Metro-League-Baseball-Tournament-Bracket-May-5

Round 1: All of the first round games are on Monday, May 7, 2012

Game 1: (4) O’Dea vs. West Seattle (1) 3:45 p.m. Hiawatha Field UPSET ALERT

O’Dea (11-6): The Irish barely made it into the tournament, beating Bainbridge in their final game of the season. This team has been up and down the entire year. They’ve played great ball when it matters, against teams like Blanchet, Eastside and Seattle Prep, but have struggled against weak competition in Lakeside and Ingraham. The starting pitching of the Irish is strong with Tony Davila and Dylan Wade, but behind them there is not much. Hitting wise, O’Dea is pretty solid, having a strong leadoff hitter in Josh Dickerson and power hitters Will Schmitt, Pierre LeDorze and Sam Moran driving in runs. I like O’Dea pulling off the upset over West Seattle, if the offense can produce.

West Seattle (9-8): The Wildcats started out the year strong and then struggled at the end. They’ll have home field advantage against O’Dea Monday and that is always important. The Wildcats have one of the best pitchers in the league, Sam Hellinger. Whenever he is on the hill, it seems West Seattle is playing their best ball. After Hellinger, the Wildcats have nobody, which could affect them if they advance in the tournament. I expect them to throw Hellinger against O’Dea. West Seattle’s biggest strength is their hitting, lead by Jeff Freeman. The Wildcats will have a chance in this one if they throw Hellinger, but I still put them on upset alert.

Prediction: 4-2 O’Dea

Game 2: (3) Nathan Hale vs. (2) Eastside Catholic, 4:00 p.m. Bannerwood Sports Park

Nathan Hale (9-9): The Raiders started the year off slow, but finished the end of the season on a high note. Notable wins were against O’Dea (5-3) and West Seattle (14-5). Their best pitcher is Julijs Pruzinskis, who shut down O’Dea and gave up only three runs against Seattle Prep. Max Bridgeman (.404, 19 H, 18 RBI) is the team’s best hitter. Hale has struggled on offense against tougher competition against teams like Eastside and Prep. If the Raiders are going to have any shot at winning this game, their hitting must be excellent tomorrow.

Eastside Catholic (12-6): The Crusaders in my mind are the second best team in the league. Alex Foley (35 K) and Blake Gillespie (33 K) are the best pitchers on this team. Eastside does have a strong relief pitcher in Travis Ulvested. Eastside is known for their hitting, lead by Jeff Bohling (.340, 18 H, 14 RBI) and Braden Wolgamott (.383, 18 H, 13 RBI). We already know the offense will produce, but if the pitching is strong as well, the Crusaders have a legitimate shot at not only winning this game, but winning this tournament. If they win tomorrow, they possibly will have a tough second round matchup with O’Dea.

Prediction: Eastside Catholic 6-2

Game 3: (4) Ingraham vs. (1) Seattle Prep 3:30 p.m. Steve Cox Memorial Field

Ingraham (4-11): The Rams are only in this tournament because of how weak the Metro Sound Division is. Let’s already make it clear, the Rams will not defeat Seattle Prep tomorrow. There is no way this team is taking down the best team in state. Some players to watch on this team are Jack Perrow and Trevor Fay. The Rams’ best pitcher is Brandon Kneeland. It will be tough tomorrow to be a Rams fan.

Seattle Prep (19-0): By far the best team in this league. The pitching rotation of Jack Roger, Nate Richards, and Max Winklehake has been unhittable this year. Don’t forget the bullpen has been solid too, with Brady Price and Gavin Lewis leading the charge. At the plate, the Panthers have one of the best offenses in the league led by Metro Player of the Year candidate Nick Pribble. Stuart Fairchild is another strong hitter on this Prep squad, but any of these hitters can have a big game. The game against Ingraham will be a piece of cake, but the possibility of facing Blanchet in the second round will be tough. Overall they are the favorites to win this tournament.

Prediction: Seattle Prep 10-0

Game 4: (3) Bishop Blanchet vs. (2) Chief Sealth 6:00 p.m. Southwest Athletic Complex UPSET ALERT

Blanchet (12-8): The Braves are another team that has been up and down this entire year. They’ve swept Eastside Catholic and 10-runned O’Dea, but lost to West Seattle and Bainbridge.  Even with the loss of Max Englebrekt, there pitching has been strong with Cory Brown and Eric Kimpton, along with closer Max Schwabe. Hitting is a strong point for this team. As I have said before, Blanchet might have the most dangerous trio in the league with Nate Backes, Peter Johnson and Eric Kimpton. Blanchet’s offense will not be a problem against Sealth, but the pitching must be strong to pull off the upset. Sealth did defeat Blanchet in the regular season, but Blanchet is the better team in this matchup. If the Braves win tomorrow, it will make for an interesting matchup with Seattle Prep in the second round.

Chief Sealth (13-7): The Seahawks are the most surprising team this year. They defeated West Seattle, Blanchet and played tough against O’Dea and Prep. Whenever I count this team out, they always seem to find a way to win. They are the higher seed and No. 1 team from the Metro Sound, but that’s not saying much. The Seahawks’ offense is lead by Izac Bauer. They have a great knuckleball pitcher in Blaine Steele. This will be a close game and if Steele pitches tomorrow, it could give this Braves team problems. I still like Blanchet to pull off the upset, but don’t count out the Seahawks.

Prediction: Blanchet 5-4

3rd place: O’Dea

2nd place: Eastside Catholic

Champion: Seattle Prep: The Panthers have too much talent to not win this tournament. Their pitching is solid along with their hitting and they’ll defeat Eastside Catholic in Championship game. It will be close but pitching will be the key in that game, which Prep easily has the advantage in.

--Evan Baron (BaselineBaron09)

Follow my twitter account and @seatownsports, @KevinCacabelos for updates on each game. We’ll do our best to keep you updated with this tournament.

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