2024 Season Preview: Brooks DeBartolo, Chamberlain, Riverview, Tampa Bay Tech

With preseason games going on this week, we thought we would preview our Hillsborough County squads leading into the 2024 regular season. We’ll release previews on a handful of teams a day leading up to our BIG 813Preps Top 15 Preseason Rankings on Sunday.

[Teams were selected in order of coaches’ response to our survey; then listed in alphabetic order]

Brooks DeBartolo

Coach: Frank Scimeca (Sixth season)
Last Year’s Record: 3-22
Outlook: The Phoenix will be the only team in the 813 to get its season underway on President’s Day this Monday, hosting Indian Rocks Christian, while the remainder of the county waits until Tuesday or Wednesday. Brooks DeBartolo graduated its two leading pitchers (longtime contributors Ethan Corscadden and Jimmy Curtis), but have returners Joe DiCecco and Van Gannon to lead the pitchers after combining for more than 40 innings last year. Both will be factors for the Phoenix offense, along with junior Dominick Valley.

Brooks DeBartolo junior 1B Dominick Valley

Players to Watch: Joe DiCecco, Jr, P/C/IF (20 hits, 13 RBI; 17 K’s in 28 2/3 innings); Van Gannon, Jr, P/IF (six RBI, six runs); Dominick Valley, Jr, 1B (nine RBI).

Our Take: The Phoenix are young with a few players that saw significant playing time last year, so a lot of new players are going to get in the mix quickly this year. Some freshmen additions should get starts right away, and junior transfer Messiah Williams (Hillsborough HS) should give Brooks some help on the mound. Class 3A-District 5 will make for a very tough postseason (with front-runners Berkeley Prep and Tampa Catholic), but the Phoenix will get a good midseason test as a competitor in the Saladino Bronze tournament. Regular Season Prediction: 5-20


Coach: Stephen Martin (First season)
Last Year’s Record: 11-13
Outlook: Former Newsome assistant Stephen Martin takes over at his alma mater, leading the Storm after his the team posted its best season in decade in 2023. Chamberlain senior Yadiel Garcia kept his team in games, appearing on the mound 11 times for 63 innings, and is a good piece to build around. Martin said his focus will be implementing “a new culture with a college baseball atmosphere.”

Chamberlain senior P/1B Yadiel Garcia

Players to Watch: Yadiel Garcia, Sr, LHP/OF/1B (.300, 13 RBI; 4-4, 2.00 ERA and 69 K’s); Jaden Hyde, Jr, CF (10 RBI); Jonathan Torna, Soph, C (transfer from Miami Columbus; projected starting catcher).

Our Take: Last season saw Chamberlain winning games against opponents who also finished shy of the .500 mark, which is great. But we’d love to see them take that next step forward and show a little more consistency against EVERY opponent. After averaging two errors per game last season, limiting those mistakes will keep the Storm in games. Jefferson is the likely favorite in 4A-10, but the district is ripe for a surprise team to push its way to the final and potentially to the region tournament. Regular Season Prediction: 13-12


Coach: Garrett Thompson (First season)
Last Year’s Record: 8-15
Outlook: The Sharks picked up a new head coach just a month before the season, as TBT skipper Garrett Thompson moved to his alma mater in mid-January to lead the way in 2024. Riverview won the Saladino Silver tournament last spring, but hit a rough patch in the second half, dropping eight-straight (six-of-eight of those to region qualifiers), before closing the regular season with a pair of wins. Unfortunately, from that team the Sharks lost three seniors and had four players transfer out. Senior pitcher Elijah Tishman and Caiden Kamrad will need to step up as leaders, while plenty of underclassmen will get on the field. A midseason return from injury for co-captain Michael Sims-Gallagher (45 K’s in 42ip) will definitely help the pitching staff.

Riverview senior P/1B Elijah Tishman

Players to Watch: Elijah Tishman, Sr, LHP/1B (10 hits, five runs; projected No. 1); Jeff Berrios, Sr, RHP (21 K’s in 23ip); Ronald Blake, Sr, RF (two-sport athlete).

Our Take: The Sharks may take some lumps this season, but there are games to be won on the schedule. If the younger players find a rhythm fast, this could be a season where Riverview produces a similar regular season as last year. But the hope here is that Thompson is able to keep the youngsters in house, get them experience this year and rebuild a Riverview tradition that saw the team winning 17-to-20 games during the head coach’s high school playing days. Regular Season Prediction: 7-18

Tampa Bay Tech

Coach: Chris Rojo (First season)
Last Year’s Record: 3-21
Outlook: Garrett Thompson’s mid-January departure to take over his alma mater’s program at Riverview, the Titans made a quick transition to Chris Rojo, who took over the job earlier this week. On the field, TBT has some athletes returning from last season’s team and the Titans upperclassmen were out working even without an official coach in place this spring. The offense will be led by seniors Matthew Rojas, Sadarian Austin, and speedster Javion McKay, while the pitching staff has key returners in junior Luke Jones and sophomore Jeremy Bass.

TBT senior Javion McKay slides home

Players to Watch: Matthew Rojas, Sr, RF (.377, 15 RBI, seven doubles); Javion McKay, Sr, LF/2B (.242, 18 runs, 26 stolen bases); Sadarian Austin, Sr, CF (.263, 10 RBI).

Our Take: We saw a few tags from players on social media putting in work while the school went through the process of finding a new coach, and we love the commitment to their program. Last season, the Titans found ways to score runs but the pitching and defense struggled to keep them in games. TBT only graduated one pitcher, so the younger group from last season should see that group improve. We’d love to see the two-sport standout, McKay (with 16 career receiving TDs for the Titans football team) chase the 30 stolen base mark. Regular Season Prediction: 6-17