Jarrett Guthrie interviews former Jesuit player McGuire Weaver.

Since its inception in 2017, 813Preps.com has come a long way. Valrico resident and founder of the site Jarrett Guthrie has brought on five local journalists to help expand high school baseball game coverage in Hillsborough County. The crew averages anywhere from six to 10 games per week.

The website has a new look after getting revamped in the off-season. The site gained a lot of momentum in 2019, as the staff covered a total of 105 games in the season, along with 25 features, weekly rankings for the 10-week regular season, nightly roundups with box scores and a wrap-up of every game, along with giving postseason awards to the players and traveling to Fort Myers for a week to cover four Hillsborough County teams that made it to the state tournament.

This season, the site has started a weekly baseball notebook that is more feature-driven, as well as weekly top performers. One player is selected by the staff, and the other is chosen from a Twitter poll. Winners receive a T-shirt.

“The growth that the site has had in its first three years was amazing,” said Guthrie, “but the uptick we’ve made from last year to this year with the new website, a commitment to social media, all those things have ticked up and we’re growing our audience, and that’s something that I never really knew if we would ever do.”

813Preps is completely funded by advertisers, sponsors and donations. In August 2019, 813Preps hosted its first annual golf tournament to help fund coverage of the 2020 season. The response from the baseball community was tremendous, with about 110 golfers. Over 20 baskets of items were also donated from businesses to help benefit the fundraiser.

“When I started, it was kind of about getting out there and getting some kids some attention, getting their names recognized for the hard work that student-athletes put in. But now, to see that we have been 100 percent embraced by not just the baseball community, but the high school athletic community as a whole, has been really gratifying,” said Guthrie.

Guthrie was approached by Ben Henderson, Strawberry Crest’s track and field and cross country coach, and Bill Jenkins, Gaither’s track and field and cross country coach, about 813Preps being the platform for a coach-driven content coverage of track and field. The site helps out with the social media coverage and the promotion aspects, and the two coaches provide the coverage.

“I’m very hopeful that this is something that we can do more of in the future,” said Guthrie. To donate or become an advertiser of 813Preps, mesor visit 813Preps.com. For live game coverage, follow 813Preps on Twitter.

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Nick Nahas
Nick Nahas has written for the Osprey Observer since 2016. He has lived in the Valrico area since 2002 and has his bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida. He is dedicated to covering sports in Hillsborough County at every level.