DURHAM, N.C. -- USA Baseball will debut the National High School Invitational (NHSI) in 2012 the federation announced Tuesday, bringing together the best high school programs in the country for what will serve as the premier event on the prep baseball calendar.

The 16-team tournament will be held at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C., from March 28-31, 2012. Top teams from Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina and Texas have been invited to participate. Among the programs that have accepted invitations are Sarasota High School (Sarasota, Fla.), Bishop Gorman High School (Las Vegas), Parkview High School (Lilburn, Ga.) and Brookwood High School (Snellville, Ga.). The event will be sanctioned by the National Federation of State High School Associations and will have a team from North Carolina compete in the tournament as the host.

"The National High School Invitational promises to be a unique event that will help identify the top high school baseball team in the U.S.," said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball executive director/CEO. "With the help of Baseball America, we are confident that the event will be representative of the nation's top teams and talent, and beginning in 2012, we look forward to bringing this one-of-a-kind tournament to baseball fans across the country each spring."

Long-time USA Baseball partner Baseball America is assisting in the invitation process for the event. Baseball America provides in-depth coverage of the high school baseball scene in its bi-weekly magazine and on its website, BaseballAmerica.com. The NHSI will provide it with a unique opportunity to base its top-25 rankings on the result of an event that pits the best teams in the country against one another.

"Baseball America has covered high school baseball from a scouting and player development point of view for 30 years and has seen interest at that level continue to grow," said John Manuel, Baseball America co-editor in chief. "We're excited to be a partner with USA Baseball in beginning a new phase for prep baseball, with a true national tournament where the name on the front of the jersey means more than the name on the back."

The NHSI will be a single-elimination championship tournament, with each participating team guaranteed to play four games. In addition to featuring many of the premier teams, the event will also highlight some of the elite prep talent in the U.S., as well as future prospects for the MLB First-Year Player Draft. Teams that have already committed are excited for the unique opportunity to showcase their programs.

"It's going to be a tremendous tournament, said Clyde Metcalf, head coach at Sarasota High School. "The competition is going to be great. With USA Baseball and Baseball America involved, I know it'll be top notch for our players. The USA Baseball National Training Complex is among the best in the nation. It's something that will benefit our players in the future from an exposure standpoint."

"This is a great way to see what we're made of," Bishop Gorman High School head coach Nick Day said. "There's no way to find out if you're the best unless you play the best."

Future team commits and more NHSI details can be found online at USABaseball.com.