Posted: 10:02 am Friday, May 8th, 2009

Brad Gero, Alex Gonzalez available this afternoon 

By Jason Lieser

Less than three days after Park Vista’s Brad Gero and Boca Raton’s Alex Gonzalez delivered long, gritty performances in their teams’ playoff upsets, each will be available for a short appearance in this afternoon’s regional semifinal.


Curt Copeland (3-2) will start for Park Vista and Nathan Carter (4-1) is on the hill for Boca Raton on Friday, but Tuesday’s starters could be major factors in the late innings.

Gonzalez (6-3) pitched into the seventh inning in Tuesday’s 4-2 win over Jupiter before Nathan Carter came on to finish it. Gonzalez was efficient, allowing just three hits and retired the side in order in four different innings.

“I’m hitting my spots and pitching to contact,” he said. “I’m not trying to be as nasty. I don’t care about strikeouts, just outs.”

Gonzalez said he was fine for one inning, maybe two, and Bobcats coach Justin Timmerman won’t hesitate to take him up on that offer if he needs him. Last week, Timmerman started Gonzalez on Tuesday in the district tournament and brought him back to close out the championship last Friday against Park Vista.

Gero, meanwhile, probably put his body through a little more stress Tuesday than Gonzalez did. For starters, Park Vista played under the hot afternoon sun in its 4-3 win at Palm Beach Central.

Gero needed 53 pitches to get through the first three innings, but gutted it out for a complete game victory. After the Cobras erased their 3-0 deficit with four runs in the top of the fifth, Gero was running on adrenaline. He got through the fifth inning on five pitches, the sixth on 11 and the seventh on six.

Park Vista coach Larry Greenstein has not used Gero on short rest this season, but during last year’s playoffs he was not afraid to start Chris Matulis early in the week and then use him out of the bullpen later.

“If you don’t abuse the kids all year, you don’t wear them out, one appearance and a few pitches won’t make a difference,” Greenstein said.

“If in fact we need (Gero) for an inning or two, I’m sure he’ll be ready to go. I don’t think it’s stretching out a kid too much or overloading him. He’d have to throw a bullpen that day anyway.”

Boca Raton and the Cobras will play at Florida Atlantic University at 4 p.m. today.