Posted: 5:38 pm Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Baseball: 2011 Palm Beach County and Treasure Coast playoff preview, schedules 

By Matt Porter

It’s district tournament time, when regular-season results mean nothing and the best bring their best. Check out a breakdown of all the brackets involving Palm Beach County and Treasure Coast teams, with schedules, expanded analysis and predictions.

Use the big-boy sticks to the playoffs. Nothing less. (Damon Higgins/The Palm Beach Post)

Use the big-boy sticks in the playoffs. Nothing less. (Damon Higgins/The Palm Beach Post)

All stats as of April 16


DISTRICT 6-6A

All games at Vero Beach
Monday, April 25
Bayside (4) vs. Gateway (5), 6
Tuesday, April 26
Bayside/Gateway vs. Centennial (1), 4
Treasure Coast (3) vs. Vero Beach (2), 7
Thursday, April 28
Final, 7

Favorite: Centennial
Contenders: Treasure Coast, Vero Beach
Bracket breakdown: How’s this for parity: Centennial beat Vero twice, Vero beat T-Coast twice, and T-Coast beat Centennial twice … Centennial coach Jamie Siminski said the bracket is tough at the bottom, too. “Even Gateway and Bayside, we’ve battled with them,” he said. “We had a 10-inning, tied-at-13 game against Gateway, which ended up winning. We ten-runned Bayside, then faced a different pitcher and won 7-6. It’s up for grabs. Do we have the upper hand because we have the No. 1 seed? It helps.” … No. 1 Centennial has the best pitching, with right-handers Ryan Fetzner (2-2, 2.30), a junior who has been the Eagles’ ace for three years, and senior Kristian Romance (2-1, 1.72). Lefty reliever Danny Ayala is strong, and mop-up man Mike Poveromo has a 1.23 ERA … Treasure Coast uses Joe Marrotta (4-1, 1.08, 45 K in 39 innings) in its opener against Vero, whose leading hitter is Alvin Swoope (.468). 
Prediction: Centennial over Treasure Coast. 


DISTRICT 9-6A
Monday, April 25
Royal Palm Beach (9) at Boca Raton (8), 7
Tuesday, April 26
RPB/BR (8) at Jupiter (1), 7
Park Vista (7) at Palm Beach Central (2), 4
Atlantic (6) at Santaluces (3), 7
Palm Beach Gardens (5) at Seminole Ridge (4), 7
Thursday, April 28
Semifinals at Santaluces, 7
Friday, April 29
Final at Santaluces, 7

Favorite: Jupiter
Contenders: Palm Beach Central, Santaluces
Dark horse: Palm Beach Gardens
Bracket breakdown (click links for extended team reports): Realistically, pretty much everyone in this district has a shot at regionals, in one of the most talented, balanced districts in the state … Click links for extended previews of each team. First up, Jupiter is the favorite because of its co-aces, Ryan Harris and Calvin GreenerPalm Beach Central is without ace Bobby Poyner, but should have enough offense to be there at the endSantaluces is the team no one wants to face in the first round, thanks to one special pitcher … Seminole Ridge, which has the No. 4 seed, and Palm Beach Gardens, which took No. 5, is probably the best matchup of the first round … Atlantic has surprised teams all season. Do the Eagles have another surprise in them? … Park Vista isn’t your average No. 7 seed. The Cobras could very well get to the final … Boca Raton has had a surprisingly poor record in the district, but has enough talent (and Tallet) to compete with anyone in the bracket … Royal Palm Beach faces long odds to get its first district win of the year, but won’t be down for long. Senior third baseman/DH  Justin Bryant (6 HR, 27 RBI) and was named top hitter the midseason Sarasota Baseball Classic tournament. Senior left fielder Christian Benhart is batting a team-high .359. 
Prediction: Jupiter over Palm Beach Central. 


DISTRICT 14-5A
Tuesday, April 26
Port St. Lucie (4) at Martin County (1), 1
Sebastian River (3) at South Fork (2), 4
Thursday, April 28
Final, 4

Favorite: Martin County
Contender: South Fork
Bracket breakdown: Defending district champ and 2009 5A state champ South Fork has to contend with Martin County (16-3), which seems to have it all put together … South Fork will count on two senior right-handers: Mike Nessel (3-2, 2.80), who went the distance in a March 2 win over Jupiter, and James Baggs (3-3, 2.33) in the tournament. Nick Cincotta (.500), Brian Woody (.444) and Jason Popovich (.425) anchor the lineup … Top-seeded Martin County has lots of pitching, led by Steven Fleming (4-2, 1.97, 38 K in 39 innings) and Josh Thorne (3-1, 2.00, 36 K in 28 innings). Offensively, James (.527) and Jeremy (.500) Vasquez, and Danny Hudzina (.500) have been three of the top hitters on the Treasure Coast. A.J. Fabrizio (.459) and Mark Savarese (.450) aren’t far behind … Martin County routed District 14-4A top seed Lincoln Park 11-1 Thursday … Port St. Lucie is led by Cory Reid (.500) and Jesse Arnold (2-1, 2.90) …. Sebastian River’s Gregg Spagnolia (.481) is tied for the T-Coast lead with 5 homers. The Sharks are 12-7.
Prediction: Martin County over South Fork. 



DISTRICT 15-5A

Monday, April 25
Spanish River (5) vs. John I. Leonard (4) at Dwyer, 4
Palm Beach Lakes (8) at West Boca (1), 6:30
Lake Worth (7) at Dwyer (2), 7
Forest Hill (6) at Wellington (3), 7
Tuesday, April 26
Semifinals at Dwyer, 4 and 7
Thursday, April 28
Final at Dwyer, 7

Favorite: West Boca Raton. 
Contenders: Wellington, Dwyer
Dark horse: John I. Leonard 
Bracket breakdown: One of West Boca, Wellington and Dwyer will be sitting home, but likely not more than one. Click here for more about West Boca, click here for a more detailed look at Wellington, and click here for a scouting report on Dwyer … If John I Leonard needs inspiration, it can look at Dwyer. “Last year we were a five-seed, and we ended up making the championship,” Torre said. “Anyone can do it.” The Lancers have good arms, especially senior Devin Vargo, who nearly shut down West Boca in a February game, and lanky sophomore Noel Canete. Junior infielder Eddy Morel (.361) leads the team in hitting … Spanish River has two strikeout pitchers in Mike Chambers (38) and 6-foot-4 Chris England (32). Luca Rispoli has a 5-1 record and team-low 3.90 ERA. He also leads the Sharks in hitting (.373) … Wellington won’t have an easy time getting to Forest Hill ace Mike Murray, who is third among large school pitchers with 88 strikeouts. Jose Crespo leads large school hitters with a .500 average. Junior outfielder Jamal Martin (.417) is committed to Florida State.  
Prediction: West Boca over Wellington. 


DISTRICT 14-4A
Monday, April 25
Suncoast (5) at Fort Pierce Central (4), 4
Fort Pierce Westwood (6) at Jensen Beach (3), 6
Boynton Beach (7) at Okeechobee (2), 7
Tuesday, April 26
at Lawnwood Stadium, Fort Pierce
Semifinal, 4
Suncoast/Fort Pierce Central winner vs. Lincoln Park (1), 7
Thursday, April 28
Final, at Lawnwood 

Favorite: Lincoln Park
Contenders: Okeechobee, Jensen Beach
Bracket breakdown: Florida State commit Gio Alfonso leads Lincoln Park, which should make a run to the finals. Alfonso (.400, 18 RBI) also plays an excellent shortstop … Okeechobee (15-8) is led offensively by Richard Donegan (.403) and Mark Weir (.352). Kevin Christensen (2-1, 1.68, 38 K in 25 innings) and Tyler Barber (5-0, 2.69) and Austin Hamilton (3-3, 3.00, 46 K in 42 innings) give the Brahmans plenty of pitching … Jensen Beach’s Artur Cary (.449) and Tyler Parker (.421) are tough outs … Suncoast is a young, scrappy team that made a run to the Lake Worth Tournament final, where it lost 8-6 to Summit Christian … Fort Pierce Central’s Vinnie Lucera (.562) is one of the Treasure Coast’s leading batters. 
Prediction: Okeechobee over Lincoln Park


DISTRICT 15-4A
all games at Archbishop McCarthy, Southwest Ranches
Monday, April 25
Olympic Heights (5) at Pembroke Pines Charter (4), 4
Ft. Lauderdale (3) Hallandale (6), 7
Tuesday, April 26
Ft. Laud./Hall. vs. Cardinal Gibbons (2), 4
O.H./Pem. vs. Archbishop McCarthy (1), 7
Thursday, April 28
Final, 7

Favorite: Archbishop McCarthy
Bracket breakdown: Olympic Heights, which plays Trinity Christian at Roger Dean Stadium at 2 p.m. Saturday, faces a rough road to get out of its All-Broward bracket. Defending Class 4A champion Archbishop McCarthy has been ranked as high as No. 2 in the country by Baseball America. “They’re ridiculous,” Olympic Heights coach Brian Domenico said. “A monster.” … Park Vista beat Archbishop McCarthy on the road April 12 … Two key wins for O. Heights: Behind freshman righty Ely Weldy, the Lions beat Cardinal Gibbons 7-3; sophomore Patrick Cahill beat Atlantic three weeks ago. 
Prediction: Archbishop McCarthy over Cardinal Gibbons. 


DISTRICT 13-3A
All games at St. Andrew’s
Tuesday, April 26
Clewiston (3) vs. Cardinal Newman (2), 12:30 
Glades Central (4) vs. St. Andrew’s (1), 3:30
Thursday, April 28
Final, 3:30

Favorite: St. Andrew’s
Bracket breakdown: St. Andrew’s (19-4 overall, 5-1 district) had enough pitching and hitting to earn its first No. 1 seed in districts. Offensively, Danny Young leads all area batters average (.613) and homers (9), while Jack Sheehy (.581, 7 HR, 37 RBI) leads in RBI. Brothers Tim and Dan Stoops are headed to UMass and should pitch the Scots through the tournament. Dan (5-2, 1.79, 72 K in 39 innings) starts the semis, and Tim (7-1, 0.58, 80 K in 36.1 innings) will go if the Scots make it to the final … Cardinal Newman entered the week at 7-16 overall, but is 5-1 in the district and 1-1 against St. Andrew’s this season, including a 10-0 win on April 1 in which Jack English pitched a three-hitter with eight strikeouts. English has struck out 89 batters this season, best among small school pitchers. Junior catcher Shane Osborn (.444, 4 HR) powers the Crusaders offensively. He was selected as the FACA District 17, Class 3A player of the year … Cardinal Newman coach Jack Kokinda picked up his 700th career win last week against Clewiston. He was named FACA’s District 17, Class 3A coach of the year. 
Prediction: St. Andrew’s over Cardinal Newman. 



DISTRICT 13-2A

Monday, April 25
Glades Day (5) vs. Pope John Paul II (4) at Lynn University, 4
St. Edward’s (7) at King’s Academy (2), 4
Benjamin (6) vs. John Carroll (3) at Bob Gladwyn Baseball Complex, Fort Pierce, 6
Jupiter Christian (8) at American Heritage (1), 7
Tuesday, April 26
Semifinals at Bob Gladwyn, 7
Thursday, April 28
Final at Bob Gladwyn, 7

Favorite: American Heritage
Contenders: King’s Academy, John Carroll
Dark horse: Pope John Paul II
Bracket breakdown: American Heritage went unbeaten in the district (14-0, 19-3 overall entering the week) and it would be a shocker if it can’t win the tournament … Neither Stallions senior ace Billy Strode (7-0, .058, 55 K in 36.1 innings) nor junior No. 2 starter Dylan Arnold (5-0, 2.15, 48 K in 29.1 innings) took a loss in the regular season. Offensively, senior outfielder Shaquille Rolle (.346, 17 RBI), senior catcher Jacob O’Keefe (.404, 6 HR, 15 RBI), junior third baseman Jon Spada (.468), 6-foot-5 senior Alex Leighton (.443) and Strode (.385) have been regular contributors … O’Keefe was named FACA District 17, Class 2A player of the year. Coach Carm Mazza was named coach of the year … King’s Academy (15-8 entering the week) went to the regional final last year, and is led by switch-hitting junior catcher Kevin Stypulkowski (.429, 21 RBI), a Florida commit. Senior second baseman Ryan Krance (team-best .429 and 6 HR, 20 RBI), senior first baseman Mark Babrick (.362, 2 HR, team-high 23 RBI) and sophomore outfielder John Carpenter (.397) have had strong years at the dish. Senior ace Matt Leber (5-3, 2.76, 76 K in 53.1 innings) pitches the Lions’ biggest games … John Carroll (11-5, 7-3) has plenty of pitching, with sophomore Richard Harrell (6-0, 0.54, 26 K in 38.3 innings), sophomore Sterling Koerner (6-2, 1.47, 45 K in 51.1 innings) and senior Bo Samuel (3-4, 1.87, 28 K in 39 innings) hardly touched …. Pope John junior second baseman Robert Gerdung (.415) is a tough out … Glades Day junior first baseman Colton Coates and senior DH Tyler LeCroy hit .500 … Benjamin has had some growing pains, but three sophomores — outfielder Kody Ruedisili (.451), 6-foot-4 first baseman Jon Pavlov (.385, 3 HR) and right-hander D.J. Paone (35 K in 25.2 innings) — have stood out. Talented freshman lefty Bennett Sousa has battled back from injuries and looks healthy. 
Prediction: American Heritage over King’s Academy.  


DISTRICT 12-1A
All games at Community Christian, Stuart
Monday, April 25
Berean Christian (5) vs. Morningside Academy (4), 4
Tuesday, April 26
Berean/Morningside (4) vs. Summit Christian (1), 1
Wellington Christian (3) vs. Community Christian (2), 4
Thursday, April 28
Final, 4

Favorite: Summit Christian
Contender: Community Christian
Bracket breakdown: Summit is the favorite, and not because of the volume of runs they’ve shown they can put up in mismatched games. The Saints have the district’s best pitcher in senior right-hander John Costa (5-1, 2.39, 71 K in 53 innings), who is committed to FIU. Junior lefty Sam Murphy (4-0, 3.22, 39 K in 36 innings) is a strong No. 2. Senior shortstop Timmy Williams (.407), sophomore Shane Swanson (.345, 4 HR, 27 RBI) and junior John Silviano power the lineup … Wellington Christian right-hander Robbie Pettett (4-3, 3.06, 67 K in 36.2 innings) has dominated in some starts … Wellington Christian improved from 4-7 to 9-11 while starting four middle-schoolers. “We call ourselves the Smurfs,” first-year coach Tim Ferguson said … Community Christian has good pitching in Tyler Smith (4-1, 3.69, 28 K in 24.2 innings), Alex Roberts (52 K) and Matt Bell (42 K). The Cougars get on base often and love to run, sparked by junior Jerome Jones (.557), senior Fendi Rolle (.459, 17 steals, 19 walks) and Smith (.448). They’ll be a tough draw for anyone. 
Prediction: Summit Christian over Community Christian. 


DISTRICT 13-1A
Thursday, April 28
Boca Raton Christian (2) at Lake Worth Christian (1), 5:30
Bracket breakdown: Rematch of the team’s March 29 game, in which the defending district champ Blazers won 14-4.  
Prediction: Boca Raton Christian over Lake Worth Christian.


Follow me on Twitter @mattyports for news and tidbits from the tournaments. 

And hey – see you at the games.