Posted: 4:29 pm Friday, April 22nd, 2011
By Matt Porter
If past results are any indication, Dwyer has good news and bad news in the District 14-5A tournament.
The good: It has beaten Wellington’s ace Andrew Istler twice, a 6-0 win on March 30 and 1-0 win on Feb. 25 in which junior third baseman Tim Lynch hit a towering blast in the bottom of the sixth.
The bad: It has twice been dominated by West Boca’s aces, first at the hands of Michael Kelly (1 hit in 5 2/3 innings), the second against Parker Danciu (no hits in six innings), on a night Dwyer could have earned the No.1 seed in the district with a win.
As such, Dwyer has plenty of respect for both those teams. It’s almost certain the Panthers will see one of those again, and it’s certain that one will be sitting at home at the end of the 15-5A run, which ended last season with West Boca and Dwyer – a No. 5 seed — left standing.
The proprietors of this space do not profess to own a crystal ball, but here’s looking at the district from Dwyer’s point of view: If the No. 2 Panthers survive a first-round date with No. 7 Lake Worth, which is likely, they’ll meet No. 3 Wolverines, who play sixth-seeded Forest Hill, at home Thursday. Expect Dwyer to use junior lefty Bradley Emery (5-0, team-best 0.96 ERA, 35 K in 29 innings) in the first round, saving ace Brad Borosak (40 strikeouts) for the semifinal. Right-hander Cheynne Bickel could be available for either the semifinals or a possible title match with West Boca, who should get through its first-round matchup with winless Palm Beach Lakes and the semifinals against either Spanish River or John I. Leonard. Senior Brian Coghlan or Emery could go in a possible final.
If all goes as predicted, Borosak would face Wellington ace Andrew Istler in the semis. It would be the third time Istler has faced Borosak, a quirky right-hander, who changes deliveries and arm angles as he sees fit. He’s also a Navy commit and the team’s No. 3 hitter (.400). Bickel, a sophomore who played at Benjamin last year, is already committed to Ole Miss. He’s 5-2, 1.19 with 56 K in 47 innings.
Dwyer relies on a strong defense, led by senior shortstop Matt Adamowicz (team-high .419), a St. Louis University signee who bats second. Senior catcher Ryan Gillespie is a strong backstop, and junior left fielder Bobby Puyol has a good glove. Lynch (.357, 7 HR, best among large schools, 21 RBI) plays a strong third base and has overcome some midseason struggles at the plate. Emery plays right and hits leadoff (.394). Junior first baseman Patrick Pinak (.379) and junior OF/DH Bobby Nichols (.333) have pop.
They have come through with some clutch hitting, though – witness March 23’s comeback 7-6 win over Park Vista, in which Borosak and Pinak hit back-to-back homers in the bottom of the ninth.
Dwyer’s defense is reliable, and it has enough pitching to be there at the end. If the Panthers have the bats going, they’re hard to beat. If they don’t, they’ll be the third wheel as West Boca and Wellington meet in the final. That’s as good a prediction as any this postseason.