Posted: 5:55 pm Monday, May 2nd, 2011
By Matt Porter
After winning one of the state’s toughest districts, Jupiter is a strong contender to advance far in the regional tournaments, which begin Tuesday.
However, the District 9-6A champions will face a team that has no problem playing favorites.
The Warriors’ Class 6A regional quarterfinal opponent is Deerfield Beach, who stunned nationally ranked Parkland-Douglas in a district semifinal in one of the biggest upsets in recent Broward baseball history. Despite their 6-15 record, the Bucks dropped Douglas, which was ranked as high as No. 7 by ESPN and was No. 20 in the most recent Baseball America rankings.
The Warriors (23-5) also made Douglas a part of their resume, winning 1-0 April 14 behind a four-hitter from Florida signee Ryan Harris. Jupiter co-ace Calvin Greener will get the ball against Deerfield. Greener, a Palm Beach State signee, struck out 65 batters in 50.2 innings this year.
The winner faces either Park Vista, which lost 13-1 to Jupiter in Friday’s 9-6A title game, or District 10-6A champ Coral Springs in the regional semis.
Elsewhere, Wellington and West Boca Raton could meet in the Class 5A regional semifinal, but getting there won’t be easy. Wellington faces pitching-heavy Davie-Nova, which opened the year with seven consecutive shutouts. West Boca plays St. Thomas Aquinas, which broke Nova’s shutout streak and beat West Boca 4-2 in last season’s regional finals. Both Wellington (Andrew Istler) and West Boca (Michael Kelly) are using their aces in this round.
Sixteen games, 32 teams, six classes. Here’s a breakdown of all the games, with schedules and who’s lurking around the corner.
Regional quarterfinals, Tuesday
Orlando-Dr. Phillips (18-9) at Centennial (13-9), 4 p.m.
Pitching-rich Centennial, which beat Vero Beach in the District 13-3A final, is in the playoffs for the first time since 2006. Dr. Phillips, in its first playoff appearance since 2007, will throw senior lefty Josh Strong, who threw a complete-game two-hitter in the district semis on April 26.
Next round: West Orange—Vero Beach winner, Friday
Deerfield Beach (6-15) at Jupiter (23-5), 7 p.m.
Despite markedly different records, Jupiter and Deerfield Beach each have a win over nationally ranked Broward power Parkland-Douglas. Jupiter should cruise to the next round, where a potential rematch with Park Vista should be good theater.
Next round: Park Vista—Coral Springs winner, Friday
Park Vista (20-7) at Coral Springs (17-5), 7 p.m.
Which Park Vista will show up: The team that beat Palm Beach Central 13-12 in the 9-6A quarterfinals, or the one that lost 14-1 to Jupiter in the 9-6A final? Coral Springs, the District 10-6A champs, hopes the latter.
Next round: Deerfield Beach—Jupiter winner, Friday
Viera (16-9) at Port St. Lucie (15-9), 7 p.m.
Port St. Lucie hopes to participate in the state tournament, which it will host at Tradition Field. The Jaguars started the year 3-7 and won a tough four-team District 14-5A as the No. 4 seed.
Next round: South Fork—Melbourne winner, Friday
South Fork (15-12) at Melbourne (23-3), 7 p.m.
Rematch of last season’s regional final, which Melbourne won 7-6. Melbourne won its third District 13-5A title in four years, beating Viera 7-3.
Next round: Viera—Port St. Lucie winner, Friday
Fort Lauderdale-St. Thomas Aquinas (13-9) at West Boca Raton (22-4), 7 p.m.
St. Thomas Aquinas was the team to break Nova’s shutout streak (see below). The Raiders beat West Boca 4-2 in last year’s 5A regional finals. West Boca is a different team since then, though – more bats, more defense, more pitching. Michael Kelly gets the ball for the Bulls.
Next round: Wellington—Nova winner, Friday
Wellington (21-7) at Davie-Nova (20-2), 7 p.m.
Nova opened the season with seven straight shutouts, short of the national record of eight set in 2005 by Homer, Mich. It relies on outstanding pitching, especially right-handed sidearmer Ronny Patella, who will start, senior lefty Reed Salzman and hard-throwing junior lefty Tony Massaro. Wellington sends ace right-hander Andrew Istler to the hill.
Next round: St. Thomas Aquinas—West Boca Raton winner, Friday
Merritt Island (12-10) at Lincoln Park Academy (15-9), 7 p.m.
Before Lincoln Park lost to eventual state champ Archbishop McCarthy in last year’s regional final, it beat Merritt Island 5-0 in the semis. The Greyhounds repeated as District 14-4A champs this year. Merritt Island was the District 13-4A runner-up.
Next round: Jensen Beach—Eau Gallie winner, Friday
Jensen Beach (14-10) at Melbourne-Eau Gallie (19-9), 7 p.m.
Eau Gallie beat Merritt Island for the District 13-4A title. Jensen Beach dropped the District 14-4A title 3-1 to Lincoln Park Academy.
Next round: Merritt Island—Lincoln Park winner, Friday
Coconut Creek-North Broward Prep (18-9) at Cardinal Newman (10-17), 7 p.m.
Two great backstops: North Broward Prep senior Christian Correa is stout (5-foot-9, 210) and strong (11 HR, 31 RBI), while Cardinal Newman senior Shane Osborn (.444, 4 HR, 19 RBI) is one of Palm Beach County’s best behind the plate. Cardinal Newman lost in last year’s first round.
Next round: St. Andrew’s—Plantation American Heritage winner, Friday
St. Andrew’s (20-5) at Plantation-American Heritage (19-8), 7 p.m.
Excellent small-schools battle here. St. Andrew’s has the power and the pitching – Danny Young and Jack Sheehy combined for 16 HR and 60 RBI and each hit .565, while Tim (8-1, 0.47) and Dan Stoops (5-2, 1.16) struck out 174 batters in 85.1 innings. Scots lost to Patriots 10-0 in last year’s first round.
Next round: North Broward Prep—Cardinal Newman winner, Friday
Fort Lauderdale-Calvary Christian (18-7-1) at American Heritage (24-3), 7 p.m.
Calvary Christian will likely face Dylan Arnold (5-0, 2.60, 50 SO in 32.1 innings). Expect the Stallions to cruise to the semifinals, where they might have a chance to avenge last year’s 4-3 loss to King’s Academy.
Next round: King’s Academy—Coral Springs Christian winner, Friday
King’s Academy (19-9) at Coral Springs Christian (17-8-1), 7 p.m.
Before it lost to eventual state champ Miami-Westminster Christian in last year’s regional finals, King’s beat Coral Springs Christian 7-5 in the first round. CSC (17-8-1) was 4-6-1 at midseason, but won 13 of 14 games the rest of the way. The Crusaders beat Calvary Christian for their second straight District 14-2A title.
Next round: Cavalry Christian—American Heritage winner, Friday
Hollywood-Sheridan Hills Christian (12-12) at Boca Raton Christian (9-16), 4 p.m.
Boca Christian stomped Lake Worth Christian 10-0 in six innings in the District 13-1A final. The Blazers should have a tougher time with Sheridan Hills Christian, which it beat 8-7 in last year’s quarterfinal.
Next round: Lake Worth Christian—Highlands Christian winner, Friday
Lake Worth Christian (5-12) at Pompano Beach-Highlands Christian (12-10), 7 p.m.
Rematch of last year’s first-round game, won 11-1 by eventual state semifinalist Highlands Christian. Highlands senior catcher Jason Hepple is one of Broward County’s most feared hitters; he was intentionally walked twice and blasted a grand slam to beat Sheridan Hills Christian in the District 14-1A title.
Next round: Sheridan Hills Christian—Boca Raton Christian winner, Friday
Palm Bay-Brevard HEAT (5-7) at Summit Christian (22-5), 4 p.m.
With strong pitching, hitting and defense, Summit Christian wouldn’t be out of place playing a Class 5A or 6A schedule. HEAT lost the District 11-1A title 13-3 to Merritt Island Christian.
Next round: Merritt Island Christian, Friday