Posted: 5:24 pm Thursday, May 12th, 2011
2011 baseball regional finals preview: Park Vista, West Boca, King’s Academy, Summit Christian vie for state berths
By Matt Porter
Four area teams are left with spots in the state final four up for grabs. Who will break through?
all games 7 p.m. Friday unless noted
Park Vista (22-7) at Pembroke Pines-Flanagan (22-2)
Probable pitchers: Park Vista RHP Ryan Pistey vs. Flanagan LHP Mike Melendez (4-2, 1.13, 36 SO in 31 innings)
How they got here: Park Vista (9-6A runner-up) beat Coral Springs 7-1 and Jupiter 9-3. Flanagan (12-6A champion) beat South Plantation 17-0 and West Broward 12-2.
Storylines: Park Vista beat Flanagan 10-7 on Feb. 7 in a preseason game. Park Vista coach Larry Greenstein said his team got a chance to see what Flanagan’s ballpark looked like (field dimensions are smaller than Park Vista’s), but the game didn’t mean a lot. “We [won], but it was a typical preseason game,” Greenstein said. “Had a little bit of everything. Lot of people played on both teams.” … Flanagan’s last loss was March 9 to district rival West Broward. Flanagan beat West Broward 12-2 (6 inn.) in a regional semifinal. “It’s a typical Flanagan team,” Greenstein said. “They can flat-out play.” … Park Vista can earn its third state tournament berth in four years … Flanagan is the defending Class 6A champion … Park Vista senior Ryan Pistey missed all of last season because of Tommy John (pitching elbow) surgery, but has rebounded to pitch the Cobras deep into the postseason … Park Vista senior shortstop Trea Turner, an N.C. State commit, led the team in batting (.456). Center fielder Trey Amburgey (.391), catcher Robbie Coman (.361) and left fielder Chris Wurster (.353) are tough outs. Third baseman Tyler Kendall, a junior and Florida commit, hit .333 … Flanagan’s team batting average is over .400. Senior ace Mike Melendez hit a team-high .475 in the regular season … Flanagan senior shortstop Ricky Santiago hit a pair of two-run homers in the Falcons’ semifinal win. After that game, Melendez (who pitched a complete game), said his team hoped to get revenge against Park Vista, which beat Flanagan 10-7 in a preseason game. “We’re a different team now,” Melendez told the Miami Herald. “I’m pretty sure we would play them [at home] and we don’t lose at home.”
Next up: Orlando-Dr. Phillips/Tampa-Alonso winner, May 23 at Digital Domain Park, Port St. Lucie
West Boca Raton (24-4) at Melbourne (25-3)
Probable pitchers: West Boca RHP Michael Kelly (8-1, 1.99, 89 SO in 63 innings) against Melbourne RHP Matt Harris.
How they got here: West Boca (15-5A champion) beat St. Thomas Aquinas 5-1 and Wellington 6-4. Melbourne (13-5A champion) beat South Fork 13-3 and Port St. Lucie 12-1.
Storylines: West Boca Raton coach Nick Siano knows Melbourne can put runs on the road, but his club has the same ability; the Bulls were down 4-0 in the district title game against Wellington, and 4-2 at one point in the regional semis against Wellington. “Our lineup can put up runs in a hurry. We don’t put our heads down,” Siano said … Melbourne jumped out to a 6-0 lead on Port St. Lucie in its 12-1 regional semifinal win. Its first three hitters were a combined 8-for-11 with two homers and three doubles. Leadoff man Jacob Wright hit .508 during the regular season. … West Boca ace Michael Kelly won’t alter his approach against Melbourne’s lineup. “It’s going to be the same thing we’ve done all year: pound the zone and be aggressive,” Siano said. “If Mike can throw his game, I’ll take Mike against any lineup.” … Melbourne ace Matt Harris threw a six-inning no-hitter against Merritt Island on April 13. … The Bulldogs bring in tough reliever Austin Leeney in tight spots … Melbourne has no lefties on its pitching staff.
Favorite: West Boca Raton.
Next up: Orange Park-Fleming Island/Pace winner, May 20 at Digital Domain Park, Port St. Lucie
King’s Academy (21-9) at Miami-Westminster Christian (22-8), 2 p.m.
Probable pitchers: King’s Academy RHP Matt Leber (8-3, 2.43 ERA, 90 SO in 73 innings) vs. Westminster Christian RHP Julian Loret de Mola (10-2) .
How they got here: King’s Academy (District 13-2A runner-up) beat Cavalry Christian 7-2 and American Heritage 3-2. Westminster Christian (16-2A winner) beat Dade Christian 15-0 and Florida Christian 14-5.
Storylines: King’s fell to Westminster in last year’s regional final … King’s catcher Kevin Stypulkowski anchors the lineup. A 6-foot-2, 220-pound junior committed to Florida, he hit .389 with 11 doubles and 25 RBI during the regular season. King’s second baseman Ryan Krance (5-7, 140) hit a team-high seven homers, while first baseman Mark Babrick (6-6, 215) hit four. Babrick was 4-1, 2.25 on the mound … King’s coach Doug Magaw was last year’s small schools coach of the year after leading the Lions to their best finish since 2001’s state title … Magaw’s decision to rest Leber in the opening round paid off, as the Lions stomped Cavalry Christian … Leber, who relies on a changeup as his out pitch, has been the Lions’ ace since his freshman year … Westminster Christian won its 10th state title last season, second only to Key West (11) in Florida history. It was the second state title in a row for the Warriors, who have the most baseball state series wins (68) in Florida history … Westminster has plenty of power, including senior shortstop David Thompson, a UM signee who has 18 homers. Thompson hit 19 homers last year, tying a state record. Senior Andy Chacon has 16 homers … Ace Julian Loret de Mola, a FAU commit, pitched a complete-game two-hitter in last year’s 6-0 state title win over St. Petersburg-Shorecrest Prep.
Favorite: Westminster Christian.
Next up: Freeport/Tallahassee-North Florida Christian winner, May 20 at Digital Domain Park, Port St. Lucie
Tampa-Cambridge Christian (16-12) at Summit Christian (24-5), 4 p.m.
Probable pitchers: Cambridge Christian LHP Matt Mullins (4-5, 4.27, 47 SO in 57.1 innings) vs. Summit Christian RHP John Costa (5-1, 2.39, 71 SO in 53 regular-season innings).
How they got here: Cambridge Christian beat Seacrest Country Day 10-6 and Sarasota Christian 3-2. Summit Christian beat Brevard HEAT 14-0 and Merritt Island Christian 10-0.
Storylines: Summit Christian has powered through its bracket so far, winning two games by a combined 24-0 score … Saints ace John Costa, who has a partial scholarship to FIU, has a huge bend in his curveball and works 88-90. He hit .382, usually batting out of the third hole … Saints senior shortstop Timmy Williams hit .419. Matt Rogers (.471) was the team’s batting average leader in the regular season. Efren Sanchez (.429) and catcher John Silviano (.386) were tough outs. Shane Swanson (.333) hit a team-best seven homers … Random fact: After returning home from Vietnam, Summit coach John Drouin owned and operated a karate school in New York for 25 years … Cambridge senior catcher Andrew Widdell leads the Lancers with a .435 average and five homers.
Favorite: Summit Christian.
Next up: Deltona-Trinity Christian/Winter Haven-All Saints winner, May 18 at Digital Domain Park, Port St. Lucie