Posted: 11:41 am Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Baseball: 2011 state semifinal capsules, directions and what to watch 

By Matt Porter

Three area teams are headed to the state baseball playoffs in Port St. Lucie. Here’s a primer on what to watch, about the opponents, and other need-to-know info.


2011 FHSAA Baseball Semifinals

Where: All games at Digital Domain Park, 527 NW Peacock Blvd, Port St Lucie, FL 34986
Admission: $8
Directions: Take 95 North to Exit 121 (St. Lucie W Blvd). Take first left onto NW Peacock Blvd. Destination is on left.

Class 1A
Deltona-Trinity Christian (22-7) vs. Summit Christian (25-5)
When: Wednesday, May 18 at 1 p.m.
Probable pitchers: Trinity RHP Kenny Burkhead (6-1, 1.46, 51 SO, 16 BB in 33.2 IP) vs. Summit RHP John Costa (7-1, 2.83, 83 SO, 12 BB in 59.1 IP).
How they got here:
About Trinity: Like Summit, Trinity plays a 6A-heavy schedule that matches up with any team in its area … Trinity has made four straight final fours and is the two-time defending state champion … The Eagles return three starters from last year’s team … Burkhead, a junior, works 88-92 and throws an effective slider. He’s batting .526 and plays center field when not pitching … Would-be ace Evin Lunch has been relegated to the bullpen because of shoulder tendinitis. Lunch, a 6-foot-7 fireballer who throws in the mid-90s, is projected as a mid- to late-round MLB Draft pick … Another bullpen weapon is Matty Ferreira, a right-hander who throws in the high-80s and plays shortstop (batting .453) … The Eagles count on senior left fielder and leadoff man Matt Wisniewski (.482, 8 HR, 22 RBI) and No. 2 pitchers and first baseman Daniel Moritz (.433, 5 HR).
Favorite: Deltona-Trinity Christian.
Next up: Miami-Brito/Monticello-Aucilla Christian winner in state final, Thursday, May 19 at 4:05 p.m.

Class 5A
Pace (25-4) vs. West Boca Raton (25-4)
When: Friday, May 20 at 8 p.m.
Probable pitchers: Pace RHP Trent Higginbothem (10-3, 1.82, 65 SO, 15 BB in 73 IP) vs. West Boca RHP Michael Kelly (9-1, 2.01, 95 SO, 15 BB in 70.1 IP)
How they got here: Pace beat Fort Walton Beach 11-1, Crestview 6-3 and Orange Park-Fleming Island 11-1. West Boca Raton beat Fort Lauderdale-St. Thomas Aquinas 5-1, Wellington 6-4 and Melbourne 8-6.
About Pace: The Patriots are the defending 5A champion and ESPN Rise champions and have made four final four appearances in six years. They have been to the regional playoffs 15 of the last 17 seasons under coach Charlie Warner … Four starters return from last year’s team … Pace beat Fleming Island in five innings thanks in part to a six-run first … Junior shortstop Addison Russell (.516, 10 HR, 38 RBI, 45 R, 16 SB, 21 BB) is ranked first or second nationally among prospects in his class. Pro scouts project him as a first-round MLB Draft pick this year, were he to leave high school a year early. He is committed to Auburn … Higginbothem has allowed three earned runs over his last 23 innings.
Favorite: West Boca Raton.
Next up: Lakeland/Bradenton-Manatee winner in state final, Saturday, May 21 at 7:05 p.m.

Class 6A
Tampa-Alonso (21-5) vs. Park Vista (23-7)
When: Monday, May 23 at 5 p.m.
Probable pitchers: Alonso’s Jose Fernandez (12-1) vs. Park Vista’s Ryan Pistey (6-0).
How they got here: Alonso beat Sarasota 14-0, Tampa-Plant 8-1 and Orlando-Dr. Phillips 4-2. Park Vista beat Coral Springs 7-1, Jupiter 9-3 and Pembroke Pines-Flanagan 7-6.
About Alonso: Alonso won the 6A state title in 2009 and was in the final four last year … Fernandez, an All-American, is a 6-foot-3, 215-pound monster who reaches 98 mph on the radar gun with a sharp slider. He is projected to be a first-round MLB Draft pick and is committed to USF. Scouts reportedly claim he could pitch in the major leagues right now … Fernandez has been the team’s best pitcher for three seasons after fleeing his native Cuba at age 15.
Favorite: Alonso.
Next up: Hialeah/Deltona winner in state final, Tuesday, May 24 at 7:05 p.m.