Posted: 12:48 pm Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Baseball: Local players carrying ninth-ranked Palm Beach State 

By Matt Porter

Palm Beach State, the junior college baseball powerhouse in Lake Worth, is ranked ninth in this week’s National Junior College Athletic Association Division I rankings.

Underwood

Underwood

The Panthers (30-9), which are loaded with local kids, were 18th overall last week. They are the top team in Region 8.

Palm Beach Gardens alum Brandon Welch (3-2, 2.60) has had an outstanding season, striking out 52 and allowing 7 walks in 48.1 innings. Eddie Cody (Summit Christian), Ronald Pena (John I. Leonard) and J.D. Underwood (Palm Beach Gardens) have pitched plenty of quality innings, among others.

Underwood, a 2011 Gardens graduate and the son of the late former major league pitcher Tom Underwood, leads the team with a .391 average, .418 OBP and 50 hits. Santaluces alum Ryan Church has a team-leading seven homers and 41 RBI. Former Palm Beach Central standout Alex Hernandez, who left North Florida to play for Palm Beach State, is batting .358.

To see the rest of Palm Beach State’s numbers, click here.

Noteworthy: American Heritage pitcher Dylan Arnold signed a letter of intent to Palm Beach State. He joins Christopher Barr (Royal Palm Beach), Marcus Mooney (Seminole Ridge) and Michael Shepard (American Heritage) as 2012 Panthers signees from the area.