Posted: 12:50 pm Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Stat Tuesday: Breaking down the baseball district races 

By Matt Porter

We’re less than two weeks away from the district tournaments, and this is the final week for district games to be played. That means all seedings will be settled this week. Here’s a look at five items of note from this week’s stats report, which is published in the Post on Tuesday:

Click here to view the latest stats report, through games of April 7, 2012.

Roberson

Roberson

1. Broncos charging. Palm Beach Central senior first baseman Brady Roberson, a Florida signee, is one of several Broncos who contributed to a wild win over No. 7 Royal Palm Beach last Friday. Not only did No. 2 Palm Beach Central hang the first earned runs of the season on Royal Palm Beach ace Justin Lauginiger (7-0, 0.66 in 42.2 innings), the Broncos also defended their perfect (10-0) record at home.

Central will have to win out to keep that record spotless. This week, the Broncos host No. 6 Palm Beach Gardens and No. 1 Jupiter, games which will decide tournament seeds in District 9-8A. Next week, Central plays Glades Central (for the Palm Beach County Western Conference title) before a season-ending game against No. 8 American Heritage. (More on the district races below.)

2. Buc up. Benjamin is a lock to make it to the Class 3A regionals, and the Bucs will be a tough out once they get there because of three strong arms. Sophomore lefty Bennett Sousa, junior Matt Harris and senior Jon Pavlov have the Bucs looking for their first district title since 1994.

Sousa (3-1, 0.63, 40 strikeouts in 33.1 innings) is ranked among the top 15 sophomores nationally and will choose between Florida and Virginia. He’s the go-to guy, while Pavlov (2-1, 0.27 in 26 innings) and Harris (3-0, 2.44 in 28.2 innings entering the week) can start or mop up. Harris, who took the loss Monday against Trinity Christian, is the team’s leading hitter at .456. Pavlov (.395) is second.

3. A-Rod is clutch. Well, Trinity Christian’s version, anyway. Senior Alexander Rodriguez, a 6-foot-5 lefty, struck out 14 Benjamin hitters Monday in the Warriors’ complete-game upset of the No. 5 Bucs. Rodriguez, who has signed with Ball State, lowered his ERA to 2.74, improved his record to 2-2 and has 41 strikeouts in 30.2 innings.

He is the No. 1 starter on a staff with senior Vincent Anthonia (5-1, 1.72 in 36 innings) and Byron Ferguson, a Bethune-Cookman signee. They throw to FIU-bound catcher Phildrick Llewellyn (.411, 3 HR). The Warriors (12-7) are on the second of a three-year FHSAA postseason ban stemming from a May 2009 altercation in a regional final game against Miami-Brito.

4. Big Styp. King’s Academy senior catcher Kevin Stypulkowski hits ropes when his team needs them most. Stypulkowski leads small schools and is second in the area in RBI (23) and is batting .426, eighth among small schools. Last Tuesday, his three-run triple in the fifth inning helped the Lions take down Benjamin and take over first place in District 12-3A. Stypulkowski is signed to Florida and looks every bit a college hitter.

5. Back to the Summit? In order to defend last year’s state title, Summit Christian will need to avoid the errors that led to a four-game losing streak (and dropped them from the Post’s top 10). The Saints are 4-1 over their last five, with the only loss a walk-off, 8-7 defeat at No. 6 Palm Beach Gardens.

That’s in large part due to junior Anthony Delaney (4-1, 1.63, 57 strikeouts in 38.2 innings) and senior lefty Sam Murphy (3-4, 1.91, 48 strikeouts in 41 innings). Murphy, a Nebraska-Omaha commit, on Monday was working on a fourth-inning shutout at No. 4 Dwyer when the game was called due to a power outage at the school. In two weeks, either Murphy or Delaney will need to beat Pope John Paul II (9-10, 0-4) to earn Summit a playoff berth in a three-team District 13-3A. The other will face top-seeded American Heritage (15-6, 4-0) in the district final.

Bonus: Because what stats matter more than a team’s record, number of district titles won, number of playoff appearances, etc. … here are the updated playoff breakdowns and potential district seedings.

Updated after games of Tuesday, April 10

District 9-8A
Jupiter (5-2)
Palm Beach Central (5-2)
Palm Beach Gardens (3-4)
Dwyer (3-4)
Wellington (2-6)

Breakdown: The district will be settled Friday.

At 4, Palm Beach Central hosts Jupiter. The winner gets the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye.

At 7, Dwyer hosts Palm Beach Gardens. The winner gets the No. 3 seed and will play the Jupiter/Central loser in the first round.

The only thing that’s settled: Wellington, which has no district games left, is locked into the No. 5 seed and will face the Gardens/Dwyer loser in the first round.

District 10-8A
Park Vista (8-0)
Spanish River (5-3)
Boca Raton (4-4)
Seminole Ridge (3-5)
John I. Leonard (0-8)

Breakdown: Park Vista gets a first-round bye and will play the winner of the 4-vs.-5 game. In the first round, Spanish River will play Boca Raton. Seminole Ridge will play John I. Leonard.

District 14-7A
West Boca Raton (5-1)
Atlantic (5-1)
Olympic Heights (2-4)
Lake Worth (0-6)

Breakdown: There are no district games remaining. West Boca and Atlantic are 1-1 against each other, but West Boca will be the No. 1 seed because it has three road district wins to Atlantic’s two.

District 13-7A
Royal Palm Beach (5-0)
Santaluces (4-1)
Forest Hill (1-4)
Palm Beach Lakes (0-5)

Breakdown: How’s this for a scenario — because of tiebreaker rules, Santaluces needs to beat Royal Palm at home on Thursday to force a coin flip for the No. 1 seed.

Santaluces lost to Royal Palm 1-0 earlier in the year, but a Santaluces win Thursday would give both a 5-1 district record. Since both teams have the same amount of district wins on the road and at home, the next tiebreaker is a coin flip.

On Thursday, Santaluces will send senior Hunter Kyzar (5-2, 0.83 in 42.1 innings) to face Lauginiger (7-0, 0.66, 61 strikeouts in 42.2 innings). Both pitchers are 1-2 among large schools in ERA.

The game is extra important because the loser will play Forest Hill in the district, while the winner faces struggling Palm Beach Lakes. Forest Hill, while 13-7 overall and 1-4 in the district, has senior Mike Murray (5-2, 1.69), who had an area-best 81 strikeouts entering the week and fanned 11 in Monday’s win over Boynton Beach.

Forest Hill can wrap up the No. 3 seed Friday by beating Lakes, which has been outscored 49-168 this season.

District 15-A
Jensen Beach (5-0)
Suncoast (3-2)
Boynton Beach (1-4)
Fort Pierce Westwood (1-4)

Breakdown: Each team has one district game this week. Jensen Beach is the No. 1 seed and hosts Fort Pierce Westwood on Friday. Suncoast hosts Boynton Beach on Thursday.

Boynton needs a win and a Westwood loss to be the No. 3 seed. If it loses, Westwood will be the No. 3 seed. If both teams lose, Westwood will be the No. 3 seed.

District 12-4A
Lincoln Park (5-0)
St. Andrew’s (3-2)
Cardinal Newman (2-3)
Glades Central (0-5)

Breakdown: Each team has one district game this week. Wednesday, Cardinal Newman hosts St. Andrew’s. If Newman wins, it will be the No. 2 seed. If St. Andrew’s wins, it will lock up the No. 2 seed.

On Friday, Lincoln Park hosts Glades Central, which it will play in the first round of the district tournament.

District 13-3A
American Heritage (4-0)
Summit Christian (2-2)
Pope John Paul II (0-4)

Breakdown: District seeds are set. Summit will play Pope. Heritage earns the bye and a spot in the district final.

District 12-3A
King’s Academy (5-1)
Benjamin (4-1)
Jupiter Christian (1-4)
Glades Day (1-5)

Breakdown: King’s and Glades Day each has completed district play. Benjamin plays Jupiter Christian at Roger Dean Stadium on Friday.

If Benjamin wins, it will be the No. 1 seed and Jupiter Christian will be No. 4. If Jupiter Christian wins, it will be the No. 3 seed and Benjamin will be No. 2.

District 12-2A
Boca Raton Christian (2-0)
Lake Worth Christian (1-1)
Wellington Christian (0-2)

Breakdown: Boca Christian earns a first-round bye and a spot in the district title game. Lake Worth Christian plays Wellington Christian in a district semifinal.

Independents
Trinity Christian (11-7)
Berean Christian (8-5)

Breakdown: No playoffs for either school. Trinity Christian, which boasts wins over Atlantic and then-No. 1 Summit Christian, finishes the season April 21 with a game against Olympic Heights at Roger Dean Stadium.

Berean Christian, building under former Dwyer assistant coach Marty Gonzalez, is playing a part-JV schedule. The Bulldogs count a March 15 win over Glades Day as a season highlight. They finish up April 20 at Boca Raton Christian.