Posted: 7:10 pm Wednesday, April 11th, 2012
By Matt Porter
Given the importance of Thursday’s game, Royal Palm Beach coach Brian Joros jokes that missing it will be “like being condemned to purgatory.”
Joros, in his second season coaching the Wildcats, was suspended two games by the FHSAA after an incident involving an umpire in an April 5 game at King’s Academy. According to an FHSAA report, Royal Palm assistant Rich Gomersal argued with and was ejected by an umpire following a play at home plate.
Under National Federation of High School baseball rules, if an assistant coach is ejected for leaving the dugout or coaches’ box and arguing, the head coach is automatically ejected.
The FHSAA suspended Gomersal for two weeks, meaning he could return for the start of district tournaments, which begin April 23. Joros was suspended two games, the second of which is Thursday. Royal Palm was fined $200. Both coaches must complete a NFHS coaching course before returning to action.
They’ll follow from home as the seventh-ranked Wildcats visit Santaluces for the final District 13-7A game for both teams. Royal Palm is 5-0 in the four-team district. Santaluces is 4-1.
With a win, Royal Palm would lock up the No. 1 seed for the district tournament. Given the tiebreaker rules in place, a Santaluces win would force a coin flip for the No. 1 seed.
Santaluces will send senior Hunter Kyzar (5-2, 0.83 ERA in 42.1 innings) to face Royal Palm junior Justin Lauginiger (7-0, 0.66, 61 strikeouts in 42.2 innings), who hadn’t allowed an earned run until Friday’s loss to No. 2 Palm Beach Central. Both pitchers are 1-2 among large schools in ERA.
In the district tournament, the winner of Thursday’s game could face Palm Beach Lakes, which has been outscored 49-168 this season. The loser could draw Forest Hill senior right-hander Mike Murray (5-2, 1.69), who has an area-best 92 strikeouts.
“He can beat anybody on any night,” Joros said.
On Friday, a power-packed District 9-8A will be settled. At 4 p.m., No. 2 Palm Beach Central hosts No. 1 Jupiter. The winner gets the No. 1 seed and a first-round tournament bye. At 7, No. 4 Dwyer hosts No. 6 Palm Beach Gardens with the district’s No. 3 seed on the line.
Also on Friday, No. 5 Benjamin can earn the No. 1 seed in District 12-3A with a win over Jupiter Christian at Roger Dean Stadium.