Posted: 11:25 am Thursday, April 12th, 2012

On eve of baseball playoffs, West Boca Raton ace Parker Danciu quits team 

By Matt Porter

Defending state champion West Boca Raton will play the rest of its season without the pitcher who clinched last year’s state title.

Senior Parker Danciu chose to end his high school career rather than serve a three-week FHSAA suspension, leaving West Boca without its ace, a Florida signee and potential MLB Draft pick, for the upcoming playoffs.

Danciu, who pitched a five-hit shutout for West Boca in last year’s Class 5A state final, will play the rest of the season at Bucky Dent Baseball Academy in Delray Beach.

“We felt terrible for leaving his teammates and his team,” said Joe Danciu, his father. “But the reality is the high school association effectively ended his season for him. It forced our hand, so to speak.”

Asked for a response to Danciu’s decision, West Boca coach Nick Siano said in a text message: “I have no comment on that at this time.”

Danciu, shown pitching here in a Feb. 2011 game against Palm Beach Central, has thrown his last pitch for West Boca Raton. (Damon Higgins/The Palm Beach Post)

Danciu, shown here in a Feb. 2011 game against Palm Beach Central, has thrown his last pitch for West Boca Raton. (Damon Higgins/The Palm Beach Post)

Danciu’s decision stems from an April 6 game at American Heritage. In the second inning, West Boca fell behind 4-2 after Danciu surrendered a two-run double.

Danciu, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound left-hander, threw behind the next batter, American Heritage senior Jon Spada. After Spada expressed his displeasure, the home plate umpire gave Spada a warning. Coaches from both teams went out to calm the players.

According to the umpire’s report, Danciu hit Spada in the ribs with his next pitch and was ejected.

American Heritage coach Carm Mazza said a suspension was warranted, but “three weeks is a little too much.”

“[The pitch] wasn’t malicious, but it was in,” Mazza said. “Coupled with the first pitch behind him, it didn’t look good. To me, it was part of baseball. I’m not mad at the kid. I don’t want to see him miss districts.”

Mazza and Danciu’s father noted that Danciu was not warned before throwing the pitch that hit Spada.

An FHSAA spokesperson explained in an email to The Post that the umpire stepping between the two players should have been considered a warning to both.

On Monday, the FHSAA ordered Danciu to serve three weeks of a six-week suspension, meaning Danciu would miss the District 14-7A tournament and return for the start of the regional playoffs at the earliest. An FHSAA spokesperson said West Boca did not appeal the suspension.

On Wednesday, Danciu was used as a designated hitter for Bucky Dent Academy’s 11-6 loss at Miami-Dade Junior College. He may make his first start this weekend.

“We produce ballplayers,” Bucky Dent Academy Director Gil Gilbert said. “He got into an unfortunate situation. He needed to continue everything that he was doing. He needed to continue throwing and conditioning and he needed to face competition. We were a natural fit.”

West Boca, which graduated first-round San Diego Padres draft pick Michael Kelly and Philadelphia Phillies 11th-rounder Tyler Greene from last year’s state title team, is 13-8 and 5-1 in District 14-7A. Danciu was 4-4 with a 1.51 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 41.2 innings.

Danciu will continue to attend classes at West Boca — he has prom on Friday — and is on track to graduate in May. He will train at the Academy in preparation for a summer session at Florida, where he would be part of the nation’s top-ranked recruiting class. He could be high-round draft pick in the MLB Draft.

“He has a Florida scholarship and other opportunities so he needs to continue to play in a competitive environment and get instruction,” Joe Danciu said. “That’s the bottom line. It’s a personal decision to move forward with his baseball career.”

Bucky Dent Academy, which is located near Danciu’s Delray Beach home, employs Don Thomsen as its head pitching instructor. Joe Danciu said Thomsen has been his son’s pitching coach for the last 10 years.

“We’re happy with everything that’s gone on there [at West Boca],” Joe Danciu said. “We’re doing what’s right for Parker. He hates to leave his teammates. He’ll fight for them, and he has. He’ll stick up for them. That’s the hardest part, leaving [West Boca catcher] Michael Barash and the kids that he has played with.

“But it’s the high school association that forced our hand. They took him out of competition for three weeks. He cant stay idle for that time. He needs to get stronger for his career at Florida.”