Posted: 5:08 pm Friday, May 18th, 2012

Baseball: Preview for Palm Beach Gardens-Columbus Class 8A state semifinal 

By Matt Porter

Palm Beach Gardens is two wins away from its first baseball state title. The Gators need to beat Miami-Columbus on Saturday to continue the journey. Here’s a preview of the game:

Palm Beach Gardens celebrates its regional final win over Pembroke Pines-West Broward. (Richard Graulich/The Palm Beach Post)

Palm Beach Gardens celebrates its regional final win over Pembroke Pines-West Broward. (Richard Graulich/The Palm Beach Post)

Class 8A state semifinal
Palm Beach Gardens (21-10) vs. Miami-Columbus (27-4)

7 p.m. Saturday at Digital Domain Park, Port St. Lucie

How Gardens got there: District 9-8A runner up. Beat Park Vista, Dwyer and West Broward in regionals.
How Columbus got there: Beat Miami Southridge, Miami Killian and Hialeah in regionals.
About Columbus: Seniors Mike Vinson (9-0, 1.10) and Yency Almonte combined for a no-hitter in a nine-inning, 1-0 win. Both Vinson, a Florida signee, and Almonte (FIU) are 6-foot-4 right-handed power pitchers who throw in the low-90s. None of the Explorers’ six pitchers has an ERA over 3.00; five have ERAs under 2.00.

Gardens’ starting lineup
No. – Player – Pos. – Yr. — Comment

Jean

Jean

13 – Nick Gallo – LF – Jr. – Grabbed leadoff role early in first varsity season. Batting .318
5 – Jean Cancio – 2B – Sr. – Good pop, batting .362, 4 HR. Committed to Palm Beach State
6 – J.J. Schwarz – C – Soph. – Surpassed expectations behind plate and at-bat. .337, 4 HR
24 – Pavin Smith – 1B – Soph. – 6-foot-3 Virginia commit batting .378 and is strong LHP
16 – James Jean – DH – Sr. – Batting .337 and leads county in HRs (7) and RBIs (32)
55 – Matt Williams – 3B – Jr. – Everyday third baseman is team’s go-to reliever. Batting .316
20 – Joey Boyd – RHP – Jr. — Rubber-armed 6-1, 205-pound starter brings high-80s repertoire
3 – Nick Oberg – SS – Sr. – Strong-armed Coastal Carolina signee plays above-average defense
21 – Zion Bell – RF – Sr. – Quiet, hard-working senior solid in field and at the plate.
* * *
9 – Brooks de Montluzin – LHP – Sr. – FSC-Jacksonville-bound lefty reliable throughout season
8 – Nick Horvath – CF – Soph. – Everyday center fielder has plenty of range
2 – Hunter Kempton – RHP – Sr.
Boyd

Boyd


4 – Austin Engle – RHP – Sr.
7 – Darren Hansen – 3B – Sr.
12 – Andres Morillo – IF/OF – Sr.
15 – Dalton Lew – RHP/OF – Sr.
17 — Caleb Perez — 3B — Soph.
18 – Cam Romaine – RHP – Soph.
20 – Riley Colbath – RHP – Jr.
33 – Baylon Sparks — C – Fr.
44 – Hunter Sanicky – PR/SS – Fr.
Injured: Riley Colbath (Jr.), Evan Drew (Sr.)
Coach: Joe Russo (19th season, 409-155). Assistants: Greg Thomas, Bobby Besaw, George Sandel, Anthony Guadagnino, Matt Westbrooks