Posted: 6:17 pm Saturday, May 19th, 2012

Live blog: Palm Beach Gardens loses to Miami-Columbus in Class 8A baseball state semifinal 

By Matt Porter

PORT ST. LUCIE — Palm Beach Gardens is still looking for its first baseball state title. The Gators’ first run to states since 2005 ended with a 7-4 loss to Miami-Columbus in a Class 8A state semifinal. Watch reaction from Gardens and recap the game.

httpv://youtu.be/SyFV13pGCCM

Pregame

Welcome to Digital Domain Park, the spring training home of the New York Mets, for today’s Class 8A baseball state semifinal between Miami-Columbus and Palm Beach Gardens.

We’ll be providing inning-by-inning updates from high atop the field. If you’re not in the stands, you can watch the action at FHSAASports.com.

Whether you’re here or at home, don’t think about seeing any baseball yet.

The start of the early Class 8A state semifinal, between Orlando-Timber Creek and Port Orange-Spruce Creek, is delayed from 4 p.m. to 6:45 due to rain and lightning.

Gardens players spent the time hanging out in the party deck on the third base grandstands. The delay is messing with everyone’s routine. Some Gardens players played catch. A few reserves ate chicken fingers and french fries.

With more bad weather hanging around the skies, it remains a possibility that Gardens-Columbus could be canceled. The drop-dead time is 10:30. If the game doesn’t start by then, it could be pushed back to Sunday. Based on comments from several Gardens players and coaches, that doesn’t sit well with the teams.

At 6:30, two hours behind schedule, Gardens and Columbus got on a back practice field to warm up. “Two hours doesn’t bother me,” Gardens coach Joe Russo said, adding that he was fine with the game potentially starting at 9. “Playing at 11 o’clock would have got a little crazy.”

8:21 p.m. Port Orange-Spruce Creek runs away with the early Class 8A semifinal, beating Orlando-Timber Creek 8-0 in the Battle of the Creeks.

Columbus in road grays with navy and red trim and navy caps. Gardens in black tops and white pants with black caps. (Because you care about uniforms.) Both take the field.

Has turned into a nice night here at Digital Domain. Temps holding at 77 degrees. Clouds well off in the distance.

Lineups have been posted. They are:

Miami-Columbus (27-4)

Laz Rivera, SS
Frank Navarrete, 2B
Danny Lynch, 3B
Nelson Mompierre, DH
Mike Vinson, RHP
Chris Garabedian, 1B
Brent Diaz, LF
Mike Obregon, RF
Cris Perez, C
[CF: Kevin Suarez]

Palm Beach Gardens (21-10)

Nick Gallo, LF
Jean Cancio, 2B
Pavin Smith, 1B
J.J. Schwarz, C
James Jean, DH
Matt Williams, 3B
Joey Boyd, RHP
Nick Oberg, SS
Zion Bell, RF
[Nick Horvath, CF]

First inning

PBG: Boyd gets Rivera to pop foul to third baseman Williams. Navarette legged out an infield hit, tapping one just past the reach of Boyd. Lynch flied to center. Boyd threw a wild pitch, and Rivera took off. He rounded second and continued to third. He beat the throw from the catcher Schwarz, but overslid the bag and Williams tagged him. 0-1-0, 0 LOB, 0-0

PBG: Vinson, a Florida signee, looks every bit a college pitcher. He stands 6-foot-4 and throws in the low-90s, looking a bit like former West Boca Raton ace Mike Kelly. Gets Gallo to ground to second and strikes out Cancio looking. Smith works Vinson to 3-0, but taps to the mound on 3-2. 0-0-0, 0 LOB, 0-0

Second inning

COL: Boyd goes ahead 0-2 on Mompierre before getting a fly to right. Boyd getting his first-pitch fastball over, looking up to the task. To paint a picture of Boyd: every time, he leans in with the ball behind his back, brings it to his glove as he bends over at the waist, straightens up, breathes deep, sets and quickly delivers. Vinson flies out. Boyd gets into a bit of trouble. He grazes Gardabedian’s shoulder with a 2-2 pitch, putting him on, before going 3-0 on Diaz. Boyd pumps a letters-high fastball past a swinging Diaz. 0-0-0, 1 LOB, 0-0

PBG: Vinson strikes out Schwarz and gets Jean to fly to center. Gets Williams swinging. Could be a long night for Gator bats. 0-0-0, 0 LOB, 0-0

Third inning

COL: Obregon’s grounder to short bounces off Oberg, but he didn’t have a play. Ruled a hit. Perez, the No. 9 man, showing nothing but bunt. He gets it down, and a throwing error puts runners on second and third with nobody out. Rivera singles in the game’s first run. Navarette hacks another single into left to make it 2-0.

Smith, the catcher, throws to second and catches Rivera sleeping. One out. A lazy fly by Lynch drops into no-man’s land near the foul line in short left for a double. Second and third again. Boyd walks Mompierre to load the bases with one out.

Vinson hits a towering fly to left, which drops in for a two-run double. That makes it 4-0. Sac fly from Garabedian puts Columbus up 5-0. Boyd whiffs Diaz for the second time tonight to end the inning. Columbus has to feel great about that inning with Vinson on the mound. 5-5-1, 1 LOB, 5-0 Columbus

PBG: Strong Gardens contingent chanting “Let’s go Gators.” Boyd singles for the first hit off Vinson, but he’s erased on Oberg’s grounder to short. Oberg reaches, but he’s forced out on a grounder to second by Bell. Gallo gets a long talk from Russo, who’s coaching third, before stepping in and lining out to third. 0-0-0, 1 LOB, 5-0 Columbus

Fourth inning

COL: Obregon pops out to the catcher, Schwarz. Perez flies to left, as does Rivera. Much-needed 1-2-3 for Boyd. 0-0-0, 0 LOB, 5-0 Columbus

PBG: Cancio flied to center. Smith reaches on a slow roller to third and goes to second on a throwing error. Second hit allowed by Vinson. He walks Schwarz, causing a Columbus coach to visit the mound. Jean, Palm Beach County’s leader in homers and RBI, worked a five-pitch walk to load the bases.

Williams tapped to first, but Smith scored to put Gardens on the board. Boyd walks to load ‘em up again. Three walks in the inning for Vinson. A wild pitch brought home another run. Oberg singled in another run. That’s all for Vinson, who is yanked for senior right-hander Yency Almonte. Vinson and Almonte combined for a no-hitter in Columbus’ regional final win over Hialeah. Gardens has made it 5-3 in the fourth.

Almonte, a Florida International recruit, whiffs Zion Bell to end the threat. He walks off pounding his hand to his chest. 3-2-1, 2 LOB, 5-3 Columbus

Fifth inning

COL: Third baseman Williams retires Navarette with a strong throw across the diamond. Horvath tracks down a deep fly in center for the second out. Mompierre lines a single to left. Vinson, now playing first base, drives a double to deep right-center, scoring Mompierre with the sixth Columbus run. Boyd is pulled for Williams, a junior and Gardens’ go-to reliever. Boyd walks off the mound, head down, to a large round of applause. Darren Hansen now playing third for Williams.

An errant pickoff throw puts Vinson on third. Garabedia singles him home, making it 7-3 Explorers. Williams strikes out Diaz to end it. 2-3-1, 2 LOB, 7-3 Columbus

PBG: Gallo flies to center. Cancio knocks one down the third-base line and into the corner, sliding in with a triple. A would-be sac fly from Smith is dropped, scoring Cancio. Schwarz struck out. Jean popped out foul to first. 1-1-1, 1 LOB, 7-4 Columbus

Sixth inning

COL: Williams whiffs Obregon. Hansen, his replacement at third, grabs a hot shot from Perez and fires across the diamond for the out. Rivera grounds to short. 0-0-0, 1 LOB, 7-4 Columbus

PBG: Almonte strikes out Williams, Hansen and Bell. Dominant showing for him. 0-0-0, 0 LOB, 7-4 Columbus

Seventh inning

COL: Williams allows two singles, but no runs. Gardens with three outs to save the season. 0-2-0, 2 LOB, 7-4 Columbus

PBG: 1-2-3 inning for Almonte. That’s it. Gators’ first run to states since 2005 ends with at the hands of Miami-Columbus pitchers Mike Vinson and Yency Almonte, who allow four hits. 0-0-0, 0 LOB, 7-4 Columbus, final.