Posted: 12:06 pm Monday, March 17th, 2014

Baseball: Inside the Top 10, plus this week’s top matchups 

By Anthony Chiang

Spring break is here and teams are scattered across the state playing in tournaments.

Five teams from Palm Beach County will travel to Sanford and Altamonte Springs to take part in the Florida League High School Invitational this week. Meanwhile, Meanwhile, 12 of the area’s teams will stay close to home to play in the annual Lake Worth Spring Break Tournament, which will be played at Forest Hill High School and Dave Manzo Field. (Check out the schedule of games)

Post Top 10
1. Park Vista (11-0): Cobras still perfect after three wins last week.
2. West Boca Raton (9-1): Have allowed 12 runs in 10 games this season.
3. Dwyer (8-3): Three losses have come against winning teams.
4. Royal Palm Beach (9-3): Sean Malynn leads the Wildcats with a .375 batting average and 12 RBIs.
5. Trinity Christian (9-2): On three-game winning streak.
6. American Heritage (9-4): Tyler Frank and Hunter Bowling swinging hot bats for the Stallions.
7. Palm Beach Central (7-4-1): Big district wins over Seminole Ridge and Jupiter last week.
8. Palm Beach Gardens (7-5): Gators off to disappointing 2-3 start to district play.
9. Cardinal Newman (7-4): Crusaders will take part in Lake Worth Spring Break Tournament.
10. Wellington (8-5): Big district loss to Palm Beach Gardens last week.

The top four has not changed, but the rest of the rankings did. Trinity Christian and American Heritage each moved up one spot after big weeks. The Warriors went 3-0, including a district victory over Oxbridge Academy last week. Meanwhile, American Heritage has won seven of its past eight games and played No. 1 Park Vista tough on Friday. The Stallions lost just 4-3 to the Cobras, giving them their toughest game of the season.

After falling out of the rankings, Palm Beach Central made its way back in this week. The Broncos picked up huge district wins over Seminole Ridge and Jupiter last week. Pitchers Shane Sawczak (2.55 ERA) and Kyle Giragos (2.01 ERA) have given Central a reliable one-two punch on the mound. The Broncos’ are tied with Wellington for first in a tough District 9-8A. The No. 10 Wolverines have won five of their past six games, but they dropped an important district matchup against No. 8 Palm Beach Gardens last week.

Games of the Week

Seminole Ridge (8-5) vs. Benjamin (6-5), Wednesday at 9 a.m.: These two teams from Palm Beach County will square off in the Florida League High School Invitational held in Sanford this week. The Hawks are sporting a .305 team batting average and a 1.61 team ERA. Pitchers Richie Catromano (1.59 ERA) and Jake Paez (2.24 ERA) have been tremendous for Seminole Ridge. On the other side, Benjamin features top prospect and Virginia commit Bennett Sousa, who is 2-1 with a 0.40 ERA this season. At the plate, Matt Ellmyer leads the Buccaneers with 14 hits in 36 at-bats for a team-best .389 batting average.

No. 1 Park Vista (11-0) at No. 3 Dwyer (8-3), Friday at 1 p.m.: Although this isn’t a district matchup, it still has meaning. When two of the area’s best teams face off, bragging rights are always on the line. The Cobras enter the week with a perfect record, but they have only earned one win against a ranked opponent. Still, Park Vista has been impressive, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 98-16 this season. However, Dwyer is not far behind the Cobras. After an 0-2 start, the Panthers have won eight of nine behind a pitching staff that has recorded three shutouts over that stretch of success. One team will fall on Friday.