Posted: 1:00 pm Monday, April 14th, 2014

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

By Anthony Chiang

It’s hard to believe, but there is just one week separating us from the baseball playoffs.

Jupiter clinched the No. 1 seed in the District 9-8A with a victory over Palm Beach Central last week. (Photo by Allen Eyestone)

The district standings are set and only non-district games remain before the postseason. We will have a breakdown of the area’s district tournaments up on the blog later this week. For now, here is where the county’s baseball teams stand.

Post Top 10
1. West Boca Raton (17-1): Beat Dwyer to take No. 1 seed in district tourney.
2. Park Vista (19-2): Fell to King’s Academy for second loss of season.
3. Trinity Christian (19-4): Won 10 of past 11.
4. Dwyer (15-5): Duke Stunkel batting .370 for the Panthers.
5. American Heritage (17-6): Will enter District 13-4A tournament as No. 1 seed.
6. Palm Beach Gardens (16-7): Won five of past six.
7. Palm Beach Central (14-8-1): Won just one game since start of April.
8. Jupiter (12-11): Used six-game winning streak to take district’s No. 1 seed.
9. King’s Academy (14-9): Earned big win over Park Vista last week.
10. Spanish River (15-9): Scored 29 runs over current three-game winning streak.

As you can see, West Boca finally took the No. 1 spot. With Park Vista falling to King’s Academy and West Boca clinching the No. 1 seed in a competitive District 13-7A last week, it was the obvious move. The Bulls have won 11 straight and have not lost since March 4. Dominant pitching is a big reason for West Boca’s success, as the staff has posted nine shutouts this season.

Trinity Christian has also been trending upward recently, winning 10 of its past 11 games. Bruce Martin and Byron Murray have been incredible for the Warriors this season. Martin is batting .493 with 20 RBIs, and Murray is batting .359 with four home runs. Despite all of that, Trinity Christian will enter its district tournament as the No. 4 seed. But the Warriors still have a chance to advance to the regional tournament.

Jupiter has been the most surprising team of the bunch. Jupiter began the season with a 6-11 record, but it has won six straight to steal the District 9-8A tournament’s No. 1 seed. The Warriors’ bats have woken up after a very poor start. Jupiter is averaging about six runs per game over its current winning streak, cracking the Post’s Top 10 this week.

Games of the Week

Benjamin (11-10) at Coral Springs Christian (16-7), Tuesday at 4 p.m.: Buccaneers left-hander Bennett Sousa is one of the top pitchers in the county. The Virginia commit has 42 strikeouts in 32 innings on the mound this season, posting a 1.75 ERA. Sousa will face one of his toughest tests of the season against Coral Springs Christian.

No. 3 Trinity Christian (19-4) at No. 9 King’s Academy (14-9), Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.: Although this is a non-district game, this should be a fun one between two of the best private school baseball teams in the county. The Warriors are led by Martin and Murray. The Lions are led by Dominic Mercurio, who is batting .521 and has a 2.67 ERA.

No. 6 Palm Beach Gardens (16-7) at No. 5 American Heritage (17-6), Tuesday at 7 p.m.: Both of these teams have saved their best baseball for the second half of the season. The Gators have won four of their past five games, and the Stallions are on a seven-game winning streak. This should be an interesting matchup between two of the most talented teams in the county.