Posted: 2:08 pm Monday, May 5th, 2014

Baseball: Inside the regional semifinals 

By Anthony Chiang

We are down to six teams from Palm Beach County.

Palm Beach Gardens left-hander Pavin Smith is expected to pitch against Park Vista on Tuesday. (Photo by Bill Ingram)

With the regional semifinals taking place Tuesday, the number of area teams still alive will shrink again this week.

Here are the matchups involving area teams.

Class 8A

Park Vista (24-3) at Palm Beach Gardens (21-7), Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Breakdown: This is the one everybody has been waiting for since the start of the season. The two most talented teams in Palm Beach County will face off for a chance to advance to the regional finals. The projected pitching matchup will add even more hype to an already great game, as Park Vista is expected to start ace Austin Smith (11-0, 0.11 ERA) and Palm Beach Gardens is expected to counter with left-hander Pavin Smith, who strikes out nine batters for every one walk. This will be a low scoring game, but the bats won’t make it easy on these two dominant pitchers. Park Vista features Dakota Julylia (.500, 16 RBIs), Matthew Mika (.419), Joey Genord (.373, 22 RBIs, and Austin (.421, 17 RBIs). On the other side, Gardens may have the two best hitters in the county in JJ Schwarz and Pavin, who are expected to be selected at the top end of this year’s MLB Draft.

Prediction: This one is so tough to predict because it can go either way, but I’m going to pick Palm Beach Gardens just because I ranked the Gators No. 1 before the start of the season. I’ll stick with my preseason prediction. Gardens beats Park Vista 2-1.

Class 7A

Dwyer (18-7) at Atlantic (14-14-1), Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Breakdown: Dwyer ace Tom Szapucki has not pitched in a few weeks due to a minor injury, but Panthers coach Frank Torre is hopeful Szapucki will be ready to go for this game. The junior left-hander has 45 strikeouts in 34.1 innings pitched on his way to posting a 3-1 record and a 1.02 ERA this season. But Atlantic is one of the hottest teams in the county, beating top seeds West Boca Raton and Dwyer to win the District 137A tournament as the No. 4 seed. Senior Jarren Pinkney leads the Eagles, batting .366 with seven homers and 40 RBIs. In Atlantic’s 10-8 victory over Dwyer in the district final on April 24, Pinkney recorded five RBIs and a home run. The Eagles ended the season with a 10-14-1 record, but they have won four consecutive games to reach this point.

Prediction: Dwyer will earn revenge for its loss to Atlantic in the district championship, beating the Eagles 5-2.

Class 2A

Boca Raton Christian (13-12) at Deerfield Beach-Zion Lutheran (14-5), Tuesday at 4 p.m.

Breakdown: It has been a good year for Boca Raton Christian, as it made it to regionals for the sixth time in the past seven seasons. But it’s going to be tough to get by Zion Lutheran, which won all three matchups against the Blazers this season by a combined score of 46-6.

Prediction: Boca Raton Christian’s season will come to an end, as Zion Lutheran wins 9-2.

Vero Beach-Master’s Academy (10-7) at Atlantic Christian (9-8), Tuesday at 4 p.m.

Breakdown: After an impressive win in the regional quarterfinals, the Saints enter this contest with some momentum. Petru De La Garza, Ronald Ramadan and Chris Perez lead Atlantic Christian’s pitching staff.

Prediction: Master’s Academy will come away with a 5-4 win.

Around the Treasure Coast

Class 7A
Martin County (18-9) at Melbourne (27-4), Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Class 6A
Pembroke Pines Charter (18-4) at Okeechobee (14-10), Tuesday at 7 p.m.