Florida State Finals started yesterday with the 1A and 3A semifinals games with all six classes wrapping up by next Tuesday. Here’s a look at the teams remaining in the six classes and their road to the title:
1A- Brito beat Aucilla Christian 6-3 behind 11 strikeouts from Carlos Rodriguez in one semifinal and take on Summit Christian who beat two-time defending champion Trinity Christian 9-3 to earn their title game berth.
Brito is going for the 6th title overall, their first in five years, and Summit Christian brings a young roster featuring only two seniors. Summit returns to the title game and has won 20 of 21 games, their only loss coming to 6A Palm Beach Gardens.
2A- Four highly rated teams square off starting tomorrow with Orangewood Christian, 29-1 on the year and the #9 team in this week’s National Rankings taking on a hot Brooks-DeBartolo team who beat Lakeland Christian, Bishop McLaughlin, and Shorecrest Prep on their way to the Finals.
Orangewood will start RHP Cody Borup in the game, but is led by an explosive offense that hit a state record 83 home runs, 17 of them coming off the bat of Tomas Nido.
Brooks-DeBartolo is in its first year of eligibility, and third year as a program, went 14-14 during the regular season but has the star power to win the title in LHP/OF Javier Reynoso and OF Adam Eggnatz.
The other semi-final features North Florida Christian and Westminster Christian. North Florida Christian put up 20 runs in a regional final win over Port St. Joe and followed it up with a shutout victory over Freeport. Westminster is a baseball power and will try to defend their title this weekend. Their offense has been on fire recently, scoring 15, 14, and 12 runs in playoff wins over Dade Christian, Florida Christian, and King’s Academy.
3A- The 3A title game is set after Bishop Verot and Pensacola Catholic both posted shutout victories to reach the finale.
Hudson Boyd continued a dominant season for Bishop Verot with a two-hit shutout of Mount Dora, striking out seven in a complete game effort. 1B Daniel Vogelbach, one of the best hitters in the nation has had a huge year, batting .475 with 17 home runs and 50 RBI. RHP DJ Schleicher will get the start in the championship game for BV after going 9-1 with a 2.38 ERA on the year.
Pensacola Catholic had a starter throw a two-hit shutout as well, as LHP Cody Alling shut down North Broward Prep. Pensacola Catholic figures to throw RHP Michael Yarborough in the final game. He went 10-1 with a 1.66 ERA during the regular season. This will be the Crusaders third championship game appearance under head coach Richard LaBounty.
4A- Two perennial powers face new newcomers as Archbishop McCarthy takes on Wakulla and Tampa Jesuit takes on Hernando.
McCarty has been a top 20 team nationally all year and is up to #2 this week. They are making their third straight trip to state, while on the other side, Wakulla is making their first trip in 40 years.
Hernando HS has a similar tale, as it was 1967 since they last made it to the state finals. Tampa Jesuit has been a powerhouse for years, producing drafts picks and Division one talent every year.
A McCarthy vs. Jesuit game would feature two of the most talented teams in the nation. McCarthy features IF Nick Basto, IF Alex Fernandez, and IF/RHP Nick Travieso among others. Jesuit has the top player in the 2012 class in RHP/IF Lance McCullers, as well as RHP/1B Max Beerman, OF/RHP Connor O’Brien, and IF/RHP Spencer Trayner.
5A- Two intriguing matchups await as Pace takes on West Boca in one semifinal, while the other pits Lakeland vs. Manatee.
Pace rolled to an 11-1 win over Fleming Island in the Regional Final, scoring six runs in the first inning. The Pace offense is led by one of the top hitters in the state, SS Addison Russell who hit .516 with 10 home runs and 37 RBI. They take on a talented West Boca team with top 2011 Draft prospects SS Tyler Greene and RHP Michael Kelly, who went 9-1 with a 2.01 ERA and 95 strikeouts in 70 innings.
Lakeland comes into their semifinal game ranked #11 in the most recent Florida Regional Rankings. Lakeland enters the State Finals after wins over Lake Wales, Winter Haven, and Durant. Manatee is making their first state appearance since winning the 2A title in 1963. Manatee is led by ace RHP Correlle Prime.
6A- Deltona earned a trip to the State Finals with an 8-3 win over Lake Howell and they will face Hialeah in the first semi-final Monday. Hialeah earned their trip with a 7-4 win over South Dade. While both team had solid seasons and are just two wins away from the title, the power of the bracket looks to be at the bottom.
Both Alonso and Park Vista picked up hard fought wins, with Alonso beating Orlando’s Dr. Phillips, and Park Vista beating defending 6A champ Flanagan 7-6. Alonso will be tough to beat if they throw RHP Jose Fernandez who was the talk of the WWBA World Championship in October and is a likely first round pick.
Park Vista has proved throughout the season to be one of the top teams in Palm Beach County and has a talented roster led by Robbie Coman and Trea Turner.
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