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High School : : General
Florida Playoff Preview
Todd Gold         Ben Collman        
Published: Thursday, April 28, 2011

PG High School previews the Florida Regional Playoffs which start this week with District Play and go until May 18-24 in Port St. Lucie. PG looks at the top teams, top players, and makes its’ picks for all six classes.


6A


The Favorites

District 9- Whoever emerges from this loaded district featuring Boca Raton, Jupiter, Palm Beach Central, Park Vista, and Santaluces will be a favorite to advance to state.

Douglas-Undefeated until a late season three-game skid, they are still a top contender. LHP/OF Patrick Kulick is a player to watch.

Dr. Phillips- Perennial Orlando contender handed Orangewood Christian their only regular season loss.

Flanagan- Up to #2 in the National Rankings, the defending champions are looking strong again with an 11-game winning streak going into the postseason.

Sarasota- The Sailors struggled a bit going 14-9 in the regular season, but have one of the most talented rosters in the state.

Players to Watch

Jose Fernandez, RHP, Alonso- Alonso will be tough to beat when the #1 pitcher in the state is on the hill.

Austin Gomber, LHP West Orange- The FAU commit has a loose arm and good command of his breaking stuff.

Ricky Santiago, IF, Flanagan- One of a number of Falcons that could be chosen, one of the deepest team in the state.

Andrew Suarez, LHP, Columbus- The AFLAC All-American left-hander has worked in the low 90s this year and has proven to be one of the top pitchers in the Miami area.

Trea Turner, IF, Park Vista- Just one member of a very talented Park Vista team along with Robbie Coman and Tyler Kendall.

 

Toughest Roads

Flanagan- Their District features Cooper City, Cypress Bay, West Broward, and Western (Davie); not an easy task.

Palm Beach County- As noted above, whoever comes out of this District will earn it, having to face top arms like Kyle Smith, Ryan Harris and position players like Tommy Williams and Dominic Jose.

District 4- The district features nine Orlando teams, one of the most talented and competitive areas in the state.


Sleepers

Coral Gables- The Cavaliers went 17-7 on the year with wins over American, Gulliver Prep, and Braddock

DeLand- We have seen RHP Luke Weaver throw multiple times in a weekend during tournaments, if he can do that again, the Bulldogs become very tough.

Oviedo- RHP Ryan Meyer leads the Lions, who went 15-11 in the regular season.


PG’s Pick

Flanagan didn’t make our Preseason National Top 50 after losing a lot of talent from last year’s championship squad. They have proven throughout the year, with an 18-2 record and multiple big wins, that they are the top team in the state. Look for the Falcons to continue their win streak all the way to Port St. Lucie.


5A


The Favorites

Dunedin- SS Casey Turgeon leads a team that went 21-4 on the year with impressive wins over Tampa Jesuit, Barron Collier, and Cardinal Mooney.

Pace- The defending champions have been the top team all year in the Panhandle, going 22-3 and entrenching themselves into the Florida Regional Rankings.

Seminole- One of the top teams in the St.Pete area all year going 19-6, the Warhawks are led by RHP/IF Joe Krehbiel.

Venice- The Indians went 22-5 on the year, including an impressive showing at the prestigious Sarasota Classic in March.

West Boca- One of the hottest teams in the state coming into the playoffs. The pitching duo of RHP Michael Kelly and LHP Parker Danciu will be tough to beat.


Players to Watch

Josh Delph, OF, Bartow- The FSU commit with a balanced, smooth swing was part of the Chet Lemon’s Juice team that was co-championship of the 2010 WWBA World Championship in Jupiter.

Tyler Greene, SS, West Boca- Along with Kelly and Danciu he gives West Boca the star power needed to make a deep run in the state tournament.

Jordan Priddle, LHP, Leon- The FSU commit will be counted on to advance Leon out of a district that features fellow Jacksonville schools Chiles and Lincoln.

Addison Russell, SS, Pace- A top 10 player in the 2012 class, one of the best pure hitters in the nation, regardless of age.

Justin Shafer, RHP/OF, Lake Wales- We have seen Shafer star at the plate and on the mound for FTB Mizuno, if he can continue that, Lake Wales will be very tough to beat.

Toughest Roads

District 9- The hard fought battle in Tampa continues between Chamberlain, Freedom , Gaither, Hillsborough, King, Leto, and Sickels.

Fleming Island- The Golden Eagles started the season with 17 consecutive wins and play in tough District 4 with Bucholz, Gainesville, Lee, and Wolfson

West Boca- The Bulls share a district with Dwyer, Lake Worth, Spanish River, and Wellington.


Sleepers

Lakeland- The Dreadnaughts went 21-4 on the year behind an offense that scored at least nine runs in seven of their last eight games.

St. Thomas Aquinas- They struggled at times during the season, but showed flashes of being one of the top teams in the state.

Wellington- Posted big wins over other top Palm Beach competition throughout the year, a big matchup vs. West Boca looms.


PG’s Pick

The brutal Palm Beach County schedule has prepared West Boca for the playoffs and with Michael Kelly and Parker Danciu, they have two aces that can shut down even the best offenses in Florida when they are on.


4A


The Favorites

Archbishop McCarthy- A loaded roster that sported dominant wins all year, the Mavericks will be very tough to beat.

Barron Collier- The Cougars stumbled a bit down the stretch, but put together big wins over quality competition all year.

Lakewood Ranch- A very talented team with pitching depth put together big wins of Bishop Verot and West Boca among others.

Osceola- Went 20-4 on the year, led by LHP/CF Taylor Layner, one of the top two-way players in the state.

Tampa Jesuit- In the national top 50 all year, the talented, young squad has played some of its best baseball over the last few weeks.


Players to Watch

Albert Almora, OF, Mater Academy- The #11 player in the 2012 class has a bat that could carry a team for weeks.

Alex Fernandez, 2B, Archbishop McCarthy- The leader of a great Maverick offense, the 2B does it all.

Brett Hanewich, RHP/IF, Lakewood Ranch- A name to remember for the next couple of years. The sophomore is already one of the best two-way players in the state.

Lance McCullers, RHP/SS, Tampa Jesuit- The top player in the 2012 class has been outstanding on the mound and at the plate.

Ryan Whaley, OF, Cardinal Gibbons- A great athlete who can also hit, Whaley could come on strong with a big postseason.


Toughest Roads

District 9 (Tampa) - Jesuit may be the most talented, but don’t count out Steinbrenner, Jefferson, and Robinson.

District 10 (Bradenton-St. Pete) - Features Lakewood, Lakewood Ranch, Osceola, and Palmetto.

Archbishop McCarthy- The Maverick maybe the favorite, but they will have to go through a district that features Cardinal Gibbons, Fort Lauderdale, and Pembroke Pines Charter.

 

Sleepers

Jefferson- The Dragons went 20-4 on the year, including a win over Tampa Jesuit.

Mariner- Went 19-7 on the year, player to watch is 3B/RHP Alex Santana.

Menendez- A team to watch led by SS Avery Romero, one of the top juniors in the country.


PG’s Pick

Archbishop McCarthy has been a Top 20 team in the country all year and with their explosive offense and power arms they could continue their dominant play all the way to the state title.


3A

 

The Favorites

American Heritage (Plantation)- The Patriots have lost eight games on the year but feature a prospect-laden team that can put up runs in a hurry

Bishop Verot- The Vikings have won six straight going into the playoffs with a pitching staff that has been dominant down the stretch.

Gulliver- While they didn’t put up as dominant a season as we initially expected the Raiders went 23-4 on the year and were a fixture in the National Top 50.

North Broward Prep- A very talented Miami-area team that will face off Thursday against American Heritage.

Pensacola Catholic- One of the state’s top teams throughout the year, they were undefeated until April with two of their four losses on the season to Pace.


Players to Watch

Hudson Boyd, RHP/ Daniel Vogelbach, 1B, Bishop Verot- The two stars have been as advertised this year with Boyd dominating with  power stuff and great control, and Vogelbach hitting everything in sight as he seems to always do.

Garrett Nuss, RHP Mount Dora- The hard-throwing UCF commit has been up to 93 in the past and also has a 12/6 downer curveball.

Ivan Peleaz, LHP, Gulliver Prep- The offense is not much of a concern for the Raiders, but if they can get dominant pitching from Peleaz, they will be even tougher to beat.

Brandon Sedell, C, American Heritage- The senior catcher is the Patriots leader, and hit an impressive .513 during the regular season.

Sean Trent, 3B, Bishop Moore- The cannon-armed 3B is one of the best all-around players in the state.


Toughest Roads

District 10- They Catholic school division with Clearwater Central Catholic, Tampa Catholic and St. Petersburg Catholic, along with Berkeley Prep will be tough.

District 14- American Heritage will have its work cut out; their district also has Coral Springs Charter, North Broward Prep, Pine Crest, and Pompano Beach.

District 16- It seems like the at least one Miami-area District sneaks in to every class. 3A is no different; Gulliver Prep is the favorite but will have to go through Archbishop Carroll, Coral Springs, and St. Brendan.


Sleepers

Bolles School- The traditional power has struggled this year with inconsistency and injuries, but still have RHP/1B Hayden Hurst.

Cardinal Mooney (Sarasota) - Very solid all year, going 20-5 and hanging with the top teams in the Sarasota/Bradenton area.

Monsignor Pace- The Spartans went 12-11 in the regular season, but have OF Dereck Rodriguez.


PG’s Pick

We had Gulliver Prep as the preseason #1 in the country and it is tough to pick against all their talent. American Heritage and Bishop Verot will be tough, but we think the Raiders have the team to win the 3A title.


2A


The Favorites

Florida Christian- The Patriots played a very tough schedule and got thru with a 20-4 record including wins over Columbus (GA), Forsyth Country Day (NC), Blessed Trinity (GA) and Pinecrest (NC).

North Florida Christian- The Eagles went 21-4 on the year, proving to be one of the best teams in Jacksonville.

Orangewood Christian- Their explosive offense piled up runs all year, suffering just one loss to Dr. Phillips.

Providence- Another top Jacksonville team, they went 22-4 and are led by RHP Zac Favre.

Westminster Christian- A very talented teams to watch, OF David Thompson is only a junior and is already a star.


Players to Watch

Dante Bichette, IF/RHP, Orangewood Christian- One of the top power hitters in the state will be counted on to pitch big innings as well.

John Nagowski, 1B/LHP, North Florida Christian- A top two-way player, he hit. 500 with 40 RBI on the year.

Lazaro Rodriguez, IF, Florida Christian- The VA Tech commit was one of the many catalysts in a talented Patriot offense.

Roman Quinn, OF, Port St. Joe- One of the fastest players in the state, Quinn could be a game changer with his base running.

JoMarcus Woods, OF, The First Academy –An athletic player who can play OF and IF, Woods seems to be on base whenever he is on the field.


Toughest Roads

District 14- The District boasts Calvary Christian, Coral Springs Charter, Sagemont, and Westminster Academy.

District 15- Florida Christian will have it tough early, facing Archbishop Curley, Dade Christian, and Miami Country Day.

District 13- The eight team district favorite may be Pope John Paul II, but has a lot of candidates to move on.


Sleepers

Brooks DeBartolo- A talented team just playing its best ball, led by OF Adam Eggnatz and LHP Javier Reynoso.

Yonge- The Gainesville school had a great regular season, an underclassmen to watch is OF Sean Kamhoot.

Lakeland Christian- Went 15-7 facing a tough regular season schedule, could make some noise in Region 3.


PG’s Pick

Orangewood was a dominant team all year and could ride its offensive star power all the way to the title. If the Rams can continue to get good pitching performances, they will be tough to beat.


1A


The Favorites

Trinity Christian Academy- The Eagles went 19-7 on the season including wins over Bishop Moore and two over Eagles’s View.

Brito- The school produced 2010 first rounder Manny Machado and is back with a talented roster and 13-8 record.

Summit Christian- The West Palm Beach school went 22-5, including winning 17 of its last 18.

Miami Christian- The Victors were 17-9 on the regular season and have the roster to make a deep playoff run.

Seacrest Country Day- The Naples school went 19-7 on the year including a big win over Westminster (GA).


Players to Watch

Clay Kramm, OF, Munroe School- An athletic OF who ran a 6.65 and threw 91 from the OF at last year’s Sunshine East Showcase.

Carson Fulmer, RHP, All Saints Academy- Probably the best arm in 1A playoffs, up to 92 last fall.

Phildrick Llewellyn, C, Trinity Christian Academy- The FIU commit is a switch-hitting catcher with strength and athleticism.

Stewart Knight, SS, Eagle’s View Academy- A Florida State commit that will try to advance the Warriors after a tough regular season.

Nick Baker, RHP, Highlands Christian- The upper 80s right hander could be pivotal as he tries to get Highlands Christian out of District 14.


Toughest Roads

District 2- The Tallahassee area district favorite could be John Paul II.

District 6- The Orlando area district features Central Florida Christian, Faith Christian, Foundation Academy, Geneva, and Windermere Prep.

District 14- Fort Lauderdale Christian and Highlands Christian will be tested.


Sleepers

Eagle’s View- Usually a 1A power, the Warriors struggled to a 3-21 record, but the tough competition should have them ready for the postseason.

Seffner Christian- The Crusaders went 14-8 in the regular season and could be a team to watch in the month of May.

Windermere Prep- A talented young team, that features national record holder Austin Glorious.


PG’s Pick

Maybe the most wide-open of any of the classes. Miami Christian is our pick to go all the way to the state title.


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