West Broward Routs Monarch 10-3 To Advance To Semifinals
West Broward scored 24 runs in three games last week during the first round of the HSBN/Perfect Recruits Fall Classic.
So when the hits were hard to come by through the first two games of the second round this week at McArthur High School, the Bobcats knew they couldn’t have another lackluster performance and survive against a tenacious Monarch team that had them on their toes.
The offensive troubles that plagued the Bobcats in the first two games seemed to be a distant memory as West Broward blasted 12 hits en route to a 10-3 victory Thursday night that punched its ticket to the semifinal round next week at Coral Springs High School. The top-seeded Bobcats will face Coral Springs at 8 p.m. Monday, following the 5 p.m. game pitting Douglas against Chaminade-Madonna. The winners go on to the championship at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
“We knew we had not been swinging the bats well in the first two games and knew we couldn’t have another game where we didn’t hit,” Bobcats coach Sergio Ambros said. “And sure enough the bats broke out and we had the key hits.”
To complement the potent hitting, the Bobcats got a strong start from Alex Zapata, who said his “fastball and change-up were my bread and butter today.”
Zapata allowed four hits and kept the Knights scoreless through the first five innings before Monarch managed three runs late in the game.
“It was do or die,” Zapata said. “We wanted to come out on top, and I tried to repeat what Austin (Gray) did last night.”
West Broward broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the third as the Bobcats batted around with four of the first five batters getting hits. After Cody Newell grounded out to lead off the inning, Aires Rivera singled before Danny Pardo was hit by a pitch. Mike Mordente followed with a bases-clearing triple and came home on Evan Stocker’s single. Hayden Uber came in to relieve Monarch starter Nick Ritornato and got the Knights out of the inning without further damage.
The Knights tried to get things going in the top of the fourth as Nick Alonso, Gino Poliandro and Ritornato gave Monarch bases loaded with two outs. Andrew Pierson was retired at first to end the threat.
West Broward added a run in its half of the fourth as pinch-hitter Russell Young singled in Newell.
The Bobcats pushed their lead to 6-0 in the bottom of the fifth as consecutive errors put Gio Ruiz and Luigi Perez on base. They came in when Newell smacked a triple. Newell finished 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run.
Monarch cut the lead to 6-2 in the top of the sixth. Josh Mila and Nick Alonso belted back-to-back doubles and scored. Zapata walked the next two batters, giving way to Mark Mendez, who ended the rally two batters later.
The Bobcats had more left in the them and tacked on four more runs in the bottom of the sixth, batting around again. David Shulterbrandt walked to lead off and was followed by Mordente’s single. Pinch-hitter Chris Lopez roped a triple to bring in Shulterbrandt and Mordente, and then scored on McGinnity’s single. After Ruiz got on with a base hit, Chris O’Brien came in to pitch for Monarch and struck out the next two batters. Adam Toombs singled and Xavier Beltran walked to load the bases, but O’Brien got Shulterbrandt to ground out to end the inning.
Monarch capped the scoring in the seventh as Anthony Morales came in on James Buckley’s sacrifice fly.
Ambros said he was impressed with Monarch’s tenacity and said “you can tell (Joe Franco’s) doing a heck of a job over there.”
“They had us a little on the ropes,” Ambros said. “They’re a scrappy bunch that put the ball in play.”