Broward High School Baseball
The Prospect Farm

Pine Crest Slugs It’s Way Past Taravella, 12-6

Pine Crest’s Aram Leighton rounds third base after his three run blast in the first inning.

Both teams had their bats working when Taravella met Pine Crest at Roschman Field on Monday afternoon on the Pine Crest Campus. The host team Panthers slugged their way past the Trojans for a 12-6 decision. Pine Crest (8-4-1) used three big innings to out-score its opponents, even though they were out-hit by the visiting Trojans.

The Panthers scored five runs in the first inning on four hits to take control early. Jordan Schulefand started things off with a home run to deep center field to put the Panthers on the scoreboard. Griffin Conine drove a base hit to the opposite field for a single, and catcher Michael Rothenberg moved Conine to third with a double to left-center field. An RBI ground out by Ben Fiedler brought in Conine. With two outs, Ravi Bakhai was hit by a pitch and set the stage for junior Aram Leighton. Leighton took a first-pitch fastball and drove it over the hedges in right-center field, for a three-run home run.

“I was looking for a first-pitch fast ball,” Schulefand admitted. “He threw me a good pitch and I was able to get my bat on it, and it went out.”

That seemed to be the strategy for Pine Crest, as Leighton shared the same sentiments regarding his own longball.

“Ravi had just gotten hit by a pitch. I felt that with two runners on the pitcher was going to try and recapture the strike zone,” Leighton said. “I looked for a fastball in. If he didn’t throw me a fastball I was going to wait him out, but in it came and I got a good swing at it.”

Taravella (7-4) also had its hitting shoes on, as the Trojans had runners on in every inning but one.

“It is tough when you out-hit a team and lose the ball game,” Manager Alan Clark said. “We had runners on quite a bit, but at that crucial time where we needed another hit, it did not come today.”

Taravella scored four runs in the third inning to make things close at 5-4. The highlight of the inning for the Trojans was a three-run home run by pitcher Nik Sanders. Sanders overcame a bit of a rough start on the mound and brought the Trojans back in the game by holding the Panthers scoreless in the second, third and fourth innings.

Nik Sanders kept the Trojans in the game with his pitching and hitting.

“Nik usually uses the first inning to find his zone, and once he does he settles in,” Clark said of his starting pitcher. “He did settle down and kept us in the game, but he over-heated in the fifth. It was a hot day out there today.”

Pine Crest hit up Sanders for four runs in the crucial fifth inning. The highlight of that big inning was a two-run home run by Griffin Conine.

“Its good to see Griffin have a good day,” Manager Wayne Stofsky said of his senior outfielder. “He’s been pressing a little lately. He had such a good year last year, that this year he hasn’t been getting a lot of good pitches to hit. Sometimes that makes you struggle. But he woke up big time today and like I said, it was good to see.”

To back up the hot hitting of the Panthers, they got a solid performance by sophomore Sam Wurth. Although he surrendered nine hits to the Trojans, he was able to minimize the damage and shut them down when the Panthers needed it to earn the victory.

“Our team helped me out a lot today,” Wurth stated.  “We got hits in bunches and we were able to score some runs. We also played great defense with plays from Ben Fiedler at first base and Griffin in the outfield.”

The hitting stars were plentiful for both teams. Taravella got two hits and an RBI from center fielder Gaven Robinson. It also got production from Manny Pantaleon, with two hits, including a two-run home run in the sixth inning. Nik Sanders collected three RBIs with his three-run home run in the third inning.

Conine led Pine Crest’s offense, going 3-for-4 with three runs scored and four RBIs. Also helping on the offense for the Panthers was Zach Kone with two hits, two runs scored and an RBI, as well as the home run hitters, Schulefand and Leighton.

“We have been struggling with the bat, but the last couple of days we have started hitting,” Stofsky said. “We knew we would need to score runs against a very good Taravella ball club. We have a small field here at Pine Crest and our normal mode of operation is to have our big pitchers shut the other team down. Today, we did it with our bats. It was good to see our bats working today, and I was pleased with the toughness of our starting pitcher, Sam Wurth. We have one more game this week, our pitching staff is in good shape and that bodes well for us as we move towards the HSBN Shootout tournament.”

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