Broward High School Baseball
Mastering the Mental Side of Baseball

HSBN March Madness Shootout Gold Bracket

This year’s HSBN March Madness Shootout is again set to be one of the top Spring Break tournaments in the country. In the third-annual event, Monsignor Pace grabs the top seed and is the defending champion of the Gold Bracket, and it will try to become the first number one seed to win the tournament. Below is the complete seedings for the Gold Bracket.

Daily Schedule & Brackets

1. Monsignor Pace – The Spartans will be attempting to accomplish a pair of firsts, winning back-to-back titles, and becoming the first top seed to win the event. After coming within a couple out of a state title last year, Pace has returned this year with a vengeance. Their offense is led by senior shortstop Jeter Down, but he is not alone. While Downs leads the team in stolen bases and runs, teammate Michael Montes is the team leader in average, home runs, and RBIs. The Spartans have again been battle tested, and are prepared for a title run. They will open with 16-seed Chaminade-Madonna Saturday night.

2. St. Thomas – The Raiders had a miserable start to their season, losing their first three games in the Falcons Challenge. Since that 0-3 start, all St. Thomas has done was roll off nine straight victories. It has been over a month since the teams last loss, and they are primed for a deep run in the March Madness tourney. Earl Semper leads the team with a .542 average. Semper also the teams’ runs and doubles leader. The tourney will present a challenge for the Raiders, as eight of the teams nine wins have come against teams with losing records.

3. Killian – The Cougars are another team coming into the tournament on a roll. Killian has won four of their past five games, and six of their past eight. Three of their eight wins have come against teams ranked in the HSBN Miami Power Rankings. Having played a difficult schedule will help the Cougars as despite their #3 seeding, they play in one of the toughest brackets. Their opener against #14 Coral Park will be no easy task. Gabriel Rivera is the teams leading hitter at.444. On the mound, Killian has an ERA of 3.06. Ryan Floyd and Eliezer each have three wins, with Floyd leading the staff in strikeouts.

4. Miami Christian – The Victors are making their debut in the March Madness Shootout, and they will do so with lofty expectations. One of the surprise teams through the first half of the season, Miami Christian comes into the tournament trying to make a statement. Their draw starts with a tough opponent in Southwest, and should they get by the Spartans, either Coral Springs or Miami Beach will be waiting. The offense has scored 85 runs in their 13 games, while the pitching staff has been led by Mario Fernandez and Alejandro Rosario, each with ERA’s at 3.0 or under.

5. Coral Springs – The Colts come into the tournament as one of the mysterious teams. They have dominated the games they have won, but the combined record of teams they have beat is 28-48. Their two losses came against teams with winning records. That, however, does not tell the whole story, as ace Max Lazar kept them in both games, losing by a combined score of 4-1. The Colts also have history on their side, as they are the defending champions of the Silver Bracket of last year’s March Madness Shootout. Lazar has been spectacular on the mound, with an ERA of .82, and 44 strikeouts.

6. Ferguson – The Falcons come into the tournament as one of the hottest teams in South Florida. Not only has Ferguson won six of their past seven, but they have knocked off some of the top teams in Miami along the way. Yesterday, the Falcons had their biggest win to date, an 8-6 district victory over #4 Braddock. Ferguson will open up against a traditional Miami power, Goleman, in the first round. With a tough draw, the Falcons deep run in the tournament could hinge on their ability to getting by the Gators in round one. Enrique Cabrera leads the Falcons with a .483 average.

7. Westminster Academy – Nobody has been better at getting more out of their team over the past few years than Lions Manager Nick James. Since coming to the area, James has built Westminster into one of the most consistent programs in Broward. The 2017 version of the Lions is led by seniors Tommy Haggerty and Thomas Neuman, both with ERA’s under 1.5. Christian Sosa leads the team in stolen bases, runs, RBIs, and home runs. The Lions will open their tournament against traditional Miami power Brito, with a possible match-up with St. Thomas looming in round two.

8. Coral Gables – Any discussion about the hottest teams in the Gold Bracket has to include the Cavaliers. After starting the season 2-5, Gables has won their past six games and they have knocked off Somerset, Coral Park, and Westland Hialeah. The pitching that struggled early in the season has suddenly found their groove, corresponding with the six game win streak. The Cavs are on top of their district with a 5-1, and they now look to add a March Madness Championship to their trophy case. Gables is no stranger to the March Madness tourney, having won the Gold bracket just two seasons ago.

9. American – The Patriots have been a hard team to figure out this season. The come into the tournament with some big wins, but also some head-scratching losses. American was not helped out by their draw, having to face Coral Gables in the opening round, and then a possible match-up with top seeded Monsignor Pace awaits. The Patriots offense has been able to put up 64 runs in 14 games, and they have a team batting average of .345. On the flip side, the pitching has an ERA of 3.27. Michael Diaz leads the team with 20 innings pitched and 21 strikeouts.

10. Miami Brito – For Brito to make a title run in the tournament, they will have to play better against top competition. The Panthers’ two losses have come against Miami Christian and Gulliver Prep. Of the teams eight wins, only one has come against a team with a winning record. The young Panthers will have to grow up quickly as they will face Westminster Academy in round one. Brito comes to the event with a championship pedigree, as they have been the class of 2A for much of the past decade, but it will take a group effort to navigate their tough draw.

11. Goleman – A team that is growing up before our eyes, Goleman can take great strides towards being back where they were a year ago by making a deep tournament run. The Gators lost a large portion of their team to graduation after last season, and the rebuilding effort has happened quickly for Manager Jose Lopez. After a district loss to Miami Springs, and a subsequent game to Killian, the Gators have turned the tables on their season. They have won their last eight games, and along the way avenged the Miami Springs’ loss. Goleman will be challenged in the tourney, starting with Ferguson.

12. Miami Beach – Manager Juan Cordero has spent the past few seasons rebuilding the Hi-Tides program, and this year those efforts have started to pay off. Beach has won seven games already in 2017, and has won three of their past four games. it opens against Coral Springs, the defending Silver bracket champion. The Hi-Tides are in the middle of a battle for the top seed in 9A-14, and four of the five teams in the district will be competing in the March Madness Shootout. To upset the Colts in round one, Beach will have to tighten up on the defensive side, having given up more than five runs five times.

13. Southwest – There has been a changing of the guard at Southwest, as longtime Manager Josy Torres stepped down after last season and Mandy Pelaez to the helm this year. The early results have been mixed, as the Eagles had big wins over Miami Beach and Killian. After getting off to a 6-2 start, Southwest has lost four straight games. With three one run losses, and two, two run losses, the Eagles are only a few games removed from being one of the top teams coming into the tourney. Opening with Miami Christian, Southwest is one to keep an eye on as an underdog that could make a long run.

14. Coral Park – The Rams are another team that is dangerous from the bottom half of the Gold bracket. Coral park came into the season with lofty expectations, but have yet to hit their stride. At 6-5, it may look as though the Rams snuck in to the Gold bracket,
but upon further review, the team has wins over Mater Academy, Coral Gables, and Southwest. If they can put together consistency over the next week, they can be a team to keep an eye on. The draw is not great, as they open with a date against Killian, and a possible second round match-up with Goleman or Ferguson.

15. Good Counsel – One of the wild cards in the Gold bracket, the Falcons come in as a relatively unknown for South Florida teams. Good Counsel, like most teams from the North, are just starting out their season, leaving them a little behind South Florida teams. Having a match-up against St. Thomas is never an easy draw in the first round of a tournament, but the Falcons bring with them a desire to pull the early upset. Should they escape against the Raiders, the Falcons will be headed towards a showdown with either Westminster Academy or Brito. Manager Tim Park is in his first season with his alma mater.

16. Chaminade-Madonna – Another team with a first year manager, the Lions enter the Gold bracket for the second consecutive year. Manager Jorge Miranda has spent the early part of the year trying to instill a new culture, and it has taken some time for all the pieces to gel. The Lions biggest win has come over Kings Academy, while they have lost several tight district match-ups. To ask a young team to upset top-seeded Monsignor Pace is a tall task, but there is precedent. In 2015, 16-seeded West Broward upset top-seeded Archbishop McCarthy in the first round.

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