Broward High School Baseball
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Bold Predictions: Second Half Stew

Editor-in-Chief Rick Duteau predicts a strong playoff runs for the Sagemont Lions.

This is the inaugural of our new HSBN feature, Bold Predictions. As the second half of the season begins, HSBN Co-Founder Anthony Uttariello and Editor-in-Chief Rick Duteau give their bold predictions for the stretch run. Enjoy!

Anthony’s Bold Prediction #1: Trevor Kniskern will run down former teammate Kyle Petri for the strikeout title.

Currently, Petri is the county strikeout leader with 62. Kniskern is second with 51. With the season turning towards the second half, many would have predicted that Kniskern, Pompano’s ace, would be near the top of the strikeout leader board. He pitched the Golden Tornadoes into states last season. The surprise is that he is trailing former teammate Petri for the lead in the category. Petri has thrived since his move to district rival Cardinal Gibbons, and he is poised to possibly shift the balance of power in 5A-14. Something tells me, however, that Kniskern will bear down as the games become more important down the stretch, and narrowly steal the strikeout title.

Rick’s Bold Prediction #1: Class 3A Region 4 will send a Broward County team to the state tournament.

The past two seasons John Carroll and then Archbishop Carroll captured the 3A regional title, but the road to the state Final Four will run through Broward County this season. Currently, Sagemont is 9-5 and in first place in the district with a perfect 4-0 record, while Highlands Christian is 5-5 and 1-0 at the top of the district standings. While the teams to the north and south present a formidable challenge again this year, these two clubs are well-coached and focused and will avoid being upset early in the playoffs. They will meet in the 3A-4 Regional Championship and it is just a shame that both of them cannot make it to the state Final Four.

Anthony’s Bold Prediction #2: Two Broward teams will meet in the 4A regional final.

On the surface it appears that Calvary Christian, HSBN’s #1 Broward team and #2 team in the state, will avoid upsets and make another strong run at the regional title. That leaves a group of teams behind them vying for the other coveted regional spot. Westminster Academy, Chaminade, and Hialeah Educational are bunched together in the two through four spot. Assuming either Westminster or Chaminade advances out of the district, that means they would have to go upset likely opponents Florida Christian or Westminster Christian, while Calvary beats the other, to make it an all Broward regional final. Probable? No. But hey, that’s why they call it bold predictions.

Rick’s Bold Prediction #2: American Heritage’s Tristan Casas will win the county home run title.

Currently Tristan Casas is tied with North Browward Prep’s Dylan Goldstein with five home runs. Tristan already surpassed his total hit his junior year and he has a slugging percentage well over 1,000 right now. American Heritage just returned from the National High School Invitational in Cary, North Carolina, and after playing on those MLB fields against the toughest pitchers in the country, the local high school fiends should seem tiny and the pitches slow and fat for Tristan and the rest of the Patriots. I will not be surprised if Tristan runs away with the county home run title.

Anthony’s Bold Prediction #3: Somerset will again throw 5A playoffs into chaos.

Nothing new to read here. One thing you can come to count on year after year here in Broward is that no matter where Somerset finishes in the district standings, Manager Onel Garcia and his boys will make waves in the playoffs. This is setting up as another classic Somerset playoff run. Ace Juan Teixeira hadn’t pitched since February 20th when he returned to the mound last week. Teixeira’s injury contributed to a slow start for Somerset, but they have won four of their past six, including a 3-1 win over district favorite Pompano. Currently sitting tied for third in the district, the Panthers are poised to shake up 5A-14 come playoff time.

Rick’s Bold Prediction #3: Northeast will reach the 7A-15 championship.

The Hurricanes are right there knocking on the door and threatening to shake up the harmony South Broward and Pembroke Pines Charter previously enjoyed. Northeast enters the district tournament entrenched in the third slot but also knowing the margin of difference between itself and the Jaguars and Bulldogs is minimal. Pines Charter has won four straight district titles and has earned the distinction as the reigning champion to dethrone, and yet the Jaguars are currently 7-7 and must still take care of business in back-to-back action against South Broward this week that will determine the top seed. Northeast likely would prefer to take on South Broward a third time, after both losses this season were by one run. But, as the records of the three times currently reflects, the three clubs are much closer now than they have been the past two seasons and the Canes are going to find a way to play for the district title.

Anthony’s Bold Prediction #4: St. Thomas or Nova will win the 8A state title.

This one goes way out on a limb and not only predicts a regional win for either of these teams, but also a state title. Both teams have done exactly what was expected so far in 2018. Nova has been led by ace Trace Moore, and St. Thomas has again used strong pitching and speed on offense to combine for a 26-3 record. It is impossible to draw a distinction between the two teams, as evidenced by last year’s epic 4-3 regional final win for the Titans. More of the same is expected this season. The two teams meet in late April in a regular season clash, but the big prize will come if both can survive regional match-ups with likely opponents Westland Hialeah and Mater Academy. If the team surviving those match-ups come out healthy, there is no reason to believe one of these teams can’t bring an 8A state title back to Broward.

Rick’s Bold Prediction #4: Three Broward teams will win state titles in 2018

This may be a bit of a biased prediction, but there are some teams that look more than capable of running the gauntlet and bringing titles back home this season. I’ll start with the most obvious choices, Calvary Christian and American Heritage. Both teams went up and represented the county well in the National Invitational in Cary, North Carolina, last week. The Eagles are deep on the mound, and have cruised through their schedule to date. The Patriots lineup is loaded, and their pitching staff has been among the best in the county. So assuming those two teams can take care of business, that leaves one more Broward team to bring back a title, and there are a boatload of options. Flanagan and Douglas are legitimate contenders in 9A. St. Thomas and Nova have a shot in 8A, and any of four teams can make a run in 5A. Throw in Sagemont and Highlands Christian, and three state titles just may be in reach.

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