Broward High School Baseball
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6A-14 District Tournament Preview

Host: Pembroke Pines Charter @ Flamingo Park

Schedule:

Monday, April 20th

7:00 PM: (3) Stranahan vs. (2) Boynton Beach

Championship

Wednesday, April 22nd

7:00 PM: Stranahan/Boynton Beach winner vs. (1) Pembroke Pines Charter

Overview – The finalists in this three-team district seem almost set in stone even before the first pitch has been thrown. The Jaguars are a legitimate state contender in Class 6A, and a repeat of the district crown is a nice starting off point for just such a run. Boynton Beach comes in embracing the underdog role, behind a Manager who has proven he can get the most out of his guys at the end of the season when the stakes are highest. Stranahan represents a true dark horse, needing a bit of luck to make magic happen.

1. Pembroke Pines CharterThe Jaguars have been perfect since joining the district a year ago, having swept the field each of the past two seasons. The defending district champions are experienced, talented and deep in all the right places. It is a group that has played together for years, and they have the ability to make this season something very special in the end.

Making history starts with taking care of business in the district. Pines Charter awaits the winner of the Stranahan and Boynton Beach meeting, where the top-seeded Jaguars then serve as the home team in the district championship. With the game already being hosted on their home field this year, Pines Charter has a tremendous advantage.

Yet the Jaguars approach every contest with the same attention and intensity. The team excels at staying even-keel and not taking anybody lightly, and the results have supported that approach all season long.

“We come out here and the players want to get better and we want to prepare them for competition,” Jaguars Manager Carlos Iglesias said. ““It is just a pleasure to come out here everyday and it is an honor on my part to coach these great kids. We have a lot of leadership in the group, so it makes it easy on the coaching staff.”

Offense has been a big part of the team’s success. Daniel Rodriguez-Velez has led the way with another impressive showing of power, leading the team in RBIs and extra-base hits. Anthony Gomez, Alex Monge-Rodriguez and Trent Herzog have also been big contributors to the batting order. From one to nine this team can hit and make a difference with the bats.

Pitching can make all the difference in the world to a club’s playoff success, and fortunately the Jaguars are also strong in this area. Anthony Garcia is a proven workhorse who led the club in most pitching categories, while Brett Ayalon is a quality second option they will rely on in the playoff stretch. The emergence of newcomer Michael Tang and also Daniel Rivero has given this pitching staff great depth that could make all the difference in big games.

2. Boynton Beach – The Tigers stumbled a bit this season following the departure of some key contributors from a season ago. A young group took the season to slowly come together, and the second half of the seaso was a bit of a struggle for them. Boynton carries a tough losing streak at the moment.

Team baseball is the key to success for this group.

“Everyone is going to have to help,” said Manager John Drouin. “We’re going to have to have a big effort from everybody. We’re going to be very competitive I think, but we’re not going to be in a position where we can make a lot of mistakes. We don’t have the power yet, you know, the seniority to really pound our way through something. We’re going to have to score all the runs we can score and make as little mistakes as possible or else we’re just going to shoot ourselves in the foot because we’re very young.”

Luke Comerford emerged as a legitimate ace for the Tigers, leading the team in most pitching categories. While the wins and loss do not reflect how well he has pitched, Comerford had proven he is the right guy to toe the rubber in the big games.

The offense has not come around quite as fast. The club leans heavily on its main producers, particularly David Recio, Kaelin Dunn and Jonathan Perez.

3. Stranahan – It has been a rebuilding year for the young Mighty Dragons. The club has struggled in district play the past two seasons and comes in as a big underdog in the district semifinal meeting.

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