Broward High School Baseball
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New Recruits Carry Lake Worth Christian Over Sheridan Hills

Lake Worth Christian freshman starter, Jared Smart surrendered no hits over four innings while striking out seven.

Lake Worth Christian’s youth movement came of age Thursday afternoon at Hook Field on the school campus. Freshman hurler Jared Smart pitched four innings of no-hit ball, striking out seven, while eighth graders Roy Glum and Tanner Martinez combined for three hits and three RBIs in the Defenders’ 10-0 victory over the Sheridan Hills Christian Sharks.

The impact of Smart and his fellow newcomers was not lost on Defenders’ manager, Kraig Lawrence.

“Smart’s a home-school kid. He comes in, knows a couple kids on the team. Every time we put him on the mound, he answers,” said Lawrence. “He’s given up just one hit in the last nine innings and struck out seven today. Smart, Glum, Martinez, Colin Donnelly – for those young guys to come through like they did today, we’re really happy.”

After going down in order in the first, the Defenders batted around in the second inning. Tyler Switzer walked and Anthony Padilla laid down a sacrifice bunt. A dropped pop-up fell just inside the first base line, putting Vinny Piccardi on base. Switzer stole third, later coming home on Glum’s RBI single to left field to begin the scoring.

Martinez slashed a single just past a diving attempt by Sharks’ first baseman Hunter Boyle. The right hand hitting eighth-grader had a plan when he came up, slicing the one-hopper RBI past the Sharks’ drawn-in infield.

“My runner was on third base so I waited on the ball,” said Martinez. “I was trying to hit it to the opposite field to score my teammate.”

Greg Pieternella followed with a sacrifice fly to center for the Defenders’ third run. Martinez scored on a balk and successive infield errors brought around Jossell Sylvanie for a 5-0 lead.

Seventh grader, Colin Donnelly pinch-hits for the Defenders in the fourth inning.

The Defenders duplicated that production in the third inning. Switzer singled crisply to left, followed by two outfield put-outs. An unfortunate dropping of the baseball while on the mound balked Switzer to second base. Glum picked up his second RBI with a line shot into center field. Martinez walked.

The Defenders then took the imperative of “standing in” to the next level. Pieternella, Sylvanie and Yazir Braafhart were, in succession, all hit by pitches driving in Glum and Martinez, loading the bases. An infield throwing error plated Pieternella and Sylvanie, rounding out the day’s scoring.

Utilizing a fastball with late movement, an exceptionally deceptive curveball and almost flawless control over the outside of the plate, Smart faced one over the minimum over four innings, save only for winging Sharks’ left fielder Andrew Paguaga with an inside pitch in the third. Smart looks like a freshman in terms of current physique but has a demeanor that recalls his last name.

“My friend, he was my coach in Little League, he taught me my curveball,” Smart said. “I didn’t throw it until this year to keep my arm healthy. I like it, it’s a cool pitch. If they hit it, I know my defense will back me up.”

The Sharks broke up the no-hitter in the fifth inning when Ryan Wyler sent a solid shot into right field. First year Sharks’ manager Jim Wilson took a longer view when assessing his team’s performance.

“We have kids who haven’t played a lot of organized baseball,” admitted Wilson. “We’re out here to get better. The things you learn playing baseball carry over into life. It’s about life lessons and having fun.”

After the game, Lawrence was looking ahead to Saturday’s district contest against Trinity Christian and the two schools’ “Curacao Connection”.

Defenders’ catcher, Anthony Padilla started in right field for a greater cause and dropped down a sacrifice bunt leading to the game’s first run.

“We’ve only got two district games left that count. It’s been a long time since this program’s been 7-3 at this point in the season,” said the Defenders manager. “Because we have three upperclassmen, Braafhart, Sylvanie, and Rovi Matilda from Curacao and Trinity has a six-year history of accepting students from the island, Saturday’s game will be fun for those guys to play against each other.’

On a day dedicated to “Autism Awareness,” Lake Worth Christian’s regular catcher, Anthony Padilla started in right field so Martinez could catch the ceremonial first pitch from his brother, Mason Martinez.

“My brother was diagnosed with autism when he was four, I used to watch him play baseball when I was younger,” said Tanner. “Now he does Tae Kwon Do. I thought it was nice for him to throw out the first pitch today.”

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