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Pompano Tops Somerset To Reach Regional Final

Pompano Beach capitalized on a strong pitching performance from sophomore right-hander Trevor Kniskern, timely hitting, solid defense and a few of the little things that make all the difference to defeat Somerset Academy 5-1 on Tuesday in a 5A regional semifinal.

It’s the third time this season the Tornadoes (20-8) defeated the Panthers (24-5) in their four meetings. Tuesday’s win sends Pompano to the regional final next Tuesday for the first time in school history. The Tornadoes will face the winner of Wednesday’s Gulliver Prep at Monsignor Pace game, which was rained out Tuesday.

Kniskern pitched a two-hitter and struck out eight while walking none to improve to 5-2. Kniskern was dominant from the start, facing the minimum number of hitters while not allowing a hit during the first three innings.

“Trevor was able to throw all three pitches for a strike,” Pompano manager Joe Giummule said. “He got ahead of most batters and worked in and out with all three pitches.”

Nick Marcantonio’s home run to left in the first inning got things going for Pompano, which has won seven in a row and eight of its past nine. It went up 2-0 in the second when Mike Schuler’s squeeze-bunt brought in Max Stein, who finished with three runs.

“Max is a high-intensity payer,” Giummule said. “He might be our most talented baseball player on our team. It was nice to see him work the count and get two walks. He might have hit the hardest ball of the night off the left center-field fence.”

Giummule said Tuesday’s game showed how far his team has come over the course of the season.

“The entire team has progressed this year,” Giummule said. “It started with our leadoff hitter, Bobby Aseere, making adjustments at the plate and trickled down the entire lineup.”

Somerset broke through in the fourth. Derek Cartaya got on with an error, moved to second on a groundout, stole third and came home on a base hit from Kenny Moreno-Costa. Cartaya also had Somerset’s only other hit of the game, a double with two outs in the sixth.

Pompano pushed its lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the fourth. Stein reached on a walk and scored on an error. The Tornadoes kept up the pressure in the sixth, adding two runs. Stein led off with a double and then came home for his third run of the game on Schuler’s base hit. Schuler scored on an RBI single by Bobby Aseere.

Giummule said Somerset was a formidable opponent and called it “a very talented team,” especially noting the defensive play of Cartaya.

Gulliver or Pace loom Tuesday, but Giummule said he’ll worry about which one once that is decided.

“I haven’t seen them play this year,” he said. “I’m more concerned with my team and enjoying this win with my coaches and players. We will start game planning for the winner as soon as we know who it is. When we won the district tournament two weeks ago, I heard it was 47 years since the last time Pompano baseball did that. I wasn’t even born yet. I don’t really read into that that kind of stuff. My coaching staff’s only concern is the present and making sure our boys are healthy and prepared for next Tuesday.”

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