Pompano Beach Shuts Out Highlands In Game Of The Week
The Pompano Beach Tornadoes needed very little motivation for Friday night’s HSBN Broward Game of the Week at Highlands Christian. Due to weather, the players had waited all week long for their first action of the regular season, and the spotlight only made it that much sweeter as the visiting Tornadoes earned a 6-0 shutout victory over the Knights.
There were plenty of reasons for Pompano manager Joe Giummule to be pleased with the performances. Junior Trevor Kniskern set the tone on the mound, every starter reached base on offense and a strong pregame defensive warm-up carried over into several nice plays on defense.
“It’s hard to be upset when you win six to nothing and only give up one hit,” Giummule said. “I am pretty tough on the guys and I will pick on some things, because we do have some work to do. We would have liked to have gotten a game in before tonight. Even us as coaches made some mistakes tonight and we have some things to clean up as a staff. We’ll figure out the rest of it as time goes on. But 6-0 in the Game of the Week at Highlands Christian, I’ll take that any day.”
Kniskern earned the win with five shutout innings in his first start of the year. The right-hander allowed two hits and five walks and picked up four strikeouts. Although the Knights (1-1) had runners on base in nearly every frame against him, none managed to score. The defense recorded two double plays, including a play at the plate in which Mike Schuler relayed a flyout home to Jeremy Davis in time to apply the tag on the runner. Matt Stephenson also had a nice diving stop for a routine groundout in the fifth.
Highlands starter Kyle Bombardier also delivered a strong start, as the game was scoreless over the first three innings. Bombardier went five full innings on 86 pitches, allowing one earned run on six hits. He did not walk anyone and struck out six.
Pompano broke through for the first run of the night in the fourth. Max Stein singled on a flare to first and scored when Jake Nord turned on an inside pitch and drove it far into the left field corner for an RBI double.
“I just saw the pitch I wanted, turned on it and put a good swing on it and caught some barrel,” Nord said. “We were definitely ready to go tonight; we’ve been looking forward to this day for months now.”
Nord added an RBI single that again scored Stein his next time up to the plate in the sixth, after Kniskern had an RBI single that drove in Shuler an inning earlier. Stein led off the inning by reaching on an error, and Nord gave way to Dillon Abell after his second big hit of the night. Stephenson then reached on a base knock to left field and Ryan Hiott followed with a shot deep to left field for a double that plated one base runner and had the next caught out on a close play at the plate.
Pompano closed out the scoring in the seventh, when Chase Costello connected on a 2-0 offering and drove it deep over the right-center fence for a two-run home run.
Despite the margin of defeat, the Knights showed that the margin of adjustment is minor in order to get the team clicking on all cylinders. With a lot of new faces and many international additions, it is understood that it will take some time to get everyone moving in the same direction.
“We have a lot of new guys and a lot of guys that have not been coached before, and basic mistakes are being made by juniors and seniors that are new to the program,” Highlands manager Bruce Charlebois said. “We just need to continue to coach them and help them with their baseball IQ. We had a Game of the Week going for the first four or five innings and I felt good about the way we competed. But the floodgates opened late and Pompano has a good club.”