Pompano Beach Blanks Pace To Reach State Tournament
All season long the Pompano Beach baseball team has wrecked havoc on the diamond to emulate the program’s tornado mascot. Tuesday night that storm touched down on the hallowed ground of Monsignor Pace in Miami Gardens, against a host Spartans program that has won six state championships and played in last year’s 5A championship. As the winds died down and the ruckus came to a conclusion, Pompano Beach emerged with the biggest win in program history by blanking Pace 9-0 to advance to the state tournament for the first time ever.
Junior ace Trevor Kniskern continued his dominant season with a complete-game shutout, holding one of the deepest and most lethal lineups in South Florida to just two hits and three walks. The right-hander needed just 89 pitches to go the full seven innings, finishing with six strikeouts.
Across the chalk, Pace starter Manuel Rodriguez was also lights out early on, as both sides went into the fifth inning with no offense to speak of. Pompano junior Chase Costello changed that with one mighty swing, clubbing a three-run home run to give Pompano (24-3) all the runs it ultimately needed. Christopher Ajello doubled with one out, Kniskern followed with a single and Costello then jumped on an 0-1 offering and sent it sailing it over the center field fence for a 3-0 lead in the fifth.
The Spartans (24-6) answered right back to load the bases in the bottom of the inning. With two outs, Anthony Sanabria singled, Jeter Downs was hit by a pitch and Michael Montes reached on an error. Kniskern answered by inducing an infield pop out that ended the threat.
Pompano added on four more runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh to pull away to victory. Costello supplied an RBI walk to drive in courtesy-runner Addison Nguyen to get things going in the sixth, after catcher Jeremy Davis walked and was replaced by Nguyen, Ajello singled and Kniskern also walked. Austin Carney then reached on an error that allowed all three base runners to score.
Mike Schuler supplied a single that plated Matt Stephenson and Ryan Hiott to complete the scoring.
Nearly every offensive starter reached base to contribute, as the team connected for eight hits in all. Ajello led the way by going 2-for-2 with two runs, and Stephenson was 2-for-4.