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#3 North Broward Prep Takes Down #4 Taravella

Teammates greet Gian De Castro after his two-run homer in the fourth.

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Intensity was high in Coral Springs on Thursday evening as two of the top teams in Broward County squared off. What started as a pitcher’s duel, turned into a 5-1 win for #3 North Broward Prep over #4 Taravella.

“I didn’t think we played our best game tonight,” said junior Gian De Castro. “But it says a lot about our team when we can not play our best game and still come away with a win against a real good ballclub.”

The night began as a pitcher’s duel between Eagles ace Mateo Gray, and the Trojans Anthony Quigley. The pair of junior right-handers exchanged zeroes through the first three frames, with both dominating the opposing lineups.

In the fourth, the tide would turn, as Gray would help himself with a one-out double. de Castro then followed with a two-run blast to center, giving the Eagles a 2-0 lead. Riley Luft doubled, and Nathaneal singled, putting runners on the corners.

A Nik Koorse sacrifice fly would extend the lead to 3-0. After going down in order the first three innings, the Eagles made some adjustments that keyed the fourth inning rally.

“The first time around we were real anxious and aggressive, going after too many off-speed pitches. The discipline wasn’t there,” said De Castro. “But then we made some adjustments, started putting together better at-bats, and started squaring up some balls.”

His manager agreed.

“I don’t think we had any good at-bats that first time through the order,” said NBP Manager Brian Campbell. “It was nice to see the guys make the kind of adjustments they made there in the fourth inning. Those runs were obviously big, anytime you can get on top of a good team like Taravella, it’s going to ease the burden of the game.”

Trojans Manager Joe Giummule meets with his infield.

From there, Gray, who also had set down nine of the first 13 Trojan hitters he faced, settled in even more, pitching into the sixth inning, before he was pulled for reliever Koorse. Gray finished the day with 5.2 innings pitched, and 1o strikeouts to one walk. He gave up six hits.

“I wanted to come in aggressive and pounding the strike zone,” said Gray. “Obviously once G hits that home run, it became a little easier to pitch with the lead. I was just mixing my fastball and off-speed stuff, and it was working against a good hitting team.”

For Quigley, he finished the game throwing five innings, and giving up only the three fourth inning runs.

“I thought he pitched well today,” said Trojans Manager Joe Giummule. “Coming back from injury, he was able to get up to around 45 pitches, and really, the two home runs were the difference in the game. I think we may have outhit them tonight, so there were some good things that happened in the game.”

The second home run for the Eagles came off the bat of Coupet in the sixth inning, and it extended the lead to 5-0.

Taravella threatened in the bottom of the sixth, but a baserunning mistake changed the dynamic of the inning, and the Trojans were only able to push across one run.

On the season, Taravella has established themselves early as one of the top teams in falling behind early and then winning games. They were behind in their games against Cardinal Gibbons, St. Thomas, Wellington, and Flanagan, all of which ended up in wins.

“This was a good lesson for the guys to learn that we can’t keep falling behind and expect to come back and win against good teams,” said Giummule. “That’s a two-time defending state champion over there, that are well-coached, and you can’t make the mistakes we made and expect to win. We have a young team, and this was a game they will learn from.”

Mateo Gray delivers a pitch Thursday night.

North Broward Prep, meanwhile, has jumped out to a 9-2 start, while playing one of the toughest schedules in the county. Even with the hot start, Campbell is quick to warn his guys to not get caught up in the hype of being two-time state champions.

“I tell them all the time, this team this year, hasn’t done anything yet,” said Campbell. “They have the opportunity to be special like those past two teams have been, but they have to put in the work to get there. Nobody is going to hand us anything just because our past two teams have had success.”

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