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2A-15 Playoff Preview: Sagemont-Westminster Academy On Top

District 2A-15 has come down to Sagemont and Westminster Academy each of the past two seasons, and there’s a good chance the rivalry is renewed in 2023.

Both teams at the top of the district are likely to make the regional tournament, but Dade Christian, David Posnack, Highlands Christian and Sheridan Hills Christian need to play spoiler to have a chance.

Let’s take a look at each team’s prospects.

2A-15 District Playoff Schedule

Location: Tequesta Trace Park

Quarterfinals – Monday (5/1)

No. 3 Highlands Christian vs. No. 6 Sheridan Hills Christian @ 4:00 p.m.

No. 4  Dade Christian vs. No. 5 David Posnack Jewish Day @ 6:00 p.m.

Semifinals – Tuesday (5/2)

No. 1 Westminster Academy vs. Winner (Dade Christian-David Posnack) @ 3:00 p.m.

No. 2 Sagemont vs. Winner (Highlands Christian-Sheridan Hills) @ 6:00 p.m.

Finals – Wednesday (5/3)

Winner (Semifinal 1) vs. Winner (Semifinal 2) @ 6:00 p.m.

Dade Christian – Team Page

The Crusaders have been streaky all season and it’s led to an 11-12 record, which is good for the No. 4 seed in 2A-15. This year’s draw in the district playoff is similar to what Dade Christian faced a season ago: Posnack in the first round and one of the top two seeds in the semifinals. A 6-3 regular season win over Posnack has the Crusaders confident, but it might not be the 11-0 victory we saw last year.

Gabriel Bellini leads the team with 24 hits and 15 runs batted in. Glendon Ingraham also has 11 RBIs and a .357 batting average, which is good for third on the team behind Denzel Linares’ .382 average through 46 plate appearances and Bellini’s .358. Either Dion Bullard or Anthony Rondon has started most of the Crusaders’ contests, and each is striking out at least a batter an inning. Jordan Ricardo and Leodan Rodriguez are both starting options as well, but they have been very strong out of the bullpen for Dade Christian and have sub-1.50 earned run averages.

If the Crusaders get past the quarterfinals, an upset of Westminster Academy isn’t out of the question. A 6-1 regular season loss may not have ended in Dade Christian’s favor, but it’s far from a blowout.

Highlands Christian – Team Page

The Knights have seen a complete turnaround from last season’s 2-10 finish under first-year manager Rodney Husey. Highlands Christian finished the regular season 12-3 against a favorable schedule and could end up with its first playoff win since 2019.

Wesner Altidort leads the team with 20 hits and eight doubles, while Brandon Maldonado boasts a .463 batting average and has driven in a team-high 23 runs. Camden Scott has a home run and three triples to his name. All three are returning next year, with Altidort and Maldonado only being sophomores. Freshman Tyson Jowers is back as the team’s ace after doing the same a season ago. He’s collected 23 strikeouts over 20 innings and has a 2.10 ERA.

The best is yet to come for this extremely young group, but that doesn’t mean some noise can’t be made in the playoffs right now. Highlands Christian already beat Sheridan Hills twice during the regular season and is looking to repeat that performance in the quarterfinals.

Posnack  – Team Page

The Rams have only won a handful of games this year and enter the playoffs as a No. 5 seed, but a competitive loss against quarterfinal opponent Dade Christian during the regular season has Posnack hopeful it can pull off an upset. It would be the program’s first playoff win since leaving the independent ranks a season ago.

Senior Andy Schur is the bat to watch out for, and freshman Ross Cotzen has been the team’s innings eater.

This program is growing and trending upward under manager Skip Lindemann. With a young core of players, it will be interesting to see how the Rams build off this season moving forward.

Sagemont – Team Page

The Lions are once again one of the top teams in 2A-15 and the stage is set for a third-straight final between Sagemont and Westminster Academy. Winning the semifinal matchup has to come first, but returning players remember how fierce that rivalry was a year ago and have waited all year to play in that game.

Dylan Rubenstein and Dylan Kaplan are the team’s offensive leaders with 25 and 23 hits, respectively. Austin Bertsch is the preferred bat with runners on base thanks to his team-high 22 RBIs and three home runs (he also walks more than he strikes out). This team likes to run, too. The Lions are 64 for 74 on stolen bases this season, led by Eric Vega’s (Barry) 15 steals.

Matthew Carlson is the definition of a team ace. He’s 6-0 in nine starts and has a 1.52 ERA through 41.1 innings. Elite. Lynn commit Seth Bass (25 K, 24.1 IP) has been a strong No. 2 and Adrian Fernandez (2.27 ERA, 24.2 IP) is a third starting option if necessary but can also come out of the bullpen.

Could this be the year the Lions finally come out on top? There’s a solid chance the current group claims the program’s first district title since the 2019 Final Four run, but beating WA won’t be easy. The good news is that manager Jason Stettner has his team in a position to make the regional tournament with a second-place finish.

Sheridan Hills  – Team Page

The Sharks have won just one game this year and lost two regular season games against Highlands Christian, which happens to be their opponent in the quarterfinals.

Nicholas Johns leads the team with a dozen hits in 30 plate appearances, and he’s second in innings pitched with 13.1 over 10 appearances. Jacob Ranero has 33 strikeouts through just 22.2 innings pitch, but his ERA is elevated.

Westminster Academy  – Team Page

The Lions have played one of the toughest schedules in all of Florida this year and come out on top of 2A-15 at the end of the regular season. A must-watch matchup with Sagemont in the district final is the hope, but Westminster Academy can’t afford to take the semifinal round for granted.

Julian Irizarry (Pitt) leads the team with 31 hits and six home runs. He’s simply one of the most dangerous hitters in the county, and Michael Cespedes and Robert Nedry (NC State) are batting .400 as well to create an incredibly dangerous top of the order. Calvin Martin’s .373 batting average is also worth a mention.

Landon Petrisko and Colin Cartagena are an elite 1-2 starting rotation. Petrisko has struck out 46 over 36.1 innings and sports a 2.50 ERA, and Cartagena has given up just seven runs (1.63 ERA) over 30 frames, including two complete games.

Westminster Academy is seeking a third-straight district championship under manager Ernie Gonzalez. Sagemont has made this district competitive each of those years, and the hope is that we get another epic Battle of the Lions.

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