7A-14 Playoff Preview: Anyone’s District To Win
West Broward and Taravella clinched an important first-round bye in the 7A-14 district tournament, but the truth is any of these six teams could win it all in 2023.
Western and the two teams at the top all have a chance to make the regional tournament, and Coral Glades, Cypress Bay and Flanagan all have the pieces for a deep run. This group has the potential to provide some of the most fun baseball in the county during districts.
Let’s take a look at each team’s prospects.
7A-14 District Playoff Schedule
Quarterfinals – Monday (5/1)
No. 3 Western vs. No. 6 Coral Glades @ 4:00 p.m.
No. 4 Flanagan vs. No. 5 Cypress Bay @ 7:00 p.m.
Semifinals – Tuesday (5/2)
No. 1 West Broward vs. Winner (Flanagan-Cypress Bay) @ 7:00 p.m.
No. 2 Taravella vs. Winner (Western-Coral Glades) @ 4:00 p.m.
Finals – Thursday (5/4)
Winner (Semifinal 1) vs. Winner (Semifinal 2) @ 6:30 p.m.
Coral Glades – Team Page
The Jaguars might be the lowest-seeded team in the district, but they are hardly an easy win.
Andrew Allison and Anthony Martin Del Campo are elite contact guys at the plate with a .444 and .381 batting average, respectively. The team walks almost as much as it strikes out, so there’s usually someone on base. Allison is also one of the team’s top arms with a 1.86 ERA and 43 strikeouts through 37.2 innings pitched. He and Kyle Fernandes provide the Jaguars with two solid starters to get through a tournament with.
If Coral Glades can figure out how to get the men on base across the plate, the Jaguars have upset potential.
Cypress Bay – Team Page
The Lightning have a record hovering just above .500 and that number is fairly indicative of how Cypress Bay’s season has gone so far. A few wins here, a few losses there, but it’s unclear how much damage this team can do in a tournament setting.
Ian Guevara and Jake Sasse have been a great starter-reliever combo that could get the Lightning through any game. Beyond them, the options are less clear, and pitching depth could be a problem if Cypress Bay makes it to the title game. Offensively, Nicolas Linville is a dynamic hitter that is third in the district with a .431 batting average and 25 hits.
Avenging a one-run loss to Flanagan from earlier in the year could spark a playoff run, but the top of the division might be too much for the Lightning to handle.
Flanagan – Team Page
The Falcons lost five of six before missing a few games, but then they came back with a massive win over Archbishop McCarthy. That proves they can contend for a district title, but it’ll take the best version of the team to go all the way.
The trio of Brayden Allison, Richard Bello and Joey Roberts have combined for 119 strikeouts on the mound. Flanagan will need to lean on them some more to get through a deep run in the district tournament. Allison is also the team leader in hits with 19 and is second with a .328 batting average.
Any team that can beat Archbishop McCarthy has the potential to do some damage, but Flanagan also played a close one against Cypress Bay earlier in the season. Who knows which version of the team will show up on Monday?
Taravella – Team Page
The Trojans have dropped games to Cypress Bay, West Broward and Western by one or two runs this season, but a 15-8 record against a strong schedule has them in the No. 2 spot and on a bye in the quarterfinals.
Junior shortstop E.J. Burns is one of the most dangerous bats in the county. His 30 hits pace the district, as do his .469 batting average and .609 on-base percentage. Burns and Anthony Quigley, who is batting .350, are major threats on the base paths as well. ‘Vella might boast the best pitching staff in the district, too. Burns, Michael Ghann and Anthony Tizol have reached pitched 20 or more innings and maintained a 1.16 ERA or better
If there’s a team that’s likely to upset West Broward it might be Taravella. The first-round bye helps keep pitching fresh for the semifinals, which could be big for the Trojans.
West Broward – Team Page
The Bobcats have been one of the most impressive teams in Broward County and have only lost a handful of games against regional-bound teams. A district championship might not be necessary to reach the regional tournament, but manager Howard Stein has his team entering the postseason as the favorite to come out on top.
Brandon Vargas leads an offense filled with .300-plus hitters with a .387 average, Mason Elrod is the team powerhouse with six home runs and there are plenty of arms on the roster with 20 innings or more of experience. J.P. Querales’ 2.30 ERA is the best on the team, but Tulane-bound Jason Wachs and Sante Fe commit Andres Cruz are the big strikeout guys.
West Broward’s offense can jump on a struggling pitcher in an instant and usually provides enough run support to allow the starters more than a few mistakes. This formula has worked all season for the Bobcats and it should make for some fun playoff baseball.
Western – Team Page
The Wildcats are a similar team to the Trojans, but they’ll have to play an extra game after finishing third in the district.
Pitching is a plus. Senior Alex Pena is the team workhorse and has a 2.24 ERA through 43.2 innings this season. Jason Braverman and Mason McGeehan are elite options out of the bullpen that have even better earned run averages. Western isn’t short on offense either. Five batters are threatening a 20-hit season and Danny Ortega has blasted four home runs.
At their best, the Wildcats can go 3-0 in the district tournament and claim another district championship. At their worst, they don’t make it out of the first round. A deep enough run could warrant a regional spot, even if two other teams finish higher.