Baseball season preview

Building a dynasty at McCarthy

 

The Mavericks are trying to become the first team in Florida to win four consecutive state titles

More information

Key dates

Monday Regular season began.

April 22-26 Districts.

May 1-2Regional quarterfinals.

May 7 Regional semifinals.

May 10 Regional finals .

May 15-18 & 20-23 State semifinals and finals in Fort Myers at JetBlue Park.

2011 State Champs

Class 8A: Spruce Creek; 7A: Venice; 6A: Archbishop McCarthy; 5A: American Heritage; 4A: Pensacola Catholic; 3A: Providence; 2A: Trinity Christian Academy; 1A: Union County.

Past Broward champs

Archbishop McCarthy 2010, 2011, 2012.

American Heritage 2008, 2012.

Flanagan 2005, 2006, 2010.

Nova 2004, 2005.

Cypress Bay 2004.

St. Thomas Aquinas 1995, 2003.

Westminster Academy 1999, 2000.

Cardinal Gibbons 1987

Fort Lauderdale 1947

Top returning players

P Brandon Acevedo, Somerset, Sr.

P Mike White, University School, Sr.

P Shaun Anderson, American Heritage, Sr.

P Brian Gonzalez, Archbishop McCarthy, Jr.

P Matt Hardy, West Broward, Sr.

C Zach Collins, American Heritage, Sr.

C Derek Fritz, Douglas, Sr.

1B Matt Fengler, Pompano Beach, Sr.

2B KJ Mayo, Douglas, Sr.

SS Luis Guillorme, Coral Springs Charter, Sr.

3B Danny Zardon, American Heritage, Sr.

OF Lewis Brinson, Coral Springs, Sr.

OF Danny Pardo, West Broward, Sr.

OF Christian Khawly, West Broward, Jr.

UTL Touki Toussaint, Coral Springs Christian, Jr.

Others to watch

C Michael Hernandez, Archbishop McCarthy, Sr.; P/3B Jonathan Quintana, Archbishop McCarthy, Sr.; SS Brandon Diaz, University, Sr.; 1B/P Alec Byrd, St. Thomas Aquinas, Sr.; RHP Frank Rubio, St. Thomas Aquinas, Sr.; SS Steven Kerr, Coral Springs Charter, Jr.; C Kenny Miggins, Fort Lauderdale, Sr.; 1B Drew Rangel, North Broward Prep, Sr.; SS Mitch Moormann, Chaminade-Madonna, Sr.; 3B Nick Kumar, Calvary Christian, Sr.; OF Brandon Vicens, Archbishop McCarthy, Jr.; RHP Gentry Fortuno, Flanagan, So.; CF Luis Silverio, Douglas, Sr.; P/OF Brad Smith, Fort Lauderdale, Sr.; INF Andres Visbal, Flanagan, Sr.; 1B Chris Medina, Somerset, Sr.; OF Hernando Sierra, North Broward Prep, Jr.; P Zack Kone, Pine Crest, So.; SS/P Andrew Liberty, Calvary Christian, Sr.; SS Eddie Silva, Archbishop McCarthy, Jr.; SS Shaw Pinnell, Pompano Beach, Sr.; LHP Tyler Keller, Pompano Beach, Sr.; 2B/SS Matt Gibson, Fort Lauderdale, Sr.; SS Makana Gilliland, South Broward, Sr.; 3B/P Ken Rasor, South Broward, Jr.; OF/P Andrew Gottfried, Calvary Christian, So.; P/OF Chris Williams, Cardinal Gibbons, Jr.; P/2B Etienne Latour, Somerset, Sr.; 1B Chris Medina, Somerset, Sr.; P/OF Chris Koppenhaver, Pine Crest, Jr.; OF Dean Pelman, American Heritage, Sr.

CLASS OUTLOOKS

CLASS 8A

1. WEST BROWARD (Coach Sergio Ambros, 2nd year at WB, 5th overall, 47-34). Last year: 20-5 (Regional finalist). Top players: OF Danny Pardo, Sr.; P Matt Hardy, Sr.; OF Christian Khawly, Jr.; OF Xavier Beltran, Sr.; SS Luigi Perez, Sr.

2. FLANAGAN (Coach Ray Evans, 10th year at Flanagan, 25th overall, 391-203-1). Last year: 18-5 (Regional semifinalist). Top players: INF Andres Visbal, Sr.; RHP Gentry Fortuno, So.; 1B Ryan Dodge, Jr.; OF Daniel Oliveri, Sr.; 3B AJ Munoz, Sr.

3. CORAL SPRINGS (Coach Frank Bumbales, 24th year). Last year: 16-7 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: UTL Tre Dingus, Sr.; P/3B Michael Montalvo, So.; OF Justin Mixon, Sr.; OF Vinny Cerullo, Sr.; P Jordan Barrett, Sr.

4. DOUGLAS (Coach Todd Fitz-Gerald, 2nd year at Douglas, 13th overall, 261-72). Last year: 16-9 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: C Derek Fritz, Sr.; CF Luis Silverio, Sr.; 2B KJ Mayo, Sr.; SS Ryan Rudolph, Sr.; C/OF Dominic Dicapprio, So.

Class 7A

1. NOVA (Coach Pat McQuaid, 40th year, 816-291-3). Last year: 25-2 (Regional finalist). Top players: C/3B Gabriel Valverde, Sr.; 2B/DH Lewis Rodriguez, Sr.; SS Kyle Pangallo, Jr.; CF/P Nick Martinez, Jr.; LF Ruben Diaz, Sr.

2. MONARCH (Coach Joe Franco, 7th year, 73-59). Last year: 19-5 (Regional semifinalist). Top players: 1B/P Nick Alonzo, Jr.; OF/P Andy Rohloff, Jr.; 3B Gino Poliandro, Sr.; SS Nick Ritornato, Jr.; 2B Troy Brannen, Sr.

3. ST. THOMAS AQUINAS (Coach Troy Cameron, 1st year). Last year: Regional quarterfinalist. Top players: LHP/1B Alec Byrd, Sr.; RHP Frank Rubio, Sr.; CF Peter Nicoletto, Sr.; SS/RHP Christian Demby, So.; C Teddy Meissner, Jr.

4. NORTHEAST (Coach Kevin Carney, 2nd year at NE, 6th overall, 57-70). Last year: 8-13 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: CF D.J. Kelly, Sr.; SS/P Eduardo Uriarte, Sr.; INF/P Ralph Morel, Jr.; OF/INF Carlos Perez, Jr.; C Mike Grosfield, Sr.

5. PLANTATION (Coach Neil Andreoli, 1st year). Last year: 11-11. Top players: OF Tyler Price, So.; P Chris Yearsley, Sr.; P RJ Henle, Sr.; SS Matt Costa, Jr.; 3B Ryan Smith, Fr.; C Adam Mustafa, Sr.

6. SOUTH BROWARD (Coach Joe Giummule, 4th year at SB, 8th overall, 106-67). Last year: 10-11. Top players: OF/P Colin Tindall, Sr.; SS Makana Gilliland, Sr.; 3B/P Ken Rasor, Jr.; C John Maginnis, Sr.; 1B/P Matt Cohick, Sr.

7. COOPER CITY (Coach Wayne Stofsky, 1st year). Last year: 10-12. Top players: SS/P Nicholas Saltare, Jr.; C Brian Cohen, Sr.; OF David Gaudalupe, So.; UTL Quest Hopler, Jr.; P Jaret Catron, Sr.

CLASS 6A

1. ARCHBISHOP McCARTHY (Coach Rich Bielski, 5th year at AM, 15th overall, 327-103-5). Last year: 27-4 (State champion). Top players: LHP Brian Gonzalez, Jr.; C Michael Hernandez, Sr.; P/3B Jonathan Quintana, Sr.; OF Brandon Vicens, Jr.; SS Eddie Silva, Jr.

2. PEMBROKE PINES CHARTER (Coach Carlos Iglesias, 7th year, 90-58). Last year: 14-8 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: CF Jake Jacobs, Jr.; P Alejandro Kan, Jr.; C Eduardo Espinosa, Sr.; RF Jesse Gonzalez, Sr.; P Patrick Mitchell, So.

3. FORT LAUDERDALE (Coach Terry Portice, 17th year, 190-240). Last year: 11-10. Top players: P/OF Brad Smith, Sr.; C Kenny Miggins, Sr.; 2B/SS Matt Gibson, Sr.; 1B Alec Bryant, Sr.;

Class 5A

1. AMERICAN HERITAGE (Coach Bruce Aven, 2nd year). Last year: 28-4 (State champion). Top players: C Zack Collins, Sr.; P Shaun Anderson, Sr.; CF Brandon Diaz, Sr.; 3B Danny Zardon, Sr.; P Dean Pelman, Sr.

2. POMPANO BEACH (Coach Ryan Combs, 2nd year at PB, 6th overall). Last year: 12-11 (Regional semifinalist). Top players: SS Shaw Pinnell, Sr.; LHP Tyler Keller, Sr.; 1B Matt Fengler, Sr.; LHP Brian Dolan, Sr.; 2B Garrett Hiott, So.

3. DILLARD (Coach Daniel Lozinsky, 7th year). Last year: 5-13. Top players: P/SS Cleveland Westbrook, Jr.; LF Robert Ellis, Sr.; 1B/P Daniel York, Jr.; C Lance Nelson, Jr.; CF Wendy Fleurimond, Jr.

Class 4A

1. CORAL SPRINGS CHARTER (Coach Dan Rovetto, 1st year). Last year: 20-7 (Regional semifinalist). Top players: SS Luis Guillorme, Sr.; SS Stephen Kerr, Sr.

2. PINE CREST (Coach Glen Pierson, 19th at PC, 25th overall, 229-219). Last year: 17-11 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: SS/P Zack Kone, So.; 2B/P/SS Adam Saks, So.; P/OF Chris Koppenhaver, Jr.; 3B/P Matt Rothenberg, Jr.; P/OF Steven Goldberg, Sr.

3. UNIVERSITY (Coach Eddie Tisdale, 1st year). Last year: 18-8. Top players: RHP/1B Mike White, Sr.; LHP/OF Andrew Denis, University, Sr.; RHP Shane Wise, Sr.; SS Sebastian Diaz, Sr.

4. SOMERSET ACADEMY (Coach Onel Garcia, 4th year). Last year: 16-8. Top players: P/OF Brandon Acevedo, Sr.; P/2B Etienne Latour, Sr.; 1B Chris Medina, Sr.; P Casey Garcia, Jr.; OF Mike Van Degria, So.

5. CHAMINADE-MADONNA (Coach Mike Moss, 7th year at CM, 25th overall, 363-273-4). Last year: 14-13. Top players: SS Mitch Moormann, Sr.; CF Danny Vitello, Jr.; C/3B Julian Pino, Sr.; P/1B Adam Toombs, Sr.; P Jordan Spicer, So.

6. NORTH BROWARD PREP (Coach Brian Campbell, 6th year at NB). Last year: 11-16. Top players: OF Hernando Sierra, Jr.; P/OF AJ Fidalic, Sr.; C Mack Nathanson, Jr.; C/UTL Edgar Badaraco, Jr.; 1B Drew Rangel, Sr.

7. CARDINAL GIBBONS (Coach Frank Pisani, 3rd year at CG, 4th overall, 28-39-2). Last year: 8-13. Top players: P Mark Nowatnick, Jr.; 3B/P Tyler Norris, Jr.; P/OF Chris Williams, Jr.; OF David Pedraza, Sr.; SS Connor Durkin, Sr.

Class 3A

1. CORAL SPRINGS CHRISTIAN (Coach Matt Cleveland, 11th year, 145-116). Last year: 19-8 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: P/OF Touki Toussaint, Jr.; C Benito Santiago, Jr.; P/IF Eric Hepple, Jr.; P Devin Meyer, Jr.; OF Joey DePalo, Jr.

2. CALVARY CHRISTIAN (Coach Gregg Mucerino, 5th year at CCA, 10th overall, 115-54-2). Last year: 17-9 (Regional quarterfinalist). Top players: SS/P Andrew Liberty, Sr.; C Keith Oren, Sr.; 3B Nick Kumar, Sr.; CF Stephen Barnett, Sr.; OF/P Andrew Gottfried, So.

3. SAGEMONT (Coach Wesley Morejon, 1st year). Last year: 7-12. Top players: SS Brynn Martinez, Jr.; OF/INF Sean Iacono, Jr.; CF Ashton Martinez, Sr.; C/3B Edison Rodriguez, So.; P/1B/OF Brian McCarthy, Sr.

Class 2A

1. SHERIDAN HILLS CHRISTIAN Last year: Regional finalist.

2. ZION LUTHERAN CHRISTIAN. Last year: Regional semifinalist.


When Archbishop McCarthy opened its season against Pompano Beach Monday night, the Mavericks began their quest for a fourth consecutive state title, a feat never done before in 91 years of Florida high school baseball.

Last season, McCarthy beat Pace 4-3 in the Class 6A final, becoming just the second program to win three championships in a row. The other school to do so was Westminster Christian from 1996 to 1998.

“We hate losing more than we like winning, basically,” junior left-hander Brian Gonzalez said. “When we get that feeling of losing, we don’t want to taste it again.”

Coach Rich Bielski had previously captured two state titles (’01-02) during his 10-year tenure at Hialeah. Before his arrival, McCarthy had never reached the state tournament, which it has now done in all four of his seasons at the helm.

According to Bielski’s philosophy, the key to developing success lies in instilling a winning mentality among the players. The guys, in turn, become self-motivated once they’ve had a taste of winning.

“You want to stay at that level,” Bielski said. “Winning is contagious. Everybody wants to be a winner and champion. They need to expect how to win, and if they don’t know how to, we’ll teach them. But if they’re here, these are our expectations.”

Big-league help

It also helps when two former big-leaguers — Alex Fernandez and Nelson Santovenia — work on staff and can offer glimpses into what it’s like to play in the Show.

Four guys from last year’s team were taken in the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, including right-hander Nick Travieso with the 14th overall pick by the Cincinnati Reds.

Despite his multimillion-dollar contract, Travieso has been practicing at McCarthy every day. Bielski jokes that it’s almost like he didn’t graduate.

Other Maverick alumni include Alex Avila (Tigers), Danny Farquhar (Blue Jays), Nick Castellanos (Tigers), Andre Martinez (Twins) and Nick Basto (White Sox).

“That also breeds success as well because scouts come to see one guy, and they’ll see another guy,” Bielski said. “Those guys come back and they’re still practicing and come by and share what they learned in the minor leagues. It just makes our program even better.”

After losing talented seniors to college and the draft, one could assume the program would fall into a rebuilding year with younger players. But last season, several sophomores saw playing time.

One of them — Gonzalez — will be looked upon as the staff’s ace. At the moment, his speed ranges from 88 to 90 mph. He throws three pitches: a fastball, changeup and slider.

Strong start

In the Field of Dreams game against Miami Gulliver Prep at Marlins Park on Saturday, he earned the decision and produced the game-winning two-run double in a 3-1 victory.

“There’s always pressure,” said Gonzalez, who began playing T-ball as a 4-year-old. “Obviously, every team’s going to throw their ace at you. You’re going to have a huge target on you, but since my freshman year we’ve become accustomed to it. They’ve put me in the biggest situations out there, and I just try to do my best and handle the pressure the best I can.”

One member of the team — senior catcher Michael Hernandez — could win his fourth state title. Teammates keep telling Hernandez and the coaches they want to get him that fourth ring.

Hernandez, who is committed to Nova, looks up to St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey. Coincidentally, the pair has four World Series championships between them.

“I wouldn’t say it’s pressure, I would say expectations,” Hernandez said of playing at McCarthy. “My senior season just to finish off as a state champion — that would probably mean the most to me for sure.”

Read more Broward High Schools stories from the Miami Herald

  • State Tennis

    Cypress Bay girls’ tennis team prevails after delay

    A year ago, Pierina Imparato and Shene Disbergen stood on the same Sanlando Park courts as Cypress Bay’s hopes of a first state girls’ tennis title heartbreakingly slipped through their fingers.

  • Roundup

    Coconut Creek girls’ basketball team has signing celebration

    A prolific Coconut Creek girls’ basketball season paid off with five seniors signing letters-of-intent before parents, coaches, the football team and school officials in the school auditorium on Wednesday.

  • Tennis | Boys’ and Girls’ State Championships

    Cypress Bay girls’ tennis team delayed; Coral Gables wins boys’ title

    How fortunes can change in the span of 20 minutes. That’s about how long it took for Cypress Bay to lose its grip on a second consecutive boys’ Class 4A tennis title Tuesday, the end coming swiftly on a bang-bang pair of doubles tiebreakers at the hands of new champion Coral Gables.

Get your Miami Heat Fan Gear!

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category