Westwood duo produces power at the plate and from the mound

 
 
Robert Hernandez gets bumped after scoring in the first inning by Anthony Penas (4) in the Class 2A baseball semifinal game with Westwood Christian and Canterbury at Digital Domain Park in Port St. Lucie on May 21, 2012.
Robert Hernandez gets bumped after scoring in the first inning by Anthony Penas (4) in the Class 2A baseball semifinal game with Westwood Christian and Canterbury at Digital Domain Park in Port St. Lucie on May 21, 2012.
Joe Rimkus Jr. / Miami Herald Staff

Last week’s best Dade’s performances

TEAMS OF THE WEEK

The Coral Reef softball team won its first state championship with victories over Orlando Timber Creek and Weston Cypress Bay. Dayna Wilson picked up the victories in both games, pitching a nine-inning shutout in the semifinals and 6 2/3 shutout innings in the final. The Gulliver softball team won its fourth consecutive state championship with victories over Starke Bradford and Madison County. Gabbee Draney pitched a pair of two-hitters and went 5 for 5 at the plate in the final. Chris Granada, Michael Fernandez and Erik Montero each had huge hits to help the Florida Christian baseball team defeat Coral Springs Christian 13-12 to clinch a trip to the Class 3A state final four. Granada and Montero each had three-run home runs, and Montero had a three-run double.

ATHLETES OF THE WEEK

Andy Figueroa, American, baseball: Figueroa pitched two scoreless innings of relief for the Patriots to hang on for a 4-3 win against Sunset in the Region 4-8A final that was suspended in the fifth inning the day before because of inclement weather.

Jonathan Hernandez, Monsignor Pace, baseball: Hernandez threw a three-hitter to lead the Spartans back to the Class 4A state final four with a 5-0 win over St. Brendan.

Danny Fernandez, Westwood Christian, baseball: Fernandez went 2 for 3 with a home run, a double and three RBI to lead the Warriors back to the Class 2A state final four with a 11-0 win against Zion Lutheran.

Ricky Reguera, Southwest, boys’ volleyball: Reguera had 16 kills to lead the Eagles despite losing in the state semifinals to Longwood Lyman.

Cedric Hankerson, Coral Reef, boys’ volleyball: Hankerson led the Barracudas with 14 kills in a state semifinal loss to defending state champion Orlando Bishop Moore.

ANDRE C. FERNANDEZ


Last week’s best Broward performances

TEAM OF THE WEEK

Junior left-hander Meghan King (11-4) returned from a concussion to toss a one-hitter and pinch-runner Erica Nori scored on Rachel Collins’ sixth inning double as the St. Thomas Aquinas softball team (22-5) blanked Tampa Freedom 1-0 in the Class 7A championship game.

ATHLETES OF THE WEEK

Sarah Maloney, Cypress Bay, softball: The junior right-hander tossed a two-hitter and struck out nine to help the Lightning beat Winter Garden West Orange 3-0 in the Class 8A state semifinals.

Daniel Oliveri, Flanagan, baseball: Oliveri hit a solo home run, but the Falcons fell 8-1 in the Region 3-8A final.

Claire Blount, Pines Charter, softball: The freshman scattered seven hits to pick up the victory and scored the go-ahead run in the fourth inning as the Jaguars beat Gainesville 4-2 in the Class 6A state semifinals.

Alec Byrd and Christian Demby, St. Thomas Aquinas, baseball: Byrd allowed two hits to earn the win and Demby went 2 for 3, including a three-run homer, as the Raiders (19-6) beat West Boca Raton 11-1 in the Class 7A regional finals.

Michael Hernandez, Archbishop McCarthy, baseball: Hernandez drove in pinch-runner Dylan Bautista with the go-ahead run as the Mavericks beat Gulf Coast 4-2 in the Region 4-6A final.

C.J. Chatham, American Heritage, baseball: Chatham had two of the Patriots’ three hits, including a home run, but the two-time defending state champion Patriots (25-3) were upset 3-2 by Estero in the Region 4-5A finals.

Matt Archambault, Douglas, boys’ volleyball: Archambault had a team-high 14 kills but the Eagles (17-2) fell to Southwest in four sets in the state quarterfinals.

Breno Ertty, Cypress Bay, boys’ volleyball: The outside hitter had 19 kills, but the Lightning (15-2) fell in three sets to Longwood Lyman in the state quarterfinals.

FABIAN LYON


Special to The Miami Herald

During a recent practice session, Westwood Christian ace and University of Miami recruit Danny Garcia gave up a huge home run to teammate Anthony Peñas, the team’s cleanup hitter.

“He has always gotten me out,” said Peñas, a third baseman who has a scholarship to rising baseball power Campbell University (N.C.). “But this time, he left a fastball over the middle of the plate.

“I hit it to dead center, over the trees. It would have been out anywhere. As soon as I hit it, I looked straight at him, and we both started laughing.”

In his defense, Garcia said he was throwing at just 70 percent capacity — it was a bullpen session, after all.

“I told him: ‘Since I didn’t get you a birthday present last year, this was it,’ ” Garcia said.

Don’t expect any gifts from Garcia on Wednesday, when Westwood (15-7-1) faces Tampa Cambridge (19-9) in a Class 2A state semifinal at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.

Garcia, a left-hander, won a state semifinal game last year. But Westwood lost 1-0 in the state final to Deltona Trinity Christian.

Trinity (16-10), hunting its third state title in the past four years, is in the other semifinal against Vero Beach Master’s Academy, which is 15-6 on the field but dropped to 9-12 because of six early season forfeits.

Westwood coach Luis Padron said the idea of holding Garcia for a possible rematch with Trinity in the final was not at all tempting.

“We’re focused on the semifinal,” Padron said.

Should Westwood reach Thursday’s final — which is scheduled to start at 7:35 p.m. — senior right-hander Jason Gutierrez would start.

Since that would be just his second start since missing virtually the entire season because of shoulder inflammation, he would likely go no more than five innings in the game.

Junior Andy Rivera and his brother, Oscar Rivera, a senior, would take over from there.

Certainly, Westwood has the credentials to get back to the final. Whereas Cambridge is making its first trip to state since 2009, Westwood can draw on last year’s experience.

In addition, Westwood played some big opponents this year, beating Class 3A state semifinalist Florida Christian 2-1 in a game pitched by Garcia. He was also on the mound when Westwood lost 3-1 to Archbishop McCarthy, which is going for its fourth consecutive state title this week in Class 6A.

Westwood also lost 6-1 to Class 8A state semifinalist American.

Given its schedule, don’t expect Garcia (4-2, 1.92 ERA) to be intimidated this week.

He will likely do the intimidating with a four-pitch assortment that has allowed him to strike out 63 batters in 47 1/3 innings.

“When Danny is on the mound,” Peñas said, “we know it will be a quick game because he is going to pound the strike zone, and he’s not going to get hit much.”

Meanwhile, Peñas leads the team in homers (six), runs (23), RBI (24), doubles (four) and on-base percentage (.558).

“When I first saw his swing a couple of years ago, I was amazed by his power,” Garcia said of Peñas. “He’s our cleanup hitter for a reason.”

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