Get your radar guns ready.
South Florida is sending a few more of its best pitchers to Fort Myers this week in the hopes these powerful young arms can help their squads secure state titles.
Four more local teams — Pompano Beach, Archbishop McCarthy, Palmetto and Nova — have aces they hope can lead them to championships at Hammond Stadium.
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▪ After four losing seasons, Pompano Beach (24-3) has turned things around under veteran coach Joe Giummule and advanced to its first state final four. Junior Trevor Kniskern has been a major factor.
Kniskern, a 5-11, 170-pound right-hander and Pepperdine signee, brings an 11-0 record and a 0.98 ERA to the tournament. A year after taking the loss in the regional finals to Monsignor Pace, Kniskern blanked an impressive Spartans’ lineup last week while holding them to only two hits.
Kniskern, who has 87 strikeouts, will face another potent lineup Wednesday at 10 a.m. when Pompano Beach takes on reigning Class 5A state champion Jacksonville Bolles (19-10), which is led by four Division-I prospects in Max Ferguson (Tennessee), Hunter Barco (Virginia), Austin Knight (Tennessee) and Clemente Inclan (North Carolina).
▪ After an absence of 12 years, perennial contender Nova (24-3) is back in the state tournament, and a lot of credit goes to junior lefty Trace Moore, who is 11-0 in 13 starts with 97 strikeouts and a 0.48 ERA.
Moore (6-1, 180 pounds) delivered a gutsy performance, pitching nine innings and delivering a big RBI in Nova’s 4-3 walkoff win in nine innings against rival St. Thomas Aquinas. He and the Titans take on Tallahassee Lincoln on Friday at 10 a.m. in a Class 8A semifinal.
Palmetto advanced to state for the first time since 2007 with a deep pitching staff led by 6-5 senior lefty Matthew Turner (9-1, 81 Ks, 1.77 ERA).
But if the Panthers are to win their first state title, they will have to overcome one of the best pitchers in the country when they take on Orange City University on Friday at 4 p.m. in a Class 9A semifinal.
Opposing Palmetto will be 5-11, 175-pound lefty Logan Allen, an FIU signee with a low-90s fastball that is 12-0 in 12 starts this season with a 0.38 ERA, 140 strikeouts and only 10 walks. Allen has allowed only four earned runs this season.
Archbishop McCarthy, ranked No. 2 in the country by both USA Today and MaxPreps, is chasing its seventh state title in eight seasons.
The team it has beaten for three of those championships, Lynn Haven Mosley, is back in the Mavericks’ path. McCarthy will play Mosley, ranked No. 3 nationally by MaxPreps and 12th by Baseball America, on Thursday at 10 a.m. in a Class 6A semifinal.
McCarthy (27-2), however, should feel good with 6-1, 205-pound right-hander Daniel Federman back on the mound. Federman, a University of Miami signee, is 9-1 with 87 strikeouts, a 1.16 ERA and just posted a season-high 11 strikeouts in a three-hitter against Melbourne Eau Gallie.
McCarthy has not allowed a run in three regional playoff games and is averaging only 1.52 runs allowed per game this season.
State baseball finals
When: Wednesday through Saturday (Classes 9A-5A).
Where: Centurylink Sports Complex — Hammond Stadium, 14100 Ben C. Pratt Six Mile Cypress Parkway, Fort Myers.
Admission: $9 in advance, $12 per day at the gate.
Parking: $10 for cars, $50 for buses.
Last week’s state champions — Class 4A: Clearwater Calvary Christian; 3A: Fort Myers Canterbury; 2A: Lake Worth Trinity Christian; 1A: Trenton.
Wednesday’s semifinals — Class 5A: Pompano Beach vs. Jacksonville Bolles, 10 a.m.; Englewood Lemon Bay vs. Orlando Bishop Moore, 1; Class 7A: Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer vs. Ponte Vedra Nease, 4; Naples Gulf Coast vs. Tampa King, 7.
Thursday’s semifinals — Class 6A: Archbishop McCarthy vs. Lynn Haven Mosley, 10 a.m.; Dunedin vs. Tampa Jesuit, 1; Class 5A championship: 4:05; Class 7A championship: 7:35.
Friday’s semifinals — Class 8A semifinals: Nova vs. Tallahassee Lincoln, 10 a.m.; Sarasota vs. Oviedo Hagerty, 1; Class 9A semifinals: Miami Palmetto vs. Orange City University, 4; Jupiter vs. Orlando Timber Creek, 7.
Saturday’s finals — Class 6A: 12:35; Class 8A: 4:05; Class 9A: 7:35.