The first tickets to next week’s state baseball tournament in Fort Myers will be punched Friday as some of South Florida and the country’s best teams play in the regional finals.
Among the best matchups is a clash between 10-time state champion Miami Westminster Christian and Coral Springs Christian, which is led by Major League prospect pitcher Touki Toussaint and catcher Benito Santiago.
This and four other matchups highlight Friday’s slate.
Westminster Christian is vying to get back to state for the first time in three seasons and win its first championship since winning back-to-back in 2009-10.
But Pembroke Pines Flanagan faces an opponent Friday it knows it can’t start slow against if it hopes to reach state for the first time since winning its third championship in 2010.
The Falcons have been trying to save star pitcher Gentry Fortuno — still undefeated for his three-year career at Flanagan — for this matchup although he pitched the final two innings in relief against Miami High Tuesday.
South Dade has won its past two on the strength of gems by senior Erik Manoah, but after back-to-back complete games including a two-hitter against Miami Killian Tuesday, Manoah will not start against Flanagan.
The Bucs will likely start junior righty Jose Gorordo (6-0, 1.75 ERA) as they try to advance to state for the first time since 1976.
Steven Alvarez hit two home runs in Tuesday’s win over St. Thomas Aquinas. Dwyer is in its first-ever regional final.
They’ll leave the friendly confines of Key West to face a North Broward Prep squad that just survived a 3-2, eight-inning thriller against Chaminade-Madonna to advance to its first regional final since 2011 — the only time the Eagles made it to state.
The Florida Association of Basketball Coaches announced its state Players and Coaches of the Year Thursday.
The following were South Florida Players of the Year that led their respective teams to state championships:
The following were South Florida Coaches of the Year that led their respective teams to state championships: