Palmetto starting pitcher Matt Turner pitched a gem to lead the Panthers to a 4-1 victory over Columbus in the Region 4-9A quarterfinals Tuesday night at Columbus.
After giving up a run in the first inning that gave the Explorers (26-3) an early 1-0 lead, the slender left-hander settled down and pitched six scoreless innings, striking out eight batters along the way in the winning effort.
“Matt was phenomenal,” Palmetto Head Coach Danny Smith said. “He’s carried us throughout the season, and he’s going to go a long way in baseball.”
The Panthers’ bats were slow to start, failing to register a hit over the first three innings against Columbus starting pitcher Danny San Pedro.
But Palmetto tied the score in the top of the fourth inning when infielder Nick Labrada scored on a groundout.
Palmetto (21-6) broke through and took the lead in the sixth inning after chasing San Pedro out of the game with a leadoff single.
Later in the inning, designated hitter Nick Deegan drove in the game-winning run with an RBI double down the left field line.
Senior outfielder Cody Tate capped the inning with a hard ground ball that got past a diving shortstop to add on two more insurance runs for Palmetto.
South Dade will host Palmetto on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in a region semifinal.
▪ Region 4-9A Quarterfinal: South Dade 5, Braddock 3: Tied at three, the Buccaneers scored twice in the bottom of the fourth and held on for the win. Braddock scored twice in the top of the first for the early lead, but South Dade (14-12) evened things in its half of the first. Trailing 3-2, the Bulldogs tied the game in the top of the fourth.
Willy Escala was 2 for 2 with a triple, a run and two RBI, and Hasani Clarit went 2 for 2 with a walk and two runs for South Dade. Starting pitcher Yamil Chavarria tossed six innings for the win. He allowed three runs, one earned, on four hits and three walks while striking out four. Luis Urguiaga pitched a scorless seventh inning for the save.
For Braddock (15-12), Hianny Olivares was 2 for 4, and Miguel Rivera added a double, a run and an RBI. Gabriel Core pitched 2 1/3 innings of shutout ball in relief.
▪ Region 3-9A quarterfinal: Stoneman Douglas 7, West Broward 3: The Eagles steamrolled their way to state and national baseball titles last season for the first time in school history.
The Eagles aren’t contenders for a national title this season, but the march to repeat as Class 9A state champions began with a victory over visiting West Broward.
Left-hander Brandon Kaminer, the the pitcher who led the Eagles to glory last season as a junior and now has a scholarship in hand to pitch for the University of Miami next season, improved to 21-0 in 26 career high school starts by pitching six innings of two-hit ball on just 60 pitches.
Closer Kyle Yeoward hit the first two batters he faced and gave up a couple runs in the seventh, but all in all it was another dominating performance for the Eagles (22-4).
Douglas scored two runs in the first and three more in the second off West Broward starter Bryan Wilcox, who gave up seven runs (four earned) over four innings.
Missouri signee Chad McDaniel went 3 for 3 with an RBI and cleanup hitter Spencer Dubay went 3 for 4 with an RBI.
“These guys grind; they fight,” Eagles coach Todd Fitz-Gerald said of the difference between last year’s team and this year’s squad. “They’re definitely a different group altogether. They’re very ec clectic, I guess is the word I want to say. It’s different, man. Sometimes they’re fun to be around, and sometimes I just want to — you know.
“They come ready to play, and we’re playing good right now and gelling together as a team, and the chemistry is very good. I think they’ve got another goal in mind. Let’s see if we can get there.”
The Eagles will play the winner of Coral Springs-Flanagan on Tuesday in a region semifinal.
▪ Region 4-8A quarterfinal: St. Thomas Aquinas 4, Coral Glades 0: The Raiders (21-5) scored twice in the second inning to help avenge last year’s loss to Coral Glades and advance to next week’s semifinal round.
With two outs in the second, Andres Antonini doubled in Chris Valencia with what became the winning run. Antonini then came home on a single by Isiah Perry.
Aquinas increased its lead in the fourth when Kyle Benson scored on a single from Cade Fergus. The Raiders’ final run of the night came in the fifth on a solo shot from Earl Semper.
“We knew they were going to play a solid ballgame,” Aquinas coach Troy Cameron said. “We didn’t play perfect, but our guys battled.”
▪ Region 4-7A quarterfinal: Doral Academy 9, South Broward 0: Oscar Trujillo, Jorge Perez, Victor Cabrera and Chauncey Nunez combined on a one-hitter as the Firebirds advanced to the regional semifinals for the second time in three seasons.
Trujillo, the winning pitcher, set the tone, striking out five in three innings.
Michael Marin went 3 for 4 with two runs and two RBI, and Lency Delgado was 3 for 4 with a home run and three RBI. Gabriel Gutierrez went 2 for 4 with three RBI. Doral (19-7-2) will host Belen Jesuit on Tuesday in a region semifinal.
▪ Region 4-7A quarterfinal: Belen Jesuit 4, Pembroke Pines Charter 1: The Wolverines improved to 20-6-1 behind winning pitcher Danny Brown, who allowed one run and stuck out six. Alejandro Torres recorded the save.
Offensively, Lucky DeZendegui went 2 for 3 with a double and scored. Marcus Diaz doubled, drove in a run and scored. Erick Wilson had a hit, a run and an RBI, and Armando Albert and Jon Barditch each had a hit.