High School Sports

Palmetto-Gables playoff rematch could be another classic

Douglas ace Brandon Kaminer, a University of Miami signee, is 10-0 with a 1.03 ERA this season and will try to pitch the defending Class 9A state champion Eagles past Jupiter in the regional final for the second year in a row.
Douglas ace Brandon Kaminer, a University of Miami signee, is 10-0 with a 1.03 ERA this season and will try to pitch the defending Class 9A state champion Eagles past Jupiter in the regional final for the second year in a row. mnavarro@MiamiHerald.com

The last time Coral Gables and Palmetto hooked up on the diamond it took 11 innings to decide the winner.

The Cavaliers (13-13) and Panthers (21-6) could be destined for another classic when they meet a 4 p.m. Tuesday at Coral Reef Park to decide who will advance to next week's Class 9A state semifinals in Fort Myers.

Coral Gables, which hasn't won a regional title since 1995, is led by senior right-hander John Kenney (6-5, 2.13 ERA) and junior outfielder Brian Garcia (.395, 3 HR, 20 RBI). Palmetto, which hasn't won a regional title since 2007, is led by senior left-hander Matthew Turner (8-1, 1.86 ERA) and catcher Eddy Arteaga (.369, 2 HR, 18 RBI).

Last time, it was junior right-hander Ryan MacInnes who was the hero for the Panthers. He pitched 6 2/3 innings of scoreless relief in a 9-5 Palmetto victory.

▪ Region 3-9A final – Jupiter at Douglas, 4: Ace Brandon Kaminer pitched defending state champion Douglas (22-4) past Jupiter in the regional final last year and will look to do so again.

The future Miami Hurricane has picked up wins in each of the first two rounds of the playoffs and has allowed just two unearned runs over 13 innings. The senior left-hander is 10-0 with a 1.03 ERA and 99 strikeouts on the season.

The Warriors (21-6-2) are led by Florida State signee Reese Albert (.321, 3 HR, 25 RBI) and Ole Miss signee Anthony Servideo (.432, 12 RBI, 11 SBs).

▪ Region 4-8A final – St. Thomas Aquinas at Nova, 7: This is the third time in the last six years the Raiders (22-5) and Titans (23-3) have met in the state playoffs with Aquinas winning each of the last two postseason meetings. Aquinas, which hasn’t won a regional final since 2013, also won the last regular season meeting at Nova 10-5 back on March 6.

Junior left-hander Trace Moore (11-0, 0.27 ERA, 93 Ks) figures to toe the rubber for Nova. Sophomore catcher Nick Vera (.492, 4 HRs, 30 RBI) and junior outfielder Chris Ruckdeschel (.500, 4 HRs, 19 RBI) pace an Aquinas lineup batting .379 and averaging over 9.3 runs per game.

▪ Region 4-7A final – Belen Jesuit at Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer, 7: The Wolverines squeezed past the Panthers 5-4 in eight innings in last year’s regional final to get back to the state semifinals for the first time in nine years. The rematch could be just as dramatic.

The Wolverines (23-7-1) are led by senior shortstop C.J. Vazquez (.411, 3 HRs, 22 RBI) and junior second baseman Jonathan Barditch (.422, 22 RBI, 9 SBs). Dwyer (23-5) is looking to advance to its first state semifinals behind senior right-hander and University of South Carolina signee Shane Roberts (8-1, 0.79 ERA, 91 Ks).

▪ Region 4-6A final – Melbourne Eau Gallie at Archbishop McCarthy, 7: The two-time defending state champion Mavericks, ranked third nationally by Baseball America, have outscored their first two regional opponents 15-0 and 5-0 and the Commodores (26-3) have won their first two regional games 12-0 and 10-0.

Senior right-hander Daniel Federman (7-1, 1.56 ERA, 66 Ks) should get the start for McCarthy. Eau Gallie lost to McCarthy in the 2011 regional final 3-1. It’s the only other time the teams have met in the state playoffs.

▪ Region 4-5A final – Pompano Beach at Monsignor Pace, 7: The Spartans (26-5) beat the Tornadoes (26-3) in 9-3 in last year’s regional final and have shown plenty of power in this year’s playoffs belting seven home runs in their first two regional games.

University of Miami signee and senior shortstop Jeter Downs (.426, 12 HR, 37 RBI) and junior second baseman Michael Montes (.437, 10 HR, 43 RBI) have been the primary sparkplugs. Pepperdine signee Trevor Kniskern (10-0, 1.10 ERA, .451, 4 HR, 27 RBI) will try to lead Pompano Beach to its first state semifinal appearance ever.

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