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Preps

Prep baseball: Region finals preview capsules

Published:   |   Updated: May 10, 2013 at 08:57 AM

8A-3: Orlando Timber Creek (21-8) at Durant (23-5)
Since ace Tyler Danish pitched Tuesday, the Cougars will turn to senior lefty Chaz Fowler to continue their run. Fowler (7-3, 1.41 ERA) is a big, imposing figure on the mound and has won his last three starts with complete game efforts. The top of the Durant lineup with leadoff Garrett Wright and its core in Danish, Fowler, juniors Luke Heyer and Paxton Sims will need to get things going quickly against Timber Creek. Timber Creek shook off two regular season losses to Winter Park to top its district opponent in both the district final and a 4-2 win in Tuesday's semifinal. The Wolves have a strong core of five seniors with the offense being led by outfielder Eugene Vazquez and shortstop Kyle Muth.

7A-3: Wiregrass Ranch (20-9) at Venice (26-3)
The Bulls are on a historic run during their first postseason appearance, upsetting district foe and nationally ranked Steinbrenner (16th) for their first region final berth. Wiregrass faces another tough and nationally ranked opponent in Venice (17th), which is also ranked second in the state. Wiregrass is led by the Drury brothers, Zach and Austin. Zach, a junior, threw a complete game, two-hit shutout vs. Steinbrenner on Tuesday, while Austin, a sophomore, is batting .354 with 11 stolen bases and 24 runs. The Indians are led by a pair of Florida commits: C/OF Michael Rivera and INF Dalton Guthrie, and FAU commit Ryan Miller.

6A-3: Mitchell (24-5) at King (24-3)
The top three in the King lineup – Devon Pedro, Tanner Williams and Sam Rowe -- are hitting .393, .415 and .405, respectively. Even the underclassmen are getting in on the action as the bottom of the order is being led by freshman Sey Juan Lawrence who is hitting .316 with 21 runs scored. The Lions will turn to standout ace pitcher Brett Morales (10-1, 0.39 ERA) against Mitchell. The Mustangs are appearing in their first region final. They've been led by FSU commit Cobi Jones, who is batting .429 with 34 RBIs and is 10-2 with a 1.68 ERA and 103 strikeouts on the mound. Marcus Bragg also brings a big bat, belting seven homers and 35 RBIs, while Eddie Goscicki has driven in 28. Since Johnson pitched Tuesday, expect to see Chris McCormick on the mound, who is 6-1 with a 2.18 ERA and 64 strikeouts.

5A-2: Auburndale (21-8) at Jesuit (26-2)
The Tigers have options on the mound after trouncing Dunedin 11-1 and only needing an inning from ace Spencer Trayner (7-1, 1.25 ERA). Trayner's bat has been outstanding, as well. Quietly putting together a solid season is senior right fielder Leland Saile, who led the way for the Tigers with 22 RBIs and is tied (with junior Ryan McCullers) for the team lead in doubles at nine. Underclassmen McCullers (.422), junior Ricky Caldevilla (.403) and sophomore Kennie Taylor (.344) have also been key performers. The Bloodhounds have won their last six games by a combined seven runs, including a 6-5 victory Tuesday against Lake Wales. Auburndale will likely turn to Burris Warner on the mound, who had 13 strikeouts in a region quarterfinal win against Merritt Island.

4A-2: Tampa Catholic (18-11) at Fort Myers Bishop Verot (23-5)
The Crusaders avenged a district final loss by topping Berkeley Prep 5-2 Tuesday. Senior Dre Leal scored the game's first run and added a pair of RBIs as the win was punctuated by a fourth-inning Jake Clark home run. The Crusaders got a quality start from senior AJ Gonzalez on Tuesday, but Crusader coach AJ Griffin said the team hadn't yet tabbed a starter for tonight's game. Junior Clayton Smith (6-2, 1.56 ERA) would be the likely choice, but he has had flu-like symptoms. Leal (.395, 17 runs and 14 RBIs) keys the offense, but the Crusaders have a number of good hitters including Jorge Romero and Paulie Russo. Bishop Verot was the state runner-up in 4A last season and the Vikings have been an impressive 11-2 at home this season. The Vikings will likely turn to junior pitcher Jeff Passantino (10-1, 0.77 ERA and 94 strikeouts).

3A-3: Melbourne Central Catholic (20-5) at Tampa Prep (21-8)
The Terrapins are one step from returning to the state final four for the second straight season. Tampa Prep got a solid start and win from Sam Martin on Tuesday and about 20 pitches in relief from Watson Ransom. Ransom (5-4) will take the mound for the Terrapins tonight. With just two seniors on the team, coach John DeTringo (who has been heading the team all season while an illness has held out AJ Hendrix) said the team's success has a lot to do with its looseness led by the high-energy of senior Kirby Wilson (.277 with 12 runs and 12 RBIs). The offense has relied heavily on Matthew Fulton, Matt Hodges and junior Nick DeTringo, who despite having some injuries this year is hitting .377 with 27 runs scored. Defensively though, the Terrapins have had a big lift from freshman catcher Luis Medina who has handled the staff well all season as well as adding 23 RBIs.

2A-3: Winter Garden Foundation Academy (13-13) vs. Cambridge Christian (15-9)
At Doc Nance Field. ... The Lancers had no trouble with Winter Haven All Saints' Tuesday, winning 11-0. Cambridge Christian's offense was paced in the win be Levi Gilcrease, who scored three runs in the game and drove in a pair. Gilcrease (.500, 33 runs, 13 RBIs) also came in to relieve a quality start from Zach Hessinger. The Lancers will probably turn to senior Nick Eicholtz (4-0, 0.39 ERA) in the final as he has a team-leading 63 strikeouts in 36 innings. The Lions, 6-4 winners Tuesday against Ocoee Central Florida Christian, got a complete game effort from senior Caleb Hood. Most likely, the Lions will turn to senior starter Justin Minnick (4-6) to face the Lancers. Minnick batting .500 on the year and leads the Lions with 39 runs scored, while adding 21 RBIs, eight doubles, seven triples and two home runs and 34 stolen bases.

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