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Sunday, May 20, 2018
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Baseball: Region semifinals preview

All games today at 7 p.m. unless noted 8A-2 MATCHUP: Durant at East Lake OUTLOOK: Two of the state’s better teams will hook up in this matchup. Durant (22-5-2) advanced to the semis with a 2-0 victory against Sarasota Riverview, while East Lake (24-3) outlasted Wharton 1-0. Tyler Danish has not allowed an earned run for Durant this season, going 12-1. The senior is also batting .403 with seven home runs and 24 RBIs. 7A-3 MATCHUP: Wiregrass Ranch at Steinbrenner
OUTLOOK: This is the fourth meeting between the teams, with Steinbrenner having won the previous three by a combined score of 20-1. Steinbrenner is led by Cole Gordon (.433, 33 RBIs, seven homers), but it was Jesse Haney who knocked in three runs and homered in the region quarterfinals. Keep an eye on Alex Hansen, who is batting .481 with 33 RBIs and three homers. Steinbrenner is a team that can hit, batting .385 as a team with a .475 on-base percentage. The Warriors also can pitch, especially with Logan LaPace (7-2, 1.67 ERA), who has shut down Wiregrass already this season. Gideon Dunn is also 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA. Wiregrass will send ace Zach Drury to the mound, who leads the team at 7-5 with a 1.71 ERA and 92 strikeouts. He also leads the team in RBIs (20), but his younger brother, sophomore Austin, is an offensive catalyst and has scored 24 times and has a team-high 29 hits. Marcus Guzman also helps the offense produce thanks to 20 stolen bases and 20 runs, plus 13 RBIs. 6A-3 MATCHUP: Winter Haven at Mitchell OUTLOOK: Mitchell returns to the region semis for the first time since 2011. Cobi Johnson has been stellar on the mound and at the plate. Johnson, an FSU commit, is batting .415 with 32 RBIs, while senior Marcus Begg has a team-high .436 average and 34 RBIs. Johnson is 9-2 on the mound with a 1.82 ERA and 96 strikeouts, but keep an eye on Chris McCormick, who has been equally as good for Mitchell (6-1, 2.18, 68 strikeouts). Winter Haven is led by a pair of Matts: Matt Saliba is batting .534 with 28 RBIs, while pitcher Matt Piatnik is 10-0 with a 1.17 ERA and 48 strikeouts, plus batting .310 with three homers and 27 RBIs. MATCHUP: King at Osceola OUTLOOK: King got past Dixie Hollins 1-0 in the quarterfinals behind Brett Morales’ 11-strikeout performance. Osceola edged Leto 2-1 to advance to the region semifinals for the first time since 2009. King has won 14 consecutive games. 5A-3 MATCHUP: Jesuit at Dunedin OUTLOOK: Jesuit blanked Lakewood 3-0 in the quarterfinals. The Tigers have had to deal with big expectations ever since they were ranked No. 1 in the nation in a pair of polls. Meanwhile, Dunedin has recovered from a three-game losing streak in early April, including defeating Robinson in the quarterfinals 3-2. 4A-3 MATCHUP: Tampa Catholic at Berkeley Prep OUTLOOK: This will be the third meeting, with each team having won a game. Tampa Catholic defeated Berkeley in the regular season, 3-2, but lost the Class 4A-District 9 final to the Buccaneers 6-0. TC won its quarterfinal game at Lake Placid 1-0, while Berkeley Prep defeated Arcadia DeSoto County 7-6. 3A-2 MATCHUP: Lakeland Santa Fe Catholic at Tampa Prep OUTLOOK: This is the second meeting between the teams as Santa Fe Catholic defeated Tampa Prep on March 15. Tampa Prep defeated Lakeland Christian 3-2 in the quarterfinals, while Santa Fe Catholic rallied to defeat Brooks-DeBartolo 4-3 in a game that was suspended Thursday and resumed Saturday. 2A-2 MATCHUP: Winter Haven All Saints’ at Cambridge Christian, Doc Nance Field, 4 p.m. OUTLOOK: All Saints’ defeated Bayshore Christian 11-1 in the quarterfinals, while Cambridge Christian rolled past Lakeland Victory Christian 13-3.
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