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Friday, Apr 27, 2018
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Prep Baseball: Region finals previews

A look at Tuesday night’s baseball region final games involving Tribune area teams.


Class 6A-3: King at Venice, 7:30 p.m.

OUTLOOK: The Lions (19-7) are looking to make a second straight trip to the state final four. King (22-5) got another solid start from senior Tyeler Checkley, who moved to 10-1 on the season, as the Lions topped Seminole Osceola 10-3 in the region semifinal. The Lions’ offense is sparked by senior Donnell Taylor at the top of the lineup and senior third baseman Bubby Terp. Taylor anchors a solid defense in the outfield, while catcher Jose Lopez has been a standout. The Indians advanced to the final behind a no-hitter from senior Brandon Elmy, who blanked Estero in Venice’s 10-0 win. Elmy also added a two-run homer in the win. The Indians have a wealth of talent offensively including two University of Florida commits, catcher Mike Rivera and shortstop Dalton Guthrie.


Class 5A-2: Sunlake at Citra North Marion, 7 p.m.

OUTLOOK: The Seahawks are appearing in their first region final thanks to impressive wins that include an upset of Brooksville Hernando and a shutout of Pasco. Omar Cala leads Sunlake’s offense with a .398 average, 19 RBIs and 35 hits, while Zach Howard has contributed 18 RBIs and a homer. David Castillo has been great on the mound (7-3, 1.54 ERA, 88 strikeouts) and at the plate (.359, 15 RBIs). The Colts are a region finalist for just the second time and are led by Daulton Garr (game-winning hit), Jeff Bell (three stolen bases in the region semi) and Dante Torino (10 strikeouts vs. Belleview).


Class 5A-3: Cape Coral at Jesuit, 7:30 p.m.

OUTLOOK: Jesuit (22-6) topped Robinson 4-0 in the region semifinal behind three hits and an RBI from senior and Middle Tennessee commit Ryan McCullers. The Tigers may have found their ace of the future in left-handed sophomore Michael Sandborn, who earned the win in six innings of work, allowing three hits and striking out four. Junior Kennie Taylor has been a key part of the top of the Tigers’ lineup, while McCullers and senior Danny Lastra have had solid seasons. The Tigers have been steady since a midseason discipline issue forced the team to move forward without nine suspended players. The Tigers have reached the state final four the previous four seasons and are looking for the first state title for Jesuit since 2000. Cape Coral (22-5) fell in its district final but avenged the loss in last week’s region semifinal, defeating Mariner 3-0 as junior Kyle Aronja earned the win and added an RBI single. Aronja leads the Seahawks with a .471 average and 23 RBIs.


Class 2A-2: Bayshore Christian at Orlando Christian Prep, 7 p.m.

OUTLOOK: Bayshore Christian (11-4) completed its fourth battle with Cambridge Christian last week, winning its second straight one-run game against the Lancers 6-5 in the region semifinal. Jordan Martin’s walk-off double in the seventh inning capped the Faith Warriors’ comeback win. Bayshore Christian stuck with starter Evan Holland the whole way, as the junior earned his fifth win of the year and now holds a 1.69 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 49 innings. Holland, seniors Conner Brown and Evan Courtney and sophomore Jordan Martin lead the offense as all have double-digit runs scored and RBIs. Orlando Christian (15-9) won its region semifinal over Faith Christian behind a complete-game, 12-strikeout performance from Pat Stephens, while Jay Vazquez added a two-run homer. Orlando Christian, winners of six straight, have scored at least 10 runs in three straight games.

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