Baseball: No. 3 Jupiter routs No. 7 Palm Beach Gardens
Friday, April 15, 2011
by Joseph Kairalla
In their final district game of the regular season, the third-ranked Jupiter Warriors made it clear that they are ready for post-season play with a 13-4 victory over seventh-ranked Palm Beach Gardens on Friday.
Jupiter (17-5, 7-1 District 9-6A) outplayed the Gators in all facets.
The game featured two of the best pitchers in the area as Gators' ace J.D. Underwood matched up against Calvin Greener. It was clear from the beginning, however, that neither pitcher had his best stuff.
Underwood (6-3) especially struggled, getting tagged for four runs in the second inning and another in the fourth before exiting trailing 5-2.
Greener (7-0) struggled to keep the ball down for most of the game but battled through five innings to earn the victory.
"Calvin has been perfect all year but tonight they got to him," Jupiter coach Doug Ferguson said. "He's such a great competitor, though, that I kept him in as long as I could."
Center fielder J.J. Crespo and first baseman Ryan Harris led the Warriors offensively.
With Jupiter clinging to a 5-4 lead in the top of the sixth, Crespo drew a one-out walk. He took second on a wild pickoff attempt, then scored when a high chopper got past Gardens' shortstop Tommy Williams.
The Warriors scored three more runs before the inning ended. Crespo finished the game 2-for-2 with two walks, two stolen bases and three runs scored.
"He's such a solid player, really the total package, Ferguson said of Crespo. "He has that game-changing speed, which is such a weapon."
Harris' three-run triple in the seventh gave Jupiter a 12-4 lead and capped a 4-for-5, four RBI night for the Florida signee.
"I struggled early in the season, but lately my timing and my swing have been dead on," Harris said.
Ferguson said that has been the case for most of his team. Jupiter has a history of starting strong but fading down the stretch.
"This year has been the opposite, which is what we wanted," Ferguson said. "Our goal has been to be playing our best baseball of the season right now, and I really think that's the case."
The Gators fell to 15-7 while committing a season-high five errors.
Jupiter 1, Parkland-Douglas 0: Ryan Harris (5-2) pitched a three-hitter with four strikeouts, leading the Warriors to the victory over the Eagles (16-2) in Jupiter. Ronnie Healy had the game-winning RBI for Jupiter.