Baseball: Palm Beach Gardens holds off Dwyer to advance
Tuesday, May 08, 2012
by Matt Porter
PALM BEACH GARDENS -- With two outs, the bases loaded and the potential winning run at the plate for Dwyer, who else would Palm Beach Gardens coach Joe Russo call on?
He sent for Joey Boyd, the hero of Friday night's regional quarterfinal win over Park Vista. Boyd threw 128 pitches in that game. It would have been ideal to rest him, but with Dwyer looking to pull a stunner, in he came.
"I didn't want to do it," Russo said. "He's money. I didn't want to do it, but you can't take any chances there."
Boyd struck out Dwyer's Bradley Emery, ending the last of several Dwyer rallies and giving Gardens (20-10) a 10-7 win in the Class 8A regional semifinals. On Friday, the Gators play the winner of the today's game between Pembroke Pines-Flanagan and Pembroke Pines-West Broward, which was postponed Tuesday by rain.
As good a rivalry as there is in Palm Beach County, Dwyer (18-9) and Gardens battered each other for seven innings, but Gardens' early lead was too much for Dwyer to overcome. The Gators had 10 hits and were helped by six Dwyer errors.
The first batter, left fielder Nick Gallo, singled and scored, followed by second baseman Jean Cancio (single), catcher J.J. Schwarz (single), starting pitcher Pavin Smith (error) and first baseman James Jean, who doubled.
That helped chase Emery (5-3), who asked Dwyer coach Frank Torre for the start despite shoulder trouble.
"He had the guts to say I'm going to go for it, and I had confidence he would get it done," Torre said. "It just wasn't his night tonight. He didn't have it."
Dwyer freshman Tom Szapucki allowed three runs in the second inning before junior Cheyne Bickel entered the game. Bickel, an Ole Miss commit, struck out seven in 4r innings, allowing an RBI single in the seventh.
While Bickel held down the fort, center fielder Jamal Martin (2-for-4, RBI double, three runs) and senior third baseman Tim Lynch (3-for-4, RBI single, run) helped Dwyer climb back into it. They pulled to within 9-7, but junior Matt Williams pitched 2t scoreless innings until Boyd closed the door.
Torre was proud of Dwyer, which had advanced to a regional semifinal only once before (1998).
"It's tough for it to end this way. We had a great season," he said. "We won a district title. Nobody can take that away from us. I'm just proud of the way we battled."
Gardens, which has made the regional semifinals 10 times in Russo's 19 seasons, advances to its first regional final since 2007.
"Little drought," Russo said. "We expect to be there. It's a disappointment when we don't get that far. The guys believe. They expect to win."