When MLB-ace-turned-Pine Crest pitching coach Al Leiter (profiled here last week) first addressed the team in January, he had a message.
"He was telling us he knows about American Heritage and whatnot," junior Kyle Francis said, "but he's saying take on anybody -- it's like a David vs. Goliath [thing]."
So, up next: David vs. Goliath, Friday at 4 p.m.
Goliath -- er, the Patriots, who moved to 14-1 after Tuesday night's 10-0 win at Coral Springs Charter (see below) and the nation's top team in RISE Magazine's preseason rankings -- already won the first matchup, 16-6. The Panthers -- who stopped a two-game losing streak Tuesday by scoring five runs with two outs in the bottom of the seventh (see below) against Pompano Beach -- hope this one turns out differently.
Of course, if American Heritage coach Todd Fitz-Gerald's assessment is any indication, Friday might be a little much for underdog Pine Crest (10-5).
"We're not playing our best," said said Fitz-Gerald, whose team heads one county north next week for the Gary Carter National Grand Slam tournament. "Somebody different every night is helping [us] find a way to win."
- American Heritage 10, Coral Springs Charter 0: Ryan Kahn (4-0) gave up just one hit in 5 2/3 innings, striking out four. Adrian Nieto went 2 for 4 with two RBI and two doubles, and Jonathan Diaz went 2 for 2 with an RBI for the Patriots.
- Pine Crest 6, Pompano Beach 5: Coach Glen Pierson called it "unbelievable" -- down 5-1 in the bottom of the seventh, the Panthers got an error, three singles...then a walk-off grand slam from Troy Wiggins. "This was a great, great win for us," Pierson said. "We definitely needed it." John Blohm (4-2) took the win.