April 06, 2008

What's the most you ever lost on a coin toss?

It wouldn't have been at No Country For Old Men level, but a coin still almost cost Pembroke Pines Charter softball a lot Saturday night at the Kissimmee Klassic.

With most of the tournament done, weather forced a coin toss to determine the winner of the Miami Palmetto-Palatka semifinal in the tournament's "blue" bracket. Palmetto "won," then had to "face" the Jaguars in perhaps the shortest championship game ever played. The winner: Pines Charter.

Still, what if the coin had rotated just one more time?

"It would have stunk," coach Tom Fadul said Sunday, "because our kids played so well."

Their results: A 4-0 win Saturday against Eau Gallie (recently rated No. 2 in USA Today's Super 25, 10 spots ahead of Pines Charter), along with a 5-0 win over Pace on Friday and Thursday's 2-0 shutout of Gulliver Prep.

That runs the Jaguars to 22-0 (not counting the coin toss, which wouldn't have tarnished their undefeated record), with games against Broward powers Flanagan and Cooper City this week and the district championships right after.

All for a team that's playing with "a very high level of confidence" -- one that even a coin toss can't derail, especially with all the close games the Jaguars have won.

"It just shows that our kids," Fadul said, "no matter what they have to face, they deal with it."

--Patrick Dorsey

April 04, 2008

Here we go again...

Pembroke Pines Charter softball is at it again. But they weren't the only teams in action Thursday:

  • The Pines Charter Jaguars moved to 20 wins and no losses Thursday at the Kissimmee Klassic, winning another pitchers' duel (2-0 over Gulliver Prep). Check the box score here to see how another grind-it-out win played out.
  • In non-tournament softball action, Cooper City's Kara Clauss (7-2) pitched a two-hit, 10-strikeout shutout in a 2-0 win against equally strong St. Thomas Aquinas. With these two teams, Pines Charter, Flanagan and a few others, Broward softball looks pretty strong this year.
  • American Heritage baseball grabbed third Thursday at Palm Beach County's Gary Carter National Grand Slam Tournament, shutting out Wellington 8-0.
  • Speaking of American Heritage, basketball player Kenny Boynton earned a Parade All-American bid for his play during his junior season. Read more here.
  • Broward's first lacrosse district champion is...Pine Crest, whose girls' team downed St. Thomas Aquinas 11-8 on Thursday. The Panthers play Park Vista in next Tuesday's first-round play-in game. The boys' state representative will be decided Friday.

--Patrick Dorsey

April 03, 2008

Tournament update, Thursday edition

As expected, spring break hasn't exactly been a break for many of Broward's baseball and softball teams. Here's a bit of the tournament action that's going on:

  • American Heritage dropped just its second game all season Wednesday, falling to Palm Beach Central in the semifinal of the Gary Carter National Grand Slam tournament. The 17-2 Patriots are in the bracket's consolation game Thursday against Wellington.
  • Undefeated softball power Pembroke Pines Charter goes for another tournament win, this time in Central Florida for the Kissimmee Klassic (which also features Chaminade-Madonna and some teams from Dade). The Jaguars, you might remember, won their own Speedball tournament, then conquered the Nike Faster to First tourney in Orange County, Calif.
  • Speaking of California, Cypress Bay baseball is in San Francisco this week, set to take on Menlo-Atherton (Calif.) High School Thursday afternoon (or evening, technically, with the time difference).

--Patrick Dorsey

April 01, 2008

Tuesday morning roundup

Just a few notes from Broward on this Tuesday...

  • Local baseball powerhouse American Heritage won its opening game Monday at the Gary Carter National Grand Slam tournament up in Palm Beach County, 10-2 against Highlands Christian. Touted slugger Eric Hosmer also apparently won the home-run derby. Check out the bracket here; the Patriots are set to play East Boynton at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
  • On the basketball rankings front: RISE Magazine, MaxPreps.com and USA Today have finalized their 2007-08 boys' basketball top 25s. State 5A champ Dillard stayed at the No. 18 spot in the RISE rankings, but didn't crack the other two lists. In Miami-Dade, USA Today listed Norland as its 24th-best team. As for the Rivals.com top 50, Dillard (No. 21), Norland (No. 38) and Boyd Anderson (No. 41) earned mentions.
  • The first FHSAA district lacrosse tournaments started Monday, and Tuesday competition comes to Broward. The first girls' District 12 semifinal game (at St. Thomas Aquinas) starts at 5 p.m. The boys' District 11 semifinals (at Pine Crest) also begin at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
  • Other baseball tournament action kicked off Monday, with Broward teams playing everywhere from Nova to Tallahassee to Golden Gate. More on that as the tourneys progress, along with softball and other sports.

--Patrick Dorsey

March 27, 2008

Thursday links, and more

Just a few clicks and tidbits of interest from the Broward high schools scene...

  • Parkway Academy's Chelsey Lee (five points on 1-of-3 shooting) and the East lost 80-64 in last night's McDonald's All-American game in Milwaukee, but her future Rutgers teammates don't look too shabby.
  • StudentSportsSoftball.com (partner of Rivals.com) posted a photo gallery from the Southern California-based Nike Faster to First softball tournament, which Pembroke Pines Charter (still undefeated after last night) won earlier this month. Check photos No. 22, 30 and 33 for the Jaguars' celebration shots. There's also a video, but it's not quite George Lucas-level.
  • No surprise: Pines Charter tops the all-class rankings from Wednesday's first Miracle Sports softball poll (posted here by the Orlando Sentinel). Naturally, the Jaguars also rank as 4A's No. 1. Others showing up in the polls: Flanagan (No. 7, 6A), Cooper City (No. 13, 6A), St. Thomas Aquinas (No. 2, 5A -- also No. 9 in all-class), Archbishop McCarthy (No. 14, 4A), American Heritage (No. 2, 3A), Coral Springs Charter (No. 3, 3A), Westminster Christian (No. 5, 2A) and Hollywood Christian (No. 11, 2A).
  • From the old-school files, apparently Chaminade-Madonna football star-turned-Hurricanes linebacker Glenn Cook has been one of UM's standout players this spring. Even better news for Cook: His spring won't be wasted, as he just received a sixth year of eligibility after sitting out last year with a foot injury.
  • Looking ahead: The BCAA track championships are Saturday at Coral Springs, with the prelims having been completed the last two nights. More from Fabian Lyon in Friday's Herald.

--Patrick Dorsey

March 16, 2008

*Update* Pines Charter softball: A win for all of Florida

Pembroke Pines Charter softball coach Tom Fadul, weary from a 3 a.m. wakeup call and a cross-country flight, still found time to make a Sunday declaration:

“I think we put Florida on map and put Pembroke Pines on the map,” Fadul said after his team won the Nike Faster to First Classic in Orange County, Calif.  “All the hype was California this and California that, and it was kind of nice to go out there in their backyard and take it to ’em.”

That the Jaguars did. Pines Charter was the only team from east of Texas in the 26-team field – one that was as deep as the nearby Pacific Ocean.

StudentSportsSoftball.com, which is partnered with Rivals.com and produces national rankings, had 16 of the tournament’s teams in its preseason top 50. Pines Charter was No. 19 – well behind Sacramento’s Sheldon (No. 4), which the Jaguars beat 1-0 in the final.

The Jaguars (now 16-0, and sure to skyrocket in the rankings) also beat No. 12 Hart (Newhall, Calif.), No. 20 El Modena (Orange, Calif.), No. 39 Notre Dame (Belmont, Calif.) and unranked Wilson (Long Beach, Calif.) on their way to the title.

Fadul praised his team – especially his talented senior class – and the field, of which he said “everyone was deep in the lineup and every game was a game.” But he warned not to get too caught up in those rankings.

None looks better, at least on paper, than Pines Charter.

Behind the pitching of Audrey Broyles (who started three games and closed one) and Lauren Sewell (who started the other two), along with some timely hitting in the cold, windy weather, the Jaguars beat El Modena 2-0 Saturday afternoon and Sheldon 1-0 that evening.

Broyles earned the tournament’s MVP award, while Britanie Block, Brianna Chierico, Kandyce Redondo and Cassie Sigler were named to the all-tournament team.

The big picture, beyond what this means for Florida? First, there’s the obvious confidence boost.

But the real benefit: Getting five games of preparation – for the Kissimmee Klassic next month, then districts and state.

Fadul thinks the weekend win did just that.

“They’re very motivated,” he said of his players, “and they’ve got their eyes set on a better prize.”

Results:

Pines Charter 4, Hart 3 (Thursday); WP: Broyles

Pines Charter 6, Notre Dame 2 (Friday); WP: Sewell

Pines Charter 9, Wilson 3 (Friday); WP: Broyles

Pines Charter 2, El Modena 0 (Saturday); WP: Broyles

Pines Charter 1, Sheldon 0 (Saturday); WP: Sewell

--Patrick Dorsey

March 09, 2008

Pines Charter softball looks like team to beat

...or at least after this weekend, when the hosts won the hotly contested Speedball tournament for the third time in five years, dropping Cooper City 4-2 in Saturday's "gold bracket" final.

The Jaguars went 4-0 -- and didn't give up a run until the championship game. They beat Jensen Beach 10-0 and Monsignor Pace 14-0 on Friday, then reached the title game by blanking Space Coast 4-0.

Is a state title next? It's way too early to say, but last year's 6A champ, Everglades, won Speedball. The last two times Pines Charter won -- in 2004 and 2005 -- they took second at state.

Here's a look at the results for the tournament's four brackets, listed by order of finish:

  • Gold Bracket: Pines Charter (4-0), Cooper City (3-1), Space Coast (3-1), American Heritage (1-3)
  • Silver Bracket: Jensen Beach (3-1), Flanagan (3-1), Lake Wales (2-2), Everglades (1-3)
  • Bronze Bracket: Cypress Bay (3-1), Coral Springs Charter (1-3), McArthur (2-2), Monsignor Pace (1-3)
  • Copper Bracket: McCarthy (3-1), Key West (1-3), Florida Christian (1-3), Hollywood Christian (0-4)

--Patrick Dorsey

March 05, 2008

"The best tournament in South Florida"

That's what Tom Fadul called the annual StrikeZone's Speedball softball tournament, which starts Thursday and runs through Saturday.

Sure, Fadul's team (Pembroke Pines Charter) is the tournament's host, so he isn't the most objective of commenters. But looking at the 16 teams in this year's field, it's hard to argue with the Jaguars' coach:

  • Two reigning state champions -- defending Speedball champion Everglades (6A) and Lake Wales (4A)
  • One team bounced in the regional finals last year -- Pines Charter (4A)
  • Five that made the regional semis -- Cooper City (6A), Archbishop McCarthy (4A), American Heritage and Florida Christian (3A) and Hollywood Christian (2A)
  • Three more that made it out of districts -- Monsignor Pace, Key West and Space Coast
  • And then there's Jensen Beach, McArthur, Cypress Bay, Coral Springs Charter and Flanagan -- which is 9-1 and also considered a contender at Speedball.

The tournament also has an interesting format -- instead of a typical 16-team bracket, each pool's teams are seeded 1 through 4. Then all the 1s play in a four-team bracket, as do the 2s, 3s and 4s. The winner of the "No. 1" bracket is declared champion.

Here's the schedule and pool division for the tournament, which kicks off at 4 p.m. Thursday at SilverLakes Park-South with is at 178th Ave. and Pines Blvd. in Pembroke Pines:

  • Pool A: Pembroke Pines Charter, Hollywood Christian, Jensen Beach, Monsignor Pace
  • Pool B: Lake Wales, McArthur, American Heritage, Archbishop McCarthy
  • Pool C: Everglades, Cypress Bay, Space Coast, Key West
  • Pool D: Cooper City, Flanagan, Coral Springs Charter, Florida Christian

Thursday's games: 4 p.m. -- American Heritage-McArthur (field SL-2), Coral Springs Charter-Flanagan (SL-3); 6 p.m. -- Pines Charter-Monsignor Pace (SL-1), Cooper City-Florida Christian (SL-2), Archbishop McCarthy-McArthur (SL-3).

Friday's games: 2 p.m. -- Florida Christian-Flanagan (SL-1), Hollywood Christian-Monsignor Pace (SL-3); 4 p.m. -- Pines Charter-Jensen Beach (SL-1), Lake Wales-American Heritage (SL-2), Key West-Cypress Bay (SL-3); 6 p.m. -- Cooper City-Coral Springs Charter (SL-2), Key West-Everglades (SL-3); 6:30 p.m. -- Space Coast-Cypress Bay (SL-1); 8 p.m. -- Hollywood Christian-Jensen Beach (SL-2), Lake Wales-Archbishop McCarthy (SL-3); 8:30 p.m. -- Space Coast-Everglades (SL-1).

Saturday: Bracket play begins at 8, with a new round set to start every two hours. The No. 1 bracket starts at 2 p.m., with the championship and consolation games beginning at 6.

--Patrick Dorsey