Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Sports

State baseball: Opponent capsules

Class 7A: East Lake (21-8) vs. Kissimmee Osceola (24-6)

When: 7 tonight

Where: JetBlue Park, Fort Myers

Admission: $9; parking is $8.

About Osceola

Nickname: Kowboys

Coach: Scott Birchler (12th season, 193-168).

How it got here: District tournament — beat Harmony 12-0 in the semis; lost 4-0 to Orlando Lake Nona in the final. Region tournament — beat Bartow 7-2; beat Haines City 5-4; beat Sickles 3-0.

State tournament appearances: 1928, 1929, 1953, 1991

State championships: None

Top pitchers: RH Jake Grenus, Jr. (8-1, 1.00 ERA, 52 strikeouts, 56 innings); RH Justin Degrandis, Sr. (5-2, 2.58 ERA, 37 strikeouts, 431/3 innings); RH Pedro Rodriguez, Jr. (5-0, 3.36 ERA, 19 strikeouts, 25 innings).

Top hitters: OF Frank Toro, So. (.412, 19 RBIs, six doubles, four homers); CF Gabriel Pedraza, Sr. (.397); 2B Chris Vasquez, Sr. (.387, 22 RBIs, six doubles, two homers); Justin Degrandis, Sr. (.344, 22 RBIs, four homers)

Common opponent: Orlando Olympia (Both teams lost 10-0).

Noteworthy: Osceola has 14 seniors to East Lake's eight and has hit 16 homers to East Lake's five. Birchler is a 1989 Osceola graduate. He spent eight years at his alma mater before coaching Liberty for four years. Since returning to Osceola in 2011, he is 84-26.

Class 8A: Bloomingdale (20-9) vs. Lake Worth Park Vista (27-3)

When: 1 p.m. today

Where: JetBlue Park, Fort Myers

Admission: $9; parking is $8.

About Park Vista

Nickname: Cobras

Coach: Larry Greenstein (10th season, 219-65)

How it got here: District tournament — beat Santaluces Lantana 9-0 in the semis; beat Boca Raton Spanish River 11-1 in the final. Region tournament — beat Jupiter 6-2, beat Palm Beach Gardens 12-8, beat Parkland Douglas 4-3.

State tournament appearances: 2008, 2009, 2011

State championships: None

Top pitchers: RH Austin Smith, Jr. (10-0, 0.30 ERA); RH Bruce Bechtel, Sr. (5-1, 1.20 ERA)

Top hitters: 2B Dakota Julylia, Jr. (.490, 16 RBIs), SS Matthew Mika, Jr. (.420, 40 runs), 1B Joe Genord, Jr. (.400, team-high two homers, 22 RBIs)

Common opponent: None

Noteworthy: Park Vista is ranked 33rd in MaxPreps' latest national rankings released Tuesday. It has lost two of its three games by a combined three runs (the other by eight), and outscored opponents 668-57. The Cobras gave up just 10 runs over 11 district matchups. They lost to eventual Class 6A champion Alonso in the 2011 state semifinals.

Kelly Parsons and Rodney Page, Times staff writers

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