BOYNTON BEACH - After day 2 of the Florida State Finals annual 16 and under tournament, it is becoming interesting to see the teams that are emerging as favorites. The South Florida Elite Black won a pivotal game against the All American Prospects Red in the morning session lead by LHP and Team USA invitee Ivan Peleaz. Peleaz's velocity was a little down from the 83-86 range I gunned him at last week at JO's, and he sat 80-84, and bumped an 86. The pitchability was still there, however, as Peleaz mixed in a good breaking ball and painted the corners in route to a win.
Another major contender has emerged in the Florida Stars. However, Almendares Baseball may have pulled the upset of the tournament, beating the Stars today and taking a commanding lead over the bracket. The Stars did some damage at JOs, and seemed to have picked up where they left off here in Boynton Beach until their loss today. The Stars have an arsenal of arms at their disposal and may have the deepest pitching staff in the tourney. Brett Jones went on the bump today for the Stars. Jones was 84-86, with a very good slider and changeup. His command came and went, as he walked or hit a batter in each of his first 3 innings. However, Jones steps somewhat across his body, hides the ball wall, has a good pitcher's body and hits his spots on the outside corner. He got plenty of hitters to wave at his slider down and out of the zone for strike 3. The Stars will unleash plenty of other arms this week to keep an eye on and we will continue to follow them closely. John Sternagal is a very interesting prospect at SS, earning some lofty nicknames such as "Chipper" at the tournament. He's made a few plays look easy that were fairly difficult plays at SS.
The PW 16U "Futures" lead by returning state championship coach Leo Dominguez picked up where they left off last year winning their first 2 games of the tournament. Leo is sporting his state championship ring from last year as a good luck charm in his coaches box. The PW 16U appear to be the favorite to win their bracket, but have a key game with Game Time Academy upcoming tomorrow. A loss to Game Time and a win by Ostingers over FDP, would create a 3-way tie, and put a lot of tiebreakers into effect to see who wins the bracket, and if anyone will earn the wild card berth.
The CBC Storm put up 14+ runs in their match in an effort to make sure their tiebreaker status on run differential is in check. Game Time followed with a win by a similar margin over FDP to put themselves back into contention. Speaking of getting back into title contention, the Florida Bombers took a tough loss to the Jacksonville Warriors today, opening up the door for the Florida Pokers 16U White to sneak back into contention. A big game will be played tomorrow between the Warriors and the Pokers, where if the Pokers win, it will create a potential 3-way tie in that bracket.
The Florida Hardballers also got a big win today to get back into the bracket race. CF Jordan Austin may be the best player in the whole tournament. The super-athletic CF ran well and flashed a big arm during the combine. During the games, he has shown a good stroke with near-plus batspeed.
The Jacksonville Warriors and PW 16U both ran wild on the bases today swiping over 5 bags as a team each.
Finally, the Southeast Bluesox started Carson Sands yesterday, one of the more impressive prospects in the tournament. The big lefty has a smooth delivery, a clean arm stroke, and sat 81-83. He will be entering high school and 9th grade next year at North Florida Christian in Tallahassee, FL.
Another great day of baseball at the Santaluces Complex. Check back tomorrow for more updates.