American Heritage, Dwyer, Jupiter, Trinity Christian eye state return

Feb 18, 2018
Trinity Christian celebrates its second consecutive Class 2A state high school baseball championship in Fort Myers in May 2017.

Spring soon will be here, and you can tell because high school baseball season is beginning across Palm Beach County Monday.

Last year, four Palm Beach County teams made to Fort Myers for the state playoffs. One, Trinity Christian, came back with hardware.

Here’s a look at whether those four teams can make it back:

American Heritage: The Stallions might have the best chance of any team in the county to win a championship. American Heritage made it to the state semis before falling to Clearwater-Calvary Christian 7-1. The Stallions’ biggest strength is their pitching staff, and most of those pitchers are back with another year of experience. Nelson Berkwich (5-1, three saves, 1.24 ERA) and Ben Vespi (5-3, 1.75 ERA) are going into their sophomore years. Junior Carmine Lane (5-2, 1.14 ERA), the veteran of the staff, also returns. Berkwich and Lane were first-team All-Area picks last year, while Vespi was a second-teamer.

Dwyer: The Panthers’ season ended in Fort Myers with a 2-1 loss to Ponte Vedra Beach-Nease. That was the last high school game for many of the team’s key standouts, including pitchers Justin Allintoff, Jack Iervolino and Shane Roberts as well as hitters Dylan Arcadipane, Myles Colangelo and Kyle Khachadourian. Two of those players were first-team All-Area picks, and two more were honorable mentions. That doesn’t mean the Panthers are devoid of talent, though. Danny Lynch and Charlie Von Werne were two of the team’s top hitters and they return. The team will need new contributors to step up this season, especially on the pitcher’s mound.

Jupiter: The Warriors graduated a supremely talented group of seniors. From the lineup, Reese Albert (.313, three homers, 29 RBIs; now at Florida State), Mason Doolittle (.281, three homers, 27 RBIs; now at Palm Beach State) and Anthony Servideo (.436, 10 extra-base hits, 15 steals; now at Ole Miss) were all first-team All-Area picks. Key contributors Tyler Ward, Andrew Martinez and Noah Otero-Vargas also graduated, as did key starting pitcher Zach Chivers. Jupiter will rely on role players from last year, such as infielder Dakota Gaillard and Ricky Clark, as well as burgeoning stars Mitchell Hartigan (Florida Atlantic commit) and Jake Garland (Miami commit) to fill the void left by last year’s seniors.

Trinity Christian: Based on recent history, the Warriors have the best chance to win a state title. After all, they’ve won the Class 2A title the last two seasons. Trinity Christian returns maybe the biggest bat in the county, reigning Small Schools Offensive Player of the Year Angel Tiburcio, who hit .440 with seven home runs last season. He’s joined in the lineup by shortstop and first-team pick Kaeber Rog (.416, 13 doubles, three triples and a home run) and second-team infielder B.J. Murray (.321, two home runs). Tiburcio also starred in the rotation, going 4-1 with two saves and a 2.08 ERA in 13 games, and he is joined by Jorge Zambrano (5-1, three saves, 1.04 ERA) at the top of the rotation.