West Orange will take on Orange City's University High at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Conrad Park in DeLand in the Class 9A, Region 1 Final. The contest is a matchup of ace pitchers.
Two teams, two ace pitchers — and just one ticket to jetBlue Park in Fort Myers.
That's the scenario at hand for the West Orange Warriors (26-2) and Orange City's University Titans (24-3-1) as the two programs prepare to meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday evening in DeLand. The Titans, who are the home team according to this season's postseason bracketing, will host the Warriors at Conrad Park in order to play the contest at night.
The stakes are high for both ballclubs — though, perhaps higher for West Orange, which despite its strong tradition has never advanced to state.
Here's what to watch for during tomorrow's big game.
Two pitchers who are no strangers to Major League Baseball scouts clocking their fastballs will take the hill for Tuesday's regional final in West Orange's Tyler Baum and University's Logan Allen.
Allen is the pitcher who, a season ago at this same stage in the regional tournament, upended the then nationally-ranked Olympia Titans' bid to make the Final Four. This season, Allen has just a 0.11 ERA and a 9-0 record. He has struck out 119 batters in 64 innings of work.
Baum, a UNC-signee, has been almost as dominant for the Warriors. Baum has a 7-0 record and has struck out 70 batters in 54 innings of work. Baum's ERA is slightly higher at 2.07.
Edge at the plate
While what takes place between Baum and University's hitters will certainly be important, the duel between Allen and West Orange's lethal lineup figures to be must-see baseball.
The Warriors hold a statistical edge against the Titans so far as offense. West Orange is hitting .363 as a team and has scored 69 more runs this season than University: 229 runs to the Titans' 160 runs.
The Warriors have had a record-setting season so far as the long ball is concerned, with 28 so far this spring.West Orange also has 70 doubles and four triples to its credit for a total of 102 extra-base hits. University, meanwhile, has hit 12 long balls to go along with 47 doubles and five triples; a total of 64 extra-base hits.
If you plan on heading up Interstate 4 to support the Warriors, expect a large crowd for a high school game. A report in the Orlando Sentinel states that 400 people were present for University's regional semifinal win last week and, a year ago against Olympia in the regional final, a crowd of 500 was present in DeLand.