By Gary Curreri
In two seasons under coach Joe Giummule’s watch, the Pompano Beach High School baseball team has flourished.
The Tornadoes (20-9) were coming off three straight losing seasons following a 13-6 season in 2010-11 under George Petik before Giummule recorded a 14-10 campaign last year and a 20-win season this year. It won the District 14-5A title, in the process snapping a 45-year drought.
“I’d be lying if I said that was exactly how I wrote it up,” said Giummule, whose team reached the Class 5A regional final this season where it fell 9-3 to Monsignor Pace. “I knew we had talent, and a strong senior group returning. Our pitching was extremely young with little varsity experience from the previous year, so we weren’t sure how that was going to go.”
Entering the year, the Tornadoes had only reached the postseason three times in school history. The team last won the Class 2A district title in 1971 when it fell 4-0 to Miami Beach in the regional playoff.
The team won its only postseason contest in 2012 when it defeated Jensen Beach, 6-2, in the Class 5A regional quarterfinal only to lose to eventual state champ American Heritage, 6-3, in the semifinals. Pompano Beach advanced to the regional quarterfinal in 2013, but lost to Jensen Beach in the first round of the playoffs. Ironically, the team has posted back-to-back two victory seasons those two years.
“I would argue that our district is the toughest in the state of Florida,” said Giummule, who compiled a record of 70-38 at Coral Glades and 59-51 at South Broward before moving over to Pompano Beach. “It is definitely the toughest region in the state of Florida. There would be no days off and we had some great and very talented arms, but inexperienced at the varsity level.”
Giummule said the turning point in the season came on March 17 when it trailed host Pine Crest 9-0 in the fifth inning and the Panthers had a runner on third that would have ended the game with the 10-run mercy rule if he had scored. The Tornadoes had lost to Pine Crest 8-0 just 10 days earlier.
“We came back 11-10 and that secured our season,” he said. “We were able to lock up the three seed with that win. Parents were leaving the game and it was on the road. We beat one team with a winning record year and I thought we were headed in the right direction.”
Giummule, 40, of Coral Springs, was pleased that his team was also able to get by Cardinal Gibbons, who beaten the Tornadoes every year since 2003. Pompano beat the Chiefs three times this season. He was able to beat District favorite Somerset twice this season.
The Tornadoes, who graduate six seniors, including three every day starters, will have to replace Bobby Aseere, Nick Marcantonio, and Vinny Costello. Right handed hurler Peyton Trautman, who went 7-0, also graduates.
“Our district was so tough, that we could have lost every game,” Giummule said. “The kid that pitched against us in the regional final is going to be drafted by MLB in one of top three rounds. He was throwing 95 miles-an-hour. Our goal every year moving forward is to win a district championship. It is baseball and anybody can beat anybody in that sport.”