Pompano reaches state for first time in school history

Posted on 25 May 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

First, came the final out on a strikeout by Pompano Beach High School junior Trevor Kniskern. Then there was the perfectly executed back flip by the 5 ft., 11 in., 170-pounder off the mound, followed by the dog pile and pure pandemonium.

Kniskern, a Pepperdine University commit, helped the Tornadoes (24-3) to their 11th consecutive victory and its first appearance at the Class 5A state tournament in school history as he tossed a 3-hit, complete game 9-0 Region 4-5A finals win over host Monsignor Pace (24-6) on Tuesday night.

Kniskern struck out six and improved to 11-0 on the season, and avenged a regional final loss to Pace last season.

Pompano Beach coach Joe Giummule said the victory was huge for the program.

Last year was the first time in 55 years, since the school won a district championship, and Pace dog piled on our field after they won the regional final, and today we got to return the favor,” Giummule said. “I don’t think it matters who you are or what team, the wins are all huge when you get to go to states.”

Monsignor Pace, winners of five state titles, lost in the Class 5A state championship game last season, 1-0 in nine innings to Jacksonville Bolles, Pompano’s next opponent. The Tornadoes will play play Bolles in the state semifinals on May 31 at 10 a.m. at Centurylink Sports Complex in Fort Myers.

After four scoreless innings, Pompano Beach junior Christopher Ajello doubled with one out, Kniskern followed with a single and junior Chase Costello pounced on a 0-1 pitch from Pace starter Manuel Rodriguez for a three-run home run to center to stake the Tornadoes to a 3-0 lead.

Pompano Beach extended the lead to 4-0 on a bases-loaded walk to Costello and then padded the lead to 7-0 on a three-run fielding error on senior Austin Carney’s fly ball to center-left in the sixth and junior Michael Schuler added an exclamation point, with a two-run single. Ajello led the way by going 2-for-2 with two runs, while junior Matt Stephenson was 2-for-4.

We made the plays and they didn’t,” Giummule added. “We have relied on pitching and defense and from 1 to 20 the kids have all bought in. This may not be the most talented team I have ever coached, but it has the best chemistry.”

The win was the first in four regional games as a coach for Giummule, who lost last year as a head coach and also fell in 2002 as an assistant coach with Deerfield Beach and in 2001 as an assistant at Taravella. He reached the state tournament in 1994 with Coconut Creek, but lost to Sarasota.

If we can continue to get pitching and defense I think we have a shot,” Giummule said, “that’s what wins championships.”

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