Post baseball large schools player of the year: James Jean, Palm Beach Gardens
Friday, June 08, 2012
by Matt Porter
The powers that be in high school sports couldn't quiet James Jean's bat.
Despite new bat regulations that sapped home run totals all across the country, Jean's power showed throughout his senior season. The Palm Beach Gardens slugger hit a county-best six homers during the regular season, and tacked on another during Gardens' run to the state semifinals, the program's first state appearance since 2005. Jean was the most dangerous bat in the lineup of a team that surpassed expectations.
Jean led the county in RBI (32) while batting .337. He was a designated hitter and played strong defense in right field and at first base. He also is a capable catcher. But it was his leadership that helped pull the Gators out of an early-season funk and put them on the path to states.
"Coaches were looking for leaders," Jean said. "At the beginning of the season I was kind of one. But I got tired of losing. I had to make something happen. I would not let us get down under any circumstances."
Jean was named a captain, and then went on a midseason tear. In March, he hit three homers in the Florida League Invitational in Samford, a tournament the Gators won as Jean was named Most Valuable Player.
After that, the Gators fought through the ultra-competitive District 9-8A tournament, emerging with a runner-up spot. In the regionals, they defeated Park Vista in 11 innings - Jean's late-inning sacrifice bunt helped get the go-ahead run home - and upended rival Dwyer before beating Pembroke Pines-West Broward to earn the fourth state berth in the program's 40-plus-year history.
"I'm very proud of what our team was able to do," Jean said. "We went out there with one goal, and that was to make it to states."
LARGE SCHOOLS FIRST TEAM
West Boca Raton
Unparalleled leader and defensive catcher hit .500 during the regular season. Committed to LSU.
Palm Beach Central
Florida signee hit .329 with three homers, six doubles and 23 RBI. Will play catcher in college.
Strong defensive shortstop hit .370 during the regular season. Signed to Penn State.
Southern Miss.-bound power bat and corner infielder hit .494 with four homers and 20 RBI.
Expert contact hitter finished with .388 average and played outstanding shortstop. Will play at Palm Beach State.
Florida state commit hit .386, stole 11 bases and covered every inch of center field.
Royal Palm Beach
University of Miami-bound leadoff man was speedy catalyst who hit .411 with 30 steals.
Daytona State commit helped pitch (1.79 ERA) and hit (.352 average) the Eagles to Class 7A states.
Royal Palm Beach
Went 10-1 with a 1.01 ERA and 79 strikeouts, pitching Wildcats to District 13-7A title.
Strikeout machine had area-best 118 while going 8-3 with a 1.72 ERA. Also hit .431.
Palm Beach Gardens
Rubber-armed righty led Gardens to Class 8A state semifinals, earning two regional playoff wins.
FAU-bound lefty went 11-1 with an 0.64 ERA and 90 strikeouts. Allowed 1 unearned run over last 42 innings.
IF: Robbie Coman, Park Vista, Sr.
IF: Jean Cancio, Palm Beach Gardens, Sr.
IF: Hunter Hope, Dwyer, Sr.
IF: Peter Rivera, Wellington, Sr.
IF/ Hunter Kyzar, Santaluces, Sr.
OF: Bradley Emery, Dwyer, Sr.
OF: Gabe Martinez, Palm Beach Central, Sr.
OF: Pat Walther, Jupiter, Jr.
UTIL: Chris Wurster, Park Vista, Sr.
P: Sam Bergida, Atlantic, Sr.
P: Cheyne Bickel, Dwyer, Jr.
P: Matt Warren, West Boca Raton, Sr.
Atlantic: Kyle Blank, Bobby Bourque, Cody Bryant, Jesse Kieffer, Brad Myott, Joey Ohannesian; Boca Raton: Sean Gallagher, Chris Sheehan, Mike Smiciklas; Boynton Beach: Ryan Tedesco; Dwyer: Patrick Pinak, Duke Stunkel, Tom Szapucki; Forest Hill: Dylan Barahona, Jose Crespo, Ryan Mahoney, Brayan Ofarrill; John I. Leonard: Noel Canete, Eddy Morel; Jupiter: Callahan Brown, Lance Fry, Victor Gonzalez, Ronnie Healy, Cole Johnson, Kyle Keatts, John McCarthy, Peter Sitaras, David Tavilla; Okeechobee: Brad Coleman, Kutter Crawford, Tyler Finney, Dalton Murray; Olympic Heights: David Berger, Eli Weldy; Palm Beach Central: Jorge Alfonso, Ian Hagenmiller, Danny Hernandez, Gage Morey, Shawn Murray, John Padich, Joe Shue, Lance Stiles; Palm Beach Gardens: Zion Bell, Brooks de Montluzin, Nick Oberg, J.J. Schwarz, Pavin Smith, Matt Williams; Palm Beach Lakes: Greg Hester; Park Vista: Trey Amburgey, Shane Bussey, Jason Defelice, Brett Lashley, Matt Paciello; Royal Palm Beach: Kyle Houck, Jordan Lauginiger, Dakota Mitchell, Joseph Sleek; Santaluces: Ernie Cabrera, Zack Salvidar, Peter Strzelecki, Dominic Teresi, Doug Wright; Seminole Ridge: Trent Bellamy; Spanish River: Ryan Berger, Mike Chambers, Spencer Diaz, Emerson Dresser, Cody Meyer; Suncoast: Jack Granger, Troy Hoecker; Wellington: David Koos, Jared Tosner; West Boca Raton: Sean Gabel, Ryan Owens, Koby Pepia, Thomas Stallone.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Steve Wilson, Atlantic
Led Eagles (22-8) to Class 7A state semifinals, team's first state appearance since 1988.