Posted: 12:00 p.m. Thursday, June 5, 2014

Austin Smith, Park Vista, Post large schools baseball player of the year


Large Schools Baseball Player of the Year — Austin Smith, Park Vista photo
Park Vista High School junior Austin Smith is the 2014 All-Area Large Schools Player of the Year. Smith was both a pitcher and outfielder. (Damon Higgins / The Palm Beach Post)

By Anthony Chiang

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Austin Smith is not only one of the best pitchers in Palm Beach County, he’s always one of the best hitters in the area.

The Park Vista junior turned in a stellar season, leading the Cobras to their first state tournament berth since 2011 with a 12-1 record on the mound and a .425 average at the plate.

“He’s just a very talented athlete,” Park Vista coach Larry Greenstein said. “You can probably put him in any sport and he would be very good at it. Once he puts his mind to something, there’s not much he hasn’t succeeded at on the field.”

Smith dominated all season, allowing just four earned runs in 77 2/3 innings to post a 0.36 ERA. The Florida Atlantic-commit was also tied for third on the team with 20 RBIs.

In college, Smith expects to focus on pitching.

“I’ve always been both,” Smith said of a pitcher and a position player. “I used to be a shortstop, but pitching really kicked in and it’s something I enjoy doing. I think I’m a better pitcher. I’m more dominant as a pitcher and it’s something I’ve been doing my whole life.”

The 6-foot-4 right-hander does not blow away batters with heat, instead pounding the strike zone with a combination of pitches (fastball, curveball and changeup) that keep hitters off-balance.

“At the next level, I see him as a pitcher,” Greenstein said. “He’s able to throw three different pitches for strikes and he doesn’t like to lose. He makes batters work for it and he rarely gives in.”

Smith’s competitiveness carries over to the practice field, too.

“I go home and I just keep practicing,” Smith said. “I work hard to get better.”

First Team

JJ Schwarz, Palm Beach Gardens, Sr., Catcher: Florida commit batted .337 with seven home runs and a team-high 35 RBIs.

Pavin Smith, Palm Beach Gardens, Sr., Infielder: Virginia commit led the Gators with a .395 batting average and recorded seven home runs.

Matthew Mika, Park Vista, Jr., Infield: Speedster who tallied 49 stolen bases to go along with a .435 batting average.

Jarren Pinkney, Atlantic, Sr., Infield: Led the Eagles to a district title with a team-high seven home runs and 41 RBIs.

Joe Genord, Park Vista, Jr., Infield: Finished with a .387 batting average and a team-high 26 RBIs in the middle of a potent Cobras’ lineup.

Duke Stunkel, Dwyer, Sr., Outfidle: 6-foot-4 FAU signee hit .408 with 25 RBIs and 10 stolen bases.

Jake Summey, Wellington, Sr., Outfield: Palm Beach Atlantic-commit batted .420 with two home runs and 13 stolen bases.

Bradley Busch, West Boca Raton, Sr., Outfield: Disciplined batter who hit .370 with 22 RBIs and 16 walks.

Angelo Dovas, West Boca Raton, Sr., Utility: All-around threat who finished with a .380 batting average and an 0.61 ERA in 46 innings.

Tom Szapucki, Dwyer, Jr., Pitcher: Florida-commit finished with a 0.74 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 40 innings.

Sean Gabel, West Boca Raton, Sr., Pitcher: Bulls ace posted 7-1 record with a 0.66 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 53 innings.

Shane Sawczak, Palm Beach Central, Sr., Pitcher: Coastal Carolina-commit dominated a tough district with a 1.57 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 58 innings.

Coach of the Year

Larry Greenstein, Park Vista

Led the Cobras (26-4) to a district title and their first state tournament since 2011, recording his 400th career win along the way.

Second Team

Tyler Barre, Park Vista, Senior, C

Mack Lemieux, Jupiter, Junior, IF

Brian Brooker, Dwyer, Senior, IF

Chris Busch, West Boca Raton, Junior, IF

Dakota Julylia, Park Vista, Junior, IF

Nick Horvath, Palm Beach Gardens, Senior, OF

Jacob Koos, Wellington, Junior, OF

Connor Webb, Dwyer, Junior, OF

Fenway Parks, Spanish River, Senior, UT

Colton Rendon, Dwyer, Sophomore, P

Spencer Stockton, Wellington, Senior, P

Lance Fry, Jupiter, Senior, P

Honorable Mention

Atlantic: Alex Cordes, Nicholas Cortese, George Engroff, Stefan Leclerc, Joey Ohannesian; Boca Raton: Michael Amditis, Austin Schultz, Mike Spooner; Boynton Beach: Ian Acevado, Victor Hughes, Brandon McCabe, Kyle Tedesco; Dwyer: Alex Morales, Alex Neher, Shane Olive, Hunter Whitman; Forest Hill: Manny Bejerano, Raymond Sanchez; John I. Leonard: Jorge Reyes, Jorge Rivera; Jupiter: Kevin Fry, Logan Heiser; Lake Worth: Chase Forrest; Olympic Heights: Casey Furnas, Ian Robbins; Palm Beach Central: Gabe Hernandez, Kyle Giragos, Manny Morales; Palm Beach Gardens: Tanner Hurley, Sendle Jean, Caleb Perez, Hunter Sanicky; Park Vista: Bruce Bechtel, Joey Iannacone, Nyle Newland; Royal Palm Beach: Jameel Edney, Brandon Hernandez, Brandon Houk, Kyle Houck, Sean Malynn, Triston McKenzie; Santaluces: Joseph Strzelecki, Troy Steele, Justin Tworek, Jonathan Wake; Seminole Ridge: Alex Aristy, Carmine Cioffoletti, Mark Kuhner, Tyler Murley; Spanish River: Anthony Acino, Devon Bard, Chui Slootsky, Sam White; Wellington: Danny Bigtree, Erik Wiebke; West Boca Raton: Ricardo Gonzalez, Koby Pepia, Joe White.


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