Former Dr. Krop (Miami) standout Garrett Wittels has solidified his place as one of the top collegiate baseball players of all time. Wittels, a sophomore infielder at Florida International University, helped lead the Panthers to a 36-25 record and a berth in the NCAA Regional baseball tournament.
On Saturday, Wittels became the first Panther in FIU history to record 100 hits in a season and ended his sophomore campaign on a 56-game hitting streak, second all-time in Division I. The Panthers’ season ended on Saturday after a 15-9 loss to Dartmouth in the regional but that will not affect Wittels’ streak. For now, Wittels stands two hits shy of Robin Ventura’s all-time Division I record of 58 consecutive games with a hit while at Oklahoma State, set in 1987. He will have a chance to break Ventura’s record next season.
Along with Ventura, Wittels joins former Yankee great and Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio, who also had a 56-game hit streak in 1941 for the Yankees, as the only players to reach the milestone either in Division I or Major League Baseball.
Wittels' 100-hit season broke Ken Adderly's FIU record (98) set in 1986. He also finished the year batting .413 with 47 runs, 21 doubles and 61 RBI.
When asked how he felt about the accomplishment, Wittels told the Miami Herald, "I think my brain needs a little bit of relaxing. I’ve thought about [the streak] a lot, going out there and playing every single day. It will just make us hungrier next year, all throughout the summer and the fall and early on in the spring."
Regional prep standouts prepare for the pros
Manny MacHado, Nick Castellanos, Luke Jackson and Alex Gonzalez represented Florida’s south region in Major League Baseball’s 2010 Amateur Draft on Monday.
Machado (6-foot-2, 180 pounds) was selected third overall by the Baltimore Orioles after having one of the most dominant seasons of any player in the country while at Brito High School (Miami). The skilled shortstop, who also plays third base, hit .639 with 12 home runs and 56 RBI in his senior season at Brito and has been widely compared to New York Yankees all-star and former Westminster Christian standout Alex Rodriguez.
Like Rodriguez, Machado has hired Scott Boras as an agent and, despite his commitment to Florida International University, will most likely go pro. Machado has always been known as a beast in the batter’s box, especially after leading Team USA to a gold medal in the Pan-American Junior Championships last summer in Venezuela.
Castellanos, the reigning Gatorade Florida Player of the Year, was selected by the Detroit Tigers with the 44th overall pick in the draft and became the highest Broward County high school player drafted since former American Heritage (Plantation) star Eric Hosmer was taken with the third overall pick in the 2008 draft by Kansas City. The standout third baseman hit .542 with 41 RBI, 34 runs, 22 stolen bases and six home runs, while leading Archbishop McCarthy to the Class 4A state championship in his senior season. Like Machado, Castellanos (6-4, 205) was also instrumental in leading team USA to a gold medal last summer and now, despite committing to the University of Miami, will have a chance to prove his worth on a professional level.
Luke Jackson, a pitcher for Calvary Christian (Fort Lauderdale), was selected by the Texas Rangers with the 45th pick in the draft. Jackson, who also signed with Miami, finished the season with an 8-1 record, a 0.90 ERA and 96 strikeouts.
Gonzalez, a pitcher at Boca Raton High, was selected by the Baltimore Orioles with the 328th pick in the 11th round. Gonzalez, an Oral Roberts signee, was instrumental for Boca Raton after striking out 69 batters in 65 innings, going 4-6 with a 2.48 ERA during his senior season. Along with Gonzalez, who was selected on the second day of the draft, Highlands Christian shortstop Kevin Moesquit was selected by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the 17th round and St. Thomas Aquinas catcher Luke Guarnaccia was taken by the Seattle Mariners in the 21st round.
Parkway Academy’s athletic program penalized
The Parkway Academy (Miramar) athletic program was fined $260,800 by the FHSAA (Florida High School Athletic Association), the largest fine given to a school in state history, after the state confirmed Parkway had committed numerous violations, including multiple counts of student-athlete ineligibility. Along with the fine, Parkway will also be on a five-year postseason ban for all its programs. Following an investigation that began in the 2008-09 school year, the state found 32 specific violations of FHSAA laws.