District baseball: Bishop McLaughlin 6, Lakeland Santa Fe Catholic 0
Three years ago, Jeff Swymer took the reins of the Bishop McLaughlin baseball team. Saturday, the ’Canes hoisted their third straight district championship trophy after blanking visiting Lakeland Santa Fe Catholic 6-0 for the Class 3A, District 4 title.
“This is why I do it, to see these kids be successful,” Swymer said. “These kids do everything they can to make it work and that’s a reflection of this coaching staff.”
Senior Carson Ragsdale improved to 8-2 on the season with a dominant outing both on the mound and at the plate. Ragsdale went seven complete innings, striking out six, scattering three hits, while not yielding a run or issuing a walk. Ragsdale, who went 3-for-3 with a walk and three RBIs, got the offense rolling with an RBI single in the first inning to drive in Paul Coumoulos, who’d doubled just prior.
Then the ’Canes had a big fourth inning.
Cam Diaz led it off with a single, Chris Cigarran walked, then Keegan Powers reached on a bunt single to load the bases with no outs. Santa Fe starting pitcher Jacob Barton walked in one run, then Eli Corcoran was brought into a tough situation. The situation got even tougher as Swymer called a suicide squeeze with Zack Berglund at the plate and Cigarran at third.
“I knew if (Berglund) didn’t get it down we would be in trouble,” Cigarran said. “The pitcher wasn’t looking at me at all, so I took a bigger lead than I normally would and then I saw him slow his (throwing) motion down.”
Berglund got the bunt down, scored Cigarran and even made it safely to first. The ’Canes (21-6) added one more run to take 4-0 lead into the fifth inning.
In the sixth, Bishop got a couple of great defensive stops when Berglund at shortstop chased down a tricky pop fly in shallow left and nearly doubled up the runner at first. Then second baseman Jacob Rodriguez made a diving stop of a hot grounder and tossed to Berglund for the force out.
In the top seventh, the ’Canes wavered ever so slightly as a couple of throwing errors from Berglund put runners on first and second with two outs. Berglund redeemed himself on the next pitch as catcher Dillon Morton’s throw to second on a steal sailed wide of the bag. Berglund dove past the bag, snagged the ball and made the tag, all in one motion to strand a runner and end the game.
“It was a great feeling to make that last tag,” Berglund said. “Great situation to be in.”
Berglund, out of the nine-hole, was 2-for-2, reaching once on an error and hitting a double in his last at-bat.
The ’Canes will face Maitland’s Orangewood Christian in Thursday’s region semifinals.