TAMPA — The school with a hyphen in its name put an exclamation point on its season.
Brooks-DeBartolo beat Shorecrest 4-2 on a Friday the 13th that Phoenix fans will never forget. Competing in its first year of postseason play, the four-year school earned a ticket to the Class 2A state tournament.
“We knew once we got (postseason) eligibility, we were going to make something happen,” said coach Donnie Oliver, whose team doesn’t have a homefield.
Brooks-DeBartolo (14-14) made four infield errors and Shorecrest (20-10) scored a pair of unearned runs in the first two innings. But the Phoenix caught good fortune in the fourth when a home-plate umpire’s call changed the momentum.
With one out and no one on, losing pitcher Marc Brakeman hit Javier Reynoso with a pitch for the second consecutive time. The umpire issued a warning on hitting batters. Brakeman followed with a four-pitch walk to Brenden Sires-Rivera and, after a double steal, Torey Jordan’s bad-hop single over the shortstop’s shoulder tied the game.
One out later, Aston Simmons, who reached on a fielder’s choice, took two bases on a wild pitch and scored on another wild pitch to put Brooks-DeBartolo on top for good. Jordan added an RBI single in the sixth.
For Simmons, it was redemption after making two first-inning errors at shortstop.
“I was very nervous at the start of the game,” he said. “(On the second wild pitch), I was just praying to God, ‘Let me get home.’ ”
Reynoso (9-3) struck out 10 in five innings and Adam Eggnatz finished up. They held Shorecrest hitless over the final five innings.
“When the season started, I didn’t know what kind of team we had,” Reynoso said. “But we came out pretty good.”
Shorecrest coach Don Reed, whose Chargers were seeking a repeat visit to the state tournament, said the umpire’s warning changed Brakeman’s strategy.
“It was a big part of the ball game,” Reed said. “(Brakeman) couldn’t work inside anymore, so all the hitters know that and we have to stay away.”