PORT ST. LUCIE — Shorecrest is the epitome of a small-ball team.
The Chargers score runs by doing the little things — bunting, stealing, hitting-and-running, advancing runners with productive outs — that contribute to the manufacturing of runs as opposed to mashing them.
So it was with great joy that the Chargers found out Monday’s Class 2A state semifinal against Jay was delayed 1½ hours because of rain. That meant a wet field, something Shorecrest knew it could take advantage of by making Royals defenders work that much harder to get outs with its style of play.
In the first inning, everything played out perfectly. Shorecrest scored four runs off six hits, five of which were singles. There was one sacrifice bunt and one steal.
It was just enough for the Chargers, who held on for 5-3 victory. Shorecrest (23-8) advances to today’s championship at 4 p.m.
“The first inning was key,” Shorecrest coach Don Reed said. “We wanted to come and put pressure on them. The field was still a little wet and I’m sure there were some jitters for the other team being on the field first.
“Fortunately, everything worked out well for us. It’s huge to have a 4-0 lead before you have to take the field.”
The Chargers, who have hit just two homers as a team all season, got singles from John Rothwell, Brent Rasmussen, Marc Brakeman, Jon Oorlog and Jason Kiracofe in the first inning. Three of those hits resulted in runners beating out throws. The hardest hit came on a double by Tyler Larson.
“We weren’t able to take infield because of the delay and the wet field,” Jay coach Jorey Diamond said. “(Shorecrest) took advantage of the situation. Give credit to them. That’s what good baseball teams do.”
The run support was big for Larson, who started on the mound for the first time since the region quarterfinals May 4. Larson got through a scoreless first inning before allowing two runs in the second.
“I went out there and tried not to be nervous,” Larson said. “I feel like I was locating everything extremely well.”
The Chargers added an insurance run in the fourth inning to make it 5-2. Jay cut it to 5-3 with a run in the sixth.
After that, Brakeman relieved Larson. The only trouble Brakeman encountered was in the seventh when he gave up consecutive singles with two outs. But he got out of that jam by striking out the next batter to end the game.