TAMPA — Just one day after it was reported that Jesuit suspended nine players for the rest of the season for violating school policy, the Tigers had to be prepared for a district matchup against Robinson.
A whole lineup was missing Wednesday while six from the junior varsity — Alex Mocny, J.J. Niekro, Michael Sandborn, Nick Perillo, Hunter Tubbs and Steven Lugo — were called up.
Regardless of the shakeup, coach Richie Warren wasn’t worried about his team being ready to compete.
“They were focused and ready to go for the game,” he said. “I’m proud of how they battled. They take pride in the name they wear across their chest. You put a group of guys together like that, usually good things will happen.”
It came slowly for Jesuit, which was held scoreless through five innings. But the Tigers finally strung hits together to beat Robinson 5-3 in eight innings.
Robinson scored in the fourth on centerfielder Darius Autry’s solo home run to left-centerfield. Robinson then put runners on second and third with no outs, but right-hander Ronnie Ramirez got three quick outs — two on strikeouts — to strand them.
Jesuit (13-2, 4-0 5A-9) put three on the board in the sixth on consecutive RBI singles by Danny Lastra, Adam Weekley and Nick Ortega. But Robinson (6-9, 2-2) tied it in the bottom half on T.J. Cole’s two-run double.
Ramirez came up big again in the sixth, stranding Robinson’s go-ahead run on third.
“Ronnie’s a bulldog. He wants the ball in his hands, and he wasn’t coming out of that game,” Warren said of Ramirez, who gave up two earned runs and struck out nine in seven innings. “When you have a guy like him you can give the ball to, we feel pretty confident he’s going to get the job done.”
In the eighth, Weekley doubled and Jacob Mocny and Lugo singled to bring in runs.
As far as Ramirez was concerned, the Tigers didn’t do anything special Wednesday. It was business as usual, he said, and winning reinforced that.
“We didn’t really have any adversity,” he said. “We were ready for practice this week, and we practiced really hard. And we got ready for this game, and it was a good game.”