TAMPA — Coming off Thursday’s seventh-inning come-from-behind, walkoff win in the semifinal of the Jesuit Easter Tournament, coach Richie Warren and the Tigers were focused on a avoiding a letdown.
And for Friday’s championship game, Jesuit started strong offensively and on the mound, as the Tigers beat Bishop McLaughlin 10-0 in a five-inning game.
“Before the game we talked about the past two state championships games, coming off a big, emotional win, and then the next day not really coming out so hot,” said catcher Nolan Schultz. “But tonight, we got pumped up, came out hot, Lance threw the ball well, and we right off the bat were just hitting the ball.”
Schultz drove in the final two runs on a single to centerfield, his second hit of the game. The No. 9 hitter for Jesuit (21-1), Ricky Escobar, and leadoff man Vincent Miniet also collected two hits and a pair of RBIs apiece.
The Tigers were also aided by six Hurricane errors and a pitching staff that had worn down as Bishop McLaughlin played its fourth game in as many days. Ace Tanner Koch was scheduled for about 30 pitches, but it took him 47 to get through two innings.
Meanwhile, at the plate, the Hurricanes (16-7) were limited to just one hit by Jesuit ace Lance McCullers, who struck out six and still has a 0.00 ERA through 47 1/3 innings. The Tigers pitching staff as a whole performed well throughout the tournament, which saw Jesuit play four games in four days en route to its fourth title.
“This is tough on pitching, and if you’re able to run four quality starters out there like we did and still have some in the tank,” Warren said of his staff, “it’s just a testament to how deep we are.”