Baseball: Putting a bow on Hillsborough's season

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Fri. May 25, 2012 | Laura Keeley | Email

Baseball: Putting a bow on Hillsborough's season

When Tampa Prep’s Chance Rodriguez struck out in the seventh inning of the Class 3A semifinals, baseball season officially ended in Hillsborough County. While there were no state champions this year, there were plenty of memorable performances along the way.

Seven memorable moments
Feb. 8:
The deans of Hillsborough County baseball — Gaither’s Frank Permuy, Steinbrenner’s John Crumbley, Jefferson’s Pop Cuesta and King’s Jim Macaluso — convened at Gaither to kick off the season with the Old-Timer’s Preseason Classic. Among the four, they have well over 100 years of coaching experience (Crumbley is the spring chicken, starting at Jesuit in 1984) and more than 2,200 combined wins. The four teams went a combined 70-32 (.686) on the year.

March 16: With a 5-3 win over Bloomingdale, Jefferson was crowned Saladino champion for the second time in the tournament’s 32-year history. Senior pitcher Jimmy Herget was named the MVP for the second consecutive year (only the third repeat winner) after throwing a one-hitter in the semifinals and driving in the go-ahead run with an RBI double in the final.

March 27: Never in the three-year history of Strawberry Crest had the Chargers defeated Jefferson. But a month after losing 12-2 to the Dragons, Strawberry Crest earned its first win in the series with a 2-0 victory. Senior Wes Carter threw a three-hitter (interestingly enough, Herget threw a one-hitter for Jefferson), and Paul John Roundtree scored the deciding run on a wild pitch.

April 12: In a game with playoff-like intensity, Jesuit and Los Angeles Loyola were tied 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh when the Cubs intentionally walked two batters to load the bases and bring up Lance McCullers. That was a first for the potential first-round MLB draft pick, and he made Loyola pay with a walkoff single to right. At that point, Jesuit, ranked No. 1 in the country, was in the midst of an 18-game win streak.

April 13: After five tries, Brandon finally beat a team from Class 8A, District 7 with a 4-1 win at Wharton. Eric Hinostroza and Chris Toney combined to throw a two-hitter, and the duo would give up a combined two earned runs over the next month.

April 25: Only a handful of teams held a lead against Jesuit this season, and just two were from Hillsborough County: Tampa Catholic (which led 1-0 for a half inning when Dre Leal stole home after advancing to third on a passed ball Feb. 25), and 5-18 Middleton, which used similar small ball techniques to take a 2-1 lead in the third that vanished in the next half inning. Jesuit went on to win 12-2.

May 11: Nick Adams and Durin O’Linger were Tampa Prep’s aces on the mound throughout the season, but both came up with big hits in the Terrapins’ 10-6 Class 3A region final win over Winter Park Trinity Prep. O’Linger hit a two-run home run in the third inning while Adams was on the mound, and then in the sixth it was Adams with the three-run blast as O’Linger was on in relief. The ensuing victory gave Tampa Prep its first trip to the state tournament.

Seven memorable performances
Steinbrenner P Cole Gordon vs. Chamberlain, Feb. 28:
In just his second varsity appearance on the mound, Gordon tossed a seven-inning no-hitter in a 10-0 win. Gordon, a sophomore, faced just two batters more than the minimum (one walk, one hit batter) and struck out 13.

Jesuit P Lance McCullers vs. Spoto, March 23: McCullers went five innings against Tampa Catholic on Feb. 25 without surrendering a hit, but his start against Spoto represents his one complete no-hitter on the year. The hard-throwing right-hander struck out 12 of the 17 batters he faced in a five-inning, 14-0 win.

Plant 3B/1B Pete Alonso vs. Newsome, March 27: One week after the Wolves bounced Plant from the Saladino, Alonso went 2-for-3 with two home runs, four RBIs and two runs scored as Plant got its revenge in an 8-2 win.

Wharton SS Tuck Neuhaus vs. Plant, March 30: Neuhaus had arguably the Web gem of the year when he snagged a second-inning line drive to start a 6-4-3 triple play in a 3-0 win against Plant. And in the first, he gave the Wildcats all the runs they needed with a two-run triple.

Riverview P Dylan Drawdy vs. Hillsborough, April 24: In a win-or-go-home district semifinal, Drawdy struck out a season-high 15 and allowed just three hits in a 6-3 win over the Terriers. Offensively, Drawdy went 2-for-4 with a double and a triple.

Wharton P Collin Woody vs. Alonso, April 24: Woody did it all for Wharton as it eliminated the defending state champion in the 8A-7 district semifinal. He pitched an eight-inning, complete-game shutout, giving up just four hits while striking out 12. And in the top of the eighth, he hit a two-run double.

Sickles P Corey Johnson vs. Jefferson, April 25: Johnson, who entered the game having pitched only 20 1/3 innings on the year, threw a three-hitter in a 3-1 win over Jefferson in the biggest playoff upset in the county. Jefferson went home, and sub-.500 Sickles advanced to the 6A-11 district final.

Final statistics
Batting

(minimum 47 at-bats)
Player, school    AB    H    BA
Z. Hessinger, Cam    77    44    .571
C. Campbell, CDS    63    31    .492
D. Sicardo, CDS    74    36    .486
P. Alonso, Plant    68    33    .485
T. Robertson, Cam    52    25    .481
J. Keigher, Fre    63    30    .476
C. Smith, PC    53    25    .472
J. Safe, Hil    68    31    .456
R. Martin, Blo    73    32    .438
B. Rivera, B-D    80    35    .438
J. Bracamonte, Alo    70    30    .429
N. Schultz, Jes    84    36    .429
V. Miniet, Jes    70    30    .429
T. Jarrell, TP    85    36    .424
K. Barnum, King    72    30    .417
B. Whiteside, Rob  77   32    .416
I. Lynch, King    71    29    .408
S. Garcia, PC    49    20    .408
R. Brushwood, SC    49    20    .408
T. Jones, Hil    67    27    .403
D. Johnson, Hil    67    27    .403

Home runs
7: R. Valdes (Alo); 6: M. Beermann (Jes), P. Alonso (Plant), T. Neuhaus (Wha); 5: K. Barnum  (King), S. Ramsey (Ste), L. Helms (TC), P. Russo (TC); 4: M. Frey (Gai), T. Jones (Hil), R. Escobar (Jes), A. Chacon (Jes), G. Bautista (Ste), R. Zak (Straw), C. Woody (Wha); 3: J. Ambrosino (Blo), J. Purcell (Cam), N. Eicholtz (Cam), D. McCall (Mid), J. Rose (Riv), D. Drawdy (Riv), D. O'Linger (TP); 2: D. Richards (Bay), H. Gonzalez (Bay), R. Anderson (Bra), L. Calvo (B-D), Z. Hessinger (Cam), L. Gilcrease (Cam), T. Danish (Dur), L. Saile (Jes), L. McCullers (Jes), V. Miniet (Jes), K. Tucker (Plant), C. Gauthier (Riv), Z. Sabo (Rob), C. Johnson (Sic), C. Chatfield (Spo), J. Molina (Straw), T. Cherry (Straw), J. Burruezo (TC), N. Adams (TP)

RBIs
32: N. Schultz (Jes); 30: B. Rivera (B-D); 29: O. Mercado (Gai); 27: J. Lopez (B-D), N. Eicholtz (Cam), A. Chacon (Jes); 26: D. Richards (Bay), L. Cusic (Mid); 25: J. Purcell (Cam); 24: R. Escobar (Jes), P. Alonso (Pla); 23: Z. Hessinger (Cam), J. Berroth (Cam), A. Clement (CDS), M. Frey (Gai), J. Safe (Hil), P. Russo (TC); 22: H. Gonzalez (Bay), D. Bosnic (BP), A. Gionis (CDS), D. O'Linger (TP); 21: R. Anderson (Bra), D. Sicardo (CDS), J. Gonzalez (Gai), T. Jones (Hil), L. McCullers (Jes), D. McCall (Mid), C. Gordon (Ste), L. Helms (TC), C. Woody (Wha); 20: J. Keigher (Fre), M. Beermann (Jes), G. Bautista (Ste), T. Jarrell (TP)

Stolen bases
25: C. Smith (PC); 22: R. Perdomo (B-D); 21: R. Martin (Blo), P. Roundtree (Straw); 19: B. Mondoux (PC), S. Machonis (Sic); 18: E. Courtney (Bay); 17: D. Johnson (Hil); 16: H. Gonzalez (Bay); 15: R. Valdes (Alo), E. Schindler (Fre), E. Dowse (New); 14: C. Brown (Bay), B. Olivera (BP), B. Gladbach (Blo), T. Jones (Hil); 13: J. Bracamonte (Alo), E. Striker (Arm), T. Hopps (B-D), T. Danish (Dur), J. Lopez (Jef), B. Whiteside (Rob), T. Richardson (SC), S. Pinol (TBT); 12: N. Kelly (Bay), J. Martin (Bay), T. Raymond (Bra), B. Wilborn (Bra), M. Rivera-Martinez (Cha), O. Mercado (Gai)

Pitching
(minimum 30 innings)
Player, school    IP    W-L    ERA
L. McCullers, Jes    13-0    77.1    0.18
N. Eicholtz, Cam    35.2    3-1    0.39
T. Oest, Dur    73    9-3    0.48
S. Trayner, Jes    30.1    6-0    0.69
J. Kilichowski, Jes    33.2    4-0    0.83
C. Toney, Bra    84.1    11-1    0.91
J. Herget, Jef    54    6-3    0.91
C. Gordon, Ste    36.2    6-1    0.95
B. Morales, King    49.1    6-1    0.99
D. Drawdy, Riv    61.2    8-2    1.02
T. Thompson, BP    51.1    5-1    1.09
C. Olmstead, Jef    57    7-1    1.23
T. Danish, Dur    39.2    4-2    1.24
J. Pupo, Leto    46.1    6-1    1.36
M. Sanders, Pla    43.2    4-3    1.44
M. Lemons, Straw    55.1    4-2    1.52
C. Crouse, Blo    67.1    8-2    1.56
C. Fowler, Dur    31.1    2-2    1.56
E. Hinostroza, Bra    57.1    5-2    1.59
E. Gainey, Gai    77.2    7-4    1.62
C. Williams, Ste    54.2    7-0    1.66
S. Rubin, Wha    80.1    6-4    1.66
N. Hahn, Alo    51.2    3-3    1.76
W. Carter, Straw    61.1    6-4    1.83
W. Ranson, TP    34.1    1-0    1.83
Z. Hessinger, Cam    34    6-0    1.85
C. Woody, Wha    79    9-2    1.86
N. Rodriguez, PC    32.1    2-0    1.95
M. O’Malley, King    42    3-4    2.00

Strikeouts
140: L. McCullers (Jes); 92: C. Miranda-Carr (Leto); 90: D. Drawdy (Riv); 87: T. Oest (Dur); 85: C. Toney (Bra); 83: D. O'Liner (TP); 81: E. Gainey (Gai); 80: J. Herget (Jef) 77: S. Jeffcoat (B-D), C. Woody (Wha); 71: W. Carter (Straw); 65: M. Lemons (Straw) 64: J. Jenkins (Rob); 62: N. Adams (TP); 60: C. Olmstead (Jef), T. Thompson (BP), S. Rubin (Wha); 58: B. Morales (King); 56: C. Crouse (Blo); 53: N. Eicholtz  (Cam), D. Sicardo (CDS), C. Gordon (Ste); 52: M. Sanders (Pla), C. Williams (Ste); 51: N. Hahn (Alo); 48: K. Schindler (Fre); 47: E. Hinostroza (Bra), M. Mullins (Cam), T. Danish (Dur), J. Kilichowski (Jes); 45: T. Peterson (PC); 44: A. Milne (Gai); 42: J. Diaz (EB), B. Caples (King)

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