BRANDON — As one of the hardest hit balls of the night sped toward Bloomingdale first baseman Garrett Lorenzo, time, from his perspective, seemed to slow down.
“It was just one of those moments where everything went in slow motion,” he said.
With runners on second and third in the top of the sixth and his team trailing by one run Wednesday, Durant shortstop Tyler Danish hit a line drive that appeared destined for the rightfield grass. But Lorenzo leaped up and speared it out of the air for the third out, and Bloomingdale preserved its 3-2 win over Durant in the Saladino Tournament quarterfinals. The Bulls (12-1) play Wharton, the only team to beat them this year, in tonight’s semifinal.
Lorenzo started the season as Bloomingdale’s designated hitter but was forced into the field when Justin Ambrosino, who was leading the Bulls in hitting, was dismissed from the team at the beginning of the month. Once Lorenzo was able to clear his mind, he made the game-saving catch.
“It’s pretty crazy, actually, I don’t even know how I caught it,” he said, noting that he was thinking too much at the beginning of the game. “When you don’t think in baseball, you play a lot better.”
The Bulls started with three straight hits and came out of the first inning with two runs. Bloomingdale added another in the second on second baseman Nolan Schrenker’s second hit, a single to left. Durant pitcher Trey Oest, a Virginia commit, didn’t give up another hit in his complete-game effort.
“I thought that was going to be key for us, to put pressure on him early,” Bloomingdale coach Kris Wilken said. “The more you let Trey get settled in, the better he gets, and you saw that right there.”
Durant (8-3) scored its runs in the fifth inning when Danish, a Florida commit, and Eric Swartz led off with back-to-back singles and came around to score on a fielder’s choice and passed ball, respectively. The Cougars recorded only one other hit off Bloomingdale starter Sean Moore in his 52/3 innings, and Austin Wilson came on in the sixth to retire Danish — thanks to Lorenzo’s defensive gem — and shut down Durant’s two, three and four hitters in the seventh.
The earlier quarterfinal between Wharton and Steinbrenner, meanwhile, featured baserunners galore. The Wildcats (10-3) worked the depths of the Steinbrenner bullpen for 13 walks and scored three runs in the sixth inning despite recording no hits to come back for the 5-4 victory.
After loading the bases in the first three innings, Steinbrenner (7-6) trailed by a 2-0 margin and scored two runs in the fourth on a Cole Gordon double and two more in the fifth for the 4-2 lead. Wharton’s comeback was catalyzed by a hit batter, three four-pitch walks and two fielding errors.