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Class 2A state baseball: Westminster Christian tops Shorecrest 6-0 to claim title

PORT ST. LUCIE — It was not that Shorecrest was bad in Tuesday's Class 2A state championship game.

It was just that Miami Westminster Christian was so good.

The Warriors, the defending 2A state champions, had more power, more big-time experience and more of most other good things.

The Chargers, who were in the state title game for the first time since 1989, tried to keep the score close. But they lacked the big hit, missed scoring opportunities and simply wore down.

With all those pluses on one side and minuses on the other, the final quickly turned in Westminster Christian's favor. The Warriors won 6-0 for their 10th state title, one behind Key West for the most in state history.

"Westminster has a heck of a ballclub," Shorecrest coach Don Reed said. "We battled all the way, but they were just outstanding."

When the Chargers played in the state final in 1989, they beat Westminster.

A repeat performance seemed possible, at least through the first two innings. Shorecrest ace Marc Brakeman used his fastball and curveball with proficiency, keeping the Warriors off-balance and off the scoreboard.

Brakeman allowed just one hit and struck out four in the first two innings.

But Westminster (28-6) is known for producing big numbers. In Monday's state semifinal, the Warriors scored nine runs in the fourth inning of a 13-5 win.

On Tuesday, the big inning came in the third.

Westminster turned a scoreless game into a 4-0 lead, sending eight batters up and getting three hits, including back-to-back triples by Joseph Stuart and Stephen Fernandez.

"We knew from watching them the day before that Westminster could score runs in bunches," Reed said. "They're strong up and down the lineup, and when they get on a roll, they're tough to beat. We did a good job of preventing anything really big, but it was hard to come back after they put up four runs."

Trying to play catch-up, the Chargers struggled offensively against Warriors starter Julian Loret de Mola, who pitched a two-hit shutout and allowed just five baserunners.

"Everything was coming off the end of our bats," Brakeman said. "Their pitcher was very accurate."

Shorecrest (23-9) made contact off Loret de Mola, striking out just three times. But the Chargers' two hits were singles, and they had just three runners in scoring position.

"This is the first game where I felt control of the ball the whole time," Loret de Mola said. "My defense made a lot of plays behind me, and once we got the lead, my confidence went way up."

The Warriors added a run in the fifth and seventh innings.

About the only suspense at the end was whether Westminster slugger David Thompson would break the state record of 20 home runs in a season. Thompson, a sophomore who entered the game with 19, had two hits but never went deep.

"(Shorecrest) kept the ball down a lot more against me," Thompson said.

Westminster Christian moved past Tampa Catholic for the second-most state titles.

"We were just about coming back here and having another crack at winning one," Warriors coach Emil Castellanos said. "There's a lot of tradition here, and we're just one away from tying Key West."

The Chargers, meanwhile, can take solace in knowing that all players but one return next season.

"We'll be back," said Shorecrest sophomore Jason Kiracofe, who pitched the final three innings of relief.

Bob Putnam can be reached at putnam@sptimes.com.

On the Web

Check out all of our state baseball coverage, including game stories and photo galleries, at tampabay.com/hometeam.

Westminster Christian 6

Shorecrest 0

Class 2A state baseball: Westminster Christian tops Shorecrest 6-0 to claim title 05/26/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 1:26am]

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