SARASOTA — Cambridge Christian's dominating Class A state semifinal win Monday gave Lancers ace Michael Miller two things — one more high school start and 30 more minutes until bedtime Monday night.
With Cambridge comfortably ahead by 11 runs in the third inning of its 18-0 thumping of Deltona Trinity Catholic at Ed Smith Stadium, coach Rick Shears pulled Miller, the Lancers' unquestioned senior ace, after facing just seven batters and throwing 27 pitches to save him for one more outing.
Miller (10-1, 0.96 ERA), who allowed one hit in two innings, will start this afternoon's 4 p.m. state final against Jacksonville Eagle's View, Shears said after Monday's game. He had originally planned to start sophomore Matt Fishman, another 10-1 pitcher whom he can now use in relief.
Miller gives Cambridge its best opportunity to win against the Warriors, the defending Class A champs who have won state titles two of the past three years and own wins this season over Class 5A champion Dunedin and Class 6A national heavyweight Sarasota. Cambridge scouted Eagle View's 9-2 semifinal win over Miami Brito Private.
"We know they're a good team, but so are we," Shears said. "We're just going to play. It's already been decided by the man upstairs."
The Lancers, representing the small Christian school of 192 students, planned to celebrate with a postgame movie, then stay at a local hotel Monday night. Shears said lights out was at 11 p.m. That's when Miller, sitting in the corner of the room, perked up.
"Eleven?" the usually-stoic Miller asked and smiled. "That's 30 minutes extra," thinking that bedtime was 10:30 instead.
Regardless of the time, the Lancers are looking forward to their championship date.
"We'll go to bed at 10:30, and nobody has a problem with that," junior shortstop Trent Tagliarini said. "We're looking forward to getting down to business and playing baseball."