Tuesday, January 23, 2018

District baseball: Robinson, Jesuit to meet in final

TAMPA — After Robinson lost its first two games to Jesuit by a combined three runs, the Knights will get one more shot at the perennial powerhouse Tigers.

Robinson blew out Spoto 8-0, and Jesuit gave coach Richie Warren his 200th career victory with a 13-0 win over Middleton in five innings in Tuesday's Class 5A, District 9 semifinals. That sets up a showdown Thursday at Jesuit for the championship.

"We've played them tough, but they're a good team," Knights coach Kevin McCray said. "That's why they ended up finding a way to win in those games."

Robinson (9-14) cruised to its third consecutive playoff appearance behind a strong performance from right-hander Patrick Kiszla. The 6-foot-3 junior started jittery, allowing two of his four hits in the first two innings. His 5 2/3 shutout innings featured six strikeouts and only two walks.

"He was a little erratic in the first couple innings …but then he settled down," McCray said. "He started hitting with his off-speed pitches and got ahead."

His Knights followed suit. Two throwing errors brought Shawn Herron home in the second before Robinson broke the game open with a five-run third inning.

The Knights opened the inning with five consecutive hits, including a two-run single by Charlie Cole and Ricardo Montero's double off the leftfield wall that brought home two more runs.

Brandon Camargo was one of the bright spots for Spoto (3-22) after recording two of his team's seven hits.

Jesuit (19-6) dominated the late game against winless Middleton to qualify for its 13th playoff appearance since 2000.

Pitchers Kasey Radke, JJ Niekro and Steven Owusu combined to strike out 12 of the 18 batters they faced, with Kameron Lewis collecting Middleton's only hit. Junior Kennie Taylor knocked in six runs, with three coming on a first-inning home run.

Jesuit celebrated Warren's milestone victory with a blue and white cake afterward.

"Great coaches and a lot of great players," Warren said.

4A-10: Crusaders move on with ease

Freshman outfielder Jordan Butler helped lead Tampa Catholic to a region berth, hitting a two-run double in the Crusaders' 7-0 district semifinal win against Sarasota Booker.

Aside from Butler's big hits, coach Ty Griffin said his team took advantage of walks and passed balls to get ahead early. Junior right-hander Reeves Martin got the win for Tampa Catholic, giving up two hits in six innings pitched.

The Crusaders (16-8, 4-2) will meet Berkeley Prep (14-12, 4-3) in Thursday's district final. The top-seeded Bucs beat Tampa Catholic both times the teams met this season, each time by a single run.

"We've just got to come up with some big hits," Griffin said. "I think both coaches expect it to be a pitcher's battle."

2A-7: Lancers romp

Cambridge Christian beat Academy at the Lakes 14-2 in its district semifinal, earning the right to play Bayshore Christian for the district title on Thursday.

Sophomore catcher Devin Lopez led the Lancers, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs, two doubles and two runs scored. Six of nine Cambridge Christian starters recorded at least one hit, and the Lancers combined for seven.

Bayshore Christian and Cambridge Christian split when the teams met in the regular season, with the Faith Warriors taking the first game 10-5 and the Lancers winning the second, 8-7.

Staff writer Kelly Parsons contributed to this report.

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