Saturday, February 24, 2018
Sports

Region baseball: Calvary Christian 3, Orlando First Academy 2

CLEARWATER — Calvary Christian had a season of preparation for Tuesday night.

Within their unblemished 27-0 record, the Warriors won five low-scoring, one-run contests, including a 1-0 tourney battle against Tampa Catholic. So when Calvary's region final with Orlando First Academy came down to the wire — a battle with a Class 4A final four berth in Fort Myers on the line — the hosts didn't crack.

When only a safety squeeze bunt was needed in the sixth inning, senior Marco Benedettini delivered a perfect bunt single down the first-base line. No. 9 batter Richie Mize hustled home from third base with what would be the winning tally in a 3-2 triumph.

"It's the same thing we go over in practice day after day," said Mize, who walked twice and was hit by a pitch, scoring two of the Warriors' three runs. "We watch the ball get down and, fair or foul, we're off. It's instinct."

Grinding out runs paid off for Calvary, which was repetitively stymied by right-handed starter Joseph Charles. The sophomore only gave up one hit — an Eric Kennedy RBI double off the top of the right-centerfield fence in the second, but yielded six walks, one intentional, and a hit batter. But Kennedy worked out of a pair of bases-loaded jams unscathed, stranding eight Warrior runners over four innings.

Classmate Bryce Fisher came in to relieve and Calvary (28-0) responded with another tiebreaking tally in the fifth when Cavan Ingram's looping double down the leftfield line chased home courtesy runner Joseph Lyons, in after starting pitcher Nolan Hudi singled.

Both times Calvary scored, TFA (23-5) responded behind DH Kyle Holden, who singled in a run in the fourth and drew a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch in the sixth.

Hudi, who allowed three hits and fanned nine over six innings, watched with joy as Benedettini delivered his heroics.

"I'd say gassed is a good word to use," Hudi said of some struggles in his final frame. "It made things challenging but our defense always picks me up."

Then the Warriors received its ultimate lift when closer Graham Hoffman, 10 days removed from appendix surgery, worked the seventh. The senior gave up a Kendrick Calilao walk but didn't allow the tying run any closer than first base.

"I didn't throw at all during my time off and I think the rest did me good," said Hoffman. "I thought I'd feel something (bad afterward) but I feel great. It was my last game on this field and I can't imagine a better ending."

And with the state semifinals looming, coach Greg Olsen said, "We just have to be consistent, make sure our preparation is strong. The guys know that if they value practice as they should, we can hit the field and have some fun."

Calvary Christian plays at 7 p.m. next Friday in the state semifinals at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.

Comments
That guy standing by Cash in the dugout? All part of Rays’ plan

That guy standing by Cash in the dugout? All part of Rays’ plan

Jonathan ErlichmanFor a moment Friday, it looked as if a young businessman, accountant or computer guy had won one of those charity auctions to spend a game in uniform in the Rays dugout.Actually, it was Rays analytics director Jonathan Erlichman, a ...
Updated: 15 minutes ago
Practice makes perfect for Gasparilla 5K champions

Practice makes perfect for Gasparilla 5K champions

TAMPA — The only other time Taylor McDowell ran the Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic 5K, he came in 10th place. So as this year's event neared, the Tampa resident created a training plan, and he stuck to it.McDowell, who competed in cross cou...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Northeast High alumnus Jon Mott wins 3rd Gasparilla 15K crown

Northeast High alumnus Jon Mott wins 3rd Gasparilla 15K crown

TAMPA — Roughly 20 minutes into Saturday morning's Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic 15K, reigning champ A.J. Richmond glanced over his left shoulder to former college teammate Jon Mott and flashed a quick hand signal."He was telling me that t...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Ondrej Palat skating, likely mid-March return

Ondrej Palat skating, likely mid-March return

It is an encouraging sign for the Lightning that wing Ondrej Palat is back on the ice, even if it's just light skating.Palat is arguably the team's best two-way forward, someone who plays in all situations, so Tampa Bay has missed him big-time.But Pa...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Pregnant mother Paige Howard wins women’s Gasparilla 15K

Pregnant mother Paige Howard wins women’s Gasparilla 15K

TAMPA — Initially, Tampa's Paige Howard was a little reticent about joining the pre-dawn throng at the starting line of Saturday's Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic 15K.On a morning when temperatures began in the mid-60s and climbed, Howard's ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
For starters: Back to back starts for Duffy as Rays face Red Sox, 1:05

For starters: Back to back starts for Duffy as Rays face Red Sox, 1:05

UPDATE, 11:36: Manager Kevin Cash said the plan is to play Duffy on back to back days a couple times early in spring, believing the short bursts of activity will best help him build up after missing all of 2017. … Matt Andriese will come out of...
Updated: 6 hours ago
The truth about the Tampa Bay Rays’ reset

The truth about the Tampa Bay Rays’ reset

The Tampa Bay Rays are not going to be very good this year.We already knew that.They have gutted a team that won 80 games last season. Among those sent packing: Evan Longoria, Corey Dickerson, Jake Odorizzi and team MVP Steven Souza Jr.Yeah, this thi...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rays spring training info: Saturday at Red Sox, 1:05

Rays spring training info: Saturday at Red Sox, 1:05

Rays Saturday scheduleAt Red Sox1:05, JetBlue Park, 11500 Fenway South Drive, Fort MyersPitchers: Rays – RH Jake Faria, RH Matt Andriese, RH Dustin McGowan, LH Ryan Yarbrough, RF Chaz Roe, LH Jose Alvarado, RH Evan Scribner, RH Jose Mujica; Red...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Marlins treat Stoneman Douglas players to an afternoon of baseball

Marlins treat Stoneman Douglas players to an afternoon of baseball

BY CLARK SPENCERMiami HeraldJUPITER – A player for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School baseball team politely asked Marlins outfielder Monte Harrison if he would mind giving him a bat as a souvenir."Not only will I give you one of my bats,...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Aaron Boone gets a new view, win in spring training debut

Aaron Boone gets a new view, win in spring training debut

TAMPA  — Aaron Boone walked to home plate for his first game as a manager at any level and was greeted by Detroit's Ron Gardenhire, a 60-year-old baseball lifer back in charge of a big-league team for the first time in four years."I told h...
Updated: 11 hours ago