Saturday, May 26, 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
Rays trade closer Alex Colome, outfielder Denard Span to Mariners

Rays trade closer Alex Colome, outfielder Denard Span to Mariners

ST. PETERSBURG – In January, sure.In July, absolutely.But, now?And, once again, for someone who they hope helps in the future.The Rays made a shocking trade at a surprising time of year Friday, dealing All-Star closer Alex Colome and Tampa...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Andre Dawson’s new and sometimes awkward career: funeral home owner

Andre Dawson’s new and sometimes awkward career: funeral home owner

By DAVE HYDESun Sentinel (TNS)The first time Andre Dawson drove a hearse, he turned to the woman in the casket and said, completely serious, "I'll do my best to make sure this isn't bumpy."The first time he told Hall of Fame baseball friends Tim Rain...
Published: 05/25/18
Rays journal: Rays shut out by Orioles in opener

Rays journal: Rays shut out by Orioles in opener

By Joey JohnstonTimes CorrespondentST. PETERSBURG — Rays LHP Ryan Yarbrough deserved better Friday. But the offense didn't offer much, allowing the Orioles to escape with a 2-0 victory before an announced crowd of 11,354 at Tropicana Field."It ...
Published: 05/25/18
Steve Yzerman’s summer plans: Make the Lightning better

Steve Yzerman’s summer plans: Make the Lightning better

TAMPA — Captain Steven Stamkos said the Lightning's window for contending for a Stanley Cup championship is not closing."I think it's wide open," he said Thursday, one day after the Lightning lost Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final to the C...
Published: 05/25/18
The Bucs’ influence inside the Vegas Golden Knights’ runaway success

The Bucs’ influence inside the Vegas Golden Knights’ runaway success

The Stanley Cup final begins Monday in the unlikeliest of places: a city new to major pro sports and suddenly the center of the hockey world, Las Vegas, whose Golden Knights could become the first first-year expansion team to win a championship.And t...
Published: 05/25/18
Did the NFL really need a national anthem policy?

Did the NFL really need a national anthem policy?

Before we even get going, let me be clear about something.This is not a column making an argument about whether or not NFL players should be able to kneel in protest during the national anthem.That topic has been debated repeatedly, loudly and passio...
Published: 05/25/18
Rays trade Alex Colome and Denard Span to Mariners for prospects

Rays trade Alex Colome and Denard Span to Mariners for prospects

The Rays made a major trade Friday afternoon, sending All-Star closer Alex Colome and OF Denard Span to the Mariners.The return is two minor-leaguers, RHP Andrew Moore and RHP Tommy Romero. The Rays also sent cash to the Mariners.Span, a Tampa produc...
Published: 05/25/18
Stand down on anthem, NFL

Stand down on anthem, NFL

Before we even get going, let me be clear about something.This is not a column making an argument about whether or not NFL players should be able to kneel in protest during the national anthem.That topic has been debated repeatedly, loudly and passio...
Published: 05/25/18
For starters: Sergio Romo on mound tonight as Rays open series against Orioles

For starters: Sergio Romo on mound tonight as Rays open series against Orioles

By JOEY JOHNSTONTimes CorrespondentST. PETERSBURG — For openers, the Rays will use RHP Sergio Romo, the 35-year-old career reliever, as tonight's starter against the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field.Romo is making his third career "sta...
Published: 05/25/18
Bucs’ Gerald McCoy welcomes Vita Vea to his rookie school

Bucs’ Gerald McCoy welcomes Vita Vea to his rookie school

TAMPA — Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has always been generous with his time, staying after practice to work with younger players. That should be a real added benefit for first-round pick Vita Vea.RELATED: More Bucs coverage"That's my M.O.'' Mc...
Published: 05/25/18