FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian's special season came to an end Friday night in the Class 3A, Region 3 final, but not before Johnny Chiaramonte launched a shot that nearly kept it alive a little longer.
Sitting on a 2-2 fastball against a fading starting pitcher, the 6-foot-2 sophomore one-hopped a double off the wall in left-center that scored two runs and brought the winning run to the plate.
But Fort Myers Canterbury hung on for the final out to win 4-3 and stop the Warriors (22-8) one win short of the state semifinals in Fort Myers.
"It was a clutch hit, but that's what this team is," said third-year Calvary coach Greg Olsen, whose team reached the region semifinals the past two years before this season's best-ever postseason run. "We're not going to quit. We'll battle you to the last pitch, which we did."
After toppling previously unbeaten Clearwater Central Catholic on Tuesday, 3-0, behind a 127-pitch effort from ace Daniel Broeseker, the Warriors fell behind 3-0 in the second inning.
Calvary answered with one run in the top of the third when junior Jake Rothwell led off with a walk, stole second and scored on senior Ray Hansen's sharp single to center.
Rothwell, Calvary's third pitcher of the night, entered the game with a runner on in the fourth and kept Canterbury (24-5) at bay for two innings before the Cougars squeezed a single through the right side of the infield to make it 4-1 in the bottom of the sixth.
After going down in order in the fifth and sixth innings, Calvary put two runners on in the seventh with walks to Grant McDaniel and Rothwell. Chiaramonte's shot closed the gap to one run, but Canterbury starter Bryan Eberle got the final out to complete a two-hitter.
"As an offense, we've got to do more," Olsen said. "On the pitching and defensive side of the ball we were effective. You can't expect to go out and shut people out every game."
Olsen made no excuses about a night-long tight strike zone.
"That's part of the game. It's on us to adjust," he said. "It was a great year. This is a group I'll always have a special place in my heart for. We're so proud of these guys."