Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Hometeam

Baseball: Dunedin makes it four straight region finals

DUNEDIN — For a team with such a rich history of success, it's hard to imagine there's something Dunedin hasn't accomplished.

As a 12-time region champion, the Falcons have never played in four straight region finals. That is, until this year.

Playing Lake Wales for the third straight season at Dunedin Stadium on a humid Tuesday night, the experienced host squad applied just enough pressure to crack the Highlanders. With starting pitcher Tyler Vogel dialed in over the final three innings, Dunedin pulled away for a come-from-behind 5-2 victory in the Class 6A region semifinals.

And next up for the 19-10 Falcons is a Tuesday date at Barron Collier as the Naples school pulled out a lightning-delayed 4-3 decision over Cape Coral Mariner.

That opportunity, as well as Dunedin's two-game win streak over Lake Wales (24-7), seemed in jeopardy when the visitors countered Lake Fisher's two-out RBI single in the bottom of the third inning with two big runs of their own in the fourth.

But Vogel, who had allowed multiple runners In two of the first four innings he worked, buckled down.

"I really trust my defense, my catcher (Tyler Bews) has been calling great games since I was a freshman," the senior ace said. "It's very cool to see how we've grown."

Backed by a slickly-turned double play in the second inning and an athletic catch by first baseman Jonathan Hubbard that shut down Lake Wales' fourth-inning rally, Vogel (four hits, three walks, two hit batters and two strikeouts) gave the offense a chance to shine by allowing just two base runners over the final three frames.

The reward to Dunedin's season-long attention to detail came in the fifth. Brock Cunningham flared an opposite-field base hit to left, then stole second. Ray Sass laid down such a perfect bunt to third base that he reached with a single and stole second without a throw.

Lake Wales coach Don Bridges brought in lefty Ben Gilbert to face a scuffling Chris Johnson, but the leadoff batter drove a 1-2 offering through a drawn-in infield and up the middle for a two-run single.

"With no outs, runners on, I've just got to get the ball in play. Get it through and my guys are going to score," Johnson said.

"We work on situational hitting in our batting practice rounds," Dunedin head coach Ron Sexton said. "Hit-and-run, bunting. … I'm really proud to see that two-strike approach play out with some clutch hitting, especially in the postseason."

Dunedin added some insurance in the sixth when Marcus Brodil (two hits) singled, went to third on a throwing error and scored on Tristan Morton's hit.

With another shot at a region title, and possibly a return to the state final four, Vogel expressed pride at being the pitcher that got Dunedin to this opportunity.

"It feels amazing. It's honestly like a dream come true," Vogel said. "I became a full-time pitcher when I was in ninth grade, and to see where I've come. … It's awesome to see."

Comments
State softball: Admiral Farragut happy to be in title game this time around

State softball: Admiral Farragut happy to be in title game this time around

VERO BEACH — All season, Admiral Farragut has focused on two things:Believe in each other.Commit to the process.Well, it all paid off in a big way Monday in the Class 3A state semifinals at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach.Alyssa Rano hit a two-run ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
State softball: Academy at the Lakes romps in long-awaited semifinal

State softball: Academy at the Lakes romps in long-awaited semifinal

VERO BEACH — On a day when the weather at the state softball tournament finally said yes, Academy at the Lakes pitcher Alexis Kilfoyl said no to Lake Worth Christian.The hard-throwing right-hander fired a no-hitter in a Class 2A semifinal Monday morn...
Updated: 9 hours ago
State softball: Scouting the Land O’Lakes vs. Clay semifinal

State softball: Scouting the Land O’Lakes vs. Clay semifinal

Land O’Lakes (24-6) vs. Clay (18-12)When/where: 11:05 a.m. Tuesday at Historic Dodgertown, Vero BeachHow they got thereLand O'Lakes defeated Robinson 4-2, defeated River Ridge 5-0, defeated Crystal River 3-0Clay defeated Paxson 4-1, defeated Ri...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Softball: Scouting the Admiral Farragut vs. John Carroll semifinal

Softball: Scouting the Admiral Farragut vs. John Carroll semifinal

Admiral Farragut (17-5) vs. John Carroll Catholic (11-11)When/where: 4:50 p.m. Monday at Historic Dodgertown, Vero BeachHow they got hereAdmiral Farragut defeated Naples St. John Neumann 17-0; defeated Bradenton St. Stephen's 3-1John Carrol...
Published: 05/21/18
Softball: Scouting the Academy at the Lakes vs. Lake Worth Christian semifinal

Softball: Scouting the Academy at the Lakes vs. Lake Worth Christian semifinal

Academy at the Lakes (24-4) vs. Lake Worth Christian (10-3)Where: 11:50 a.m. Monday at Historic Dodgertown, Vero BeachHow they got thereAcademy at the Lakes defeated Seacrest Country Day 11-1, defeated Canterbury 5-1Lake Worth Christian defeated...
Published: 05/20/18

Four takeaways from the Bishop McLaughlin-Carrollwood Day spring game

SHADY HILLS — Despite penalties hindering the offense’s momentum, Carrollwood Day utilized its passing game to get out of sticky situations in Saturday afternoon’s 27-8 spring game win over Bishop McLaughlin. Three of the Patriots’ four touchdowns ca...
Published: 05/19/18
Five takeaways from the River Ridge-East Lake spring game

Five takeaways from the River Ridge-East Lake spring game

EAST LAKE — There were a lot of new faces on both sides of the ball for River Ridge and East Lake in Friday's spring game. The Royal Knights bid farewell to 15 seniors. The Eagles graduated 35 players.East Lake moved the ball efficiently and th...
Published: 05/19/18

Five takeaways from the Jesuit-Gibbs spring game

ST. PETERSBURG — With most of Jesuit's top players a year older, coach Matt Thompson expects growth and improvement after last year's 6-5 season. Gibbs struggled to a 2-8 record in 2017, but coach Antonio Knox believes this is a crucial season ...
Published: 05/18/18

Five takeaways from the Osceola-Seminole spring game

SEMINOLE — In a rivalry so nice they play each other twice, Seminole held a solid advantage on both sides of the ball and cruised to a 23-0 victory over host Osceola on Friday night. Here are five things we learned from this neig...
Published: 05/18/18

Five takeaways from the Hernando-Sunlake spring game

LAND O'LAKES — It's not too often that both teams are happy with the outcome of any sporting event, much less a football game. But this was the case in Sunlake's 7-0 victory over Hernando in the teams' spring football finale Friday at Sunlake. ...
Published: 05/18/18