1. Archive

Central Florida rivals to meet for Class 6A championship // APOPKA 6, CORAL PARK 3

Published Jul. 6, 2006

Kris Sutton gave Miami Coral Park his version of a roundhouse right.

Sutton, who pitches from a three-quarter arm position, limited the Rams to six hits and sent Apopka into its first championship game.

"(Sutton's) velocity and movement were there early and the ball was sinking on us," Coral Park coach Jose Novas said.

Sutton held the Rams to three hits through six innings before tiring at the end. Coral Park, which has come from behind to win 12 times this year, mounted a rally in the last two innings, scoring all four runs. But Sutton (12-0) stranded the tying run on first in the seventh when Irain Gonzalez flew out to left.

"I kept taking one step forward and two steps back," Apopka coach Sonny Wise said when asked if he thought of pulling Sutton. "But I was not going to take my best pitcher out of the game. Besides he kept waving me back into the dugout any time I took a step forward."

The bottom of the order came through for Apopka. Larry Turnage (2-for-3, three RBI), the No. 8 hitter, and Nick Kingery (2-for-3, run, RBI), No. 9, each had two-out run-scoring singles.

Rams starter Oscar Farach (8-5) was chased in the fifth after hitting consecutive batters to force in a run.

Turnage, who entered the game with a .203 average, delivered the biggest hit with a two-out bases-loaded single in the fifth to give Sutton a 6-0 cushion.

"I knew I just had to get a hit for the team," Turnage said. "Our bats had been struggling and I have been struggling (at the plate). I surprised myself today. I have been working out in the batting cages and it finally paid off."

Coral Park rallied after making some adjustments. A Gonzalez double scored two in the sixth and a Reynold Fuentes double ignited a two-run seventh.

"We moved up in the box to take away some of the sinking motion on the ball," Novas said. "We caught up to him late in the game. We just ran out of time."