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Grenadiers to get shot at first title

COLONIAL 6, OVIEDO 4: Mistakes help the Grenadiers take a lead. Then they hold off a late Lions rally.

In a nip and tuck battle between two Central Florida teams that know each other well, it was the little things that made the difference.

A seeing-eye grounder here, a wild pitch there.

That's all that separated Orlando Colonial and Oviedo in their Class 6A state semifinal at Legends Field, but it was enough to produce a 6-4 Colonial win.

Colonial (29-5), which has never won a state title, will make its third appearance in a state final at 7 tonight against South Miami. The win stopped a 19-game Oviedo winning streak.

This was a game of big plays and of big mistakes. Colonial made the plays. Oviedo made the mistakes.

"Losing a game like that was tough," Oviedo shortstop Justin Holmes said. "We gave it away. They're a good team, but we gave it away."

Oviedo's mistakes?

Try seven walks, five wild pitches and an error. It even had two runners thrown out trying to steal second.

Colonial turned the game in its favor during a four-run sixth inning in which it managed just two hits. Thanks to Oviedo, that's all the Grenadiers needed.

In the inning, Colonial took advantage of four walks and four wild pitches, two of which produced runs. Chad Ecklund and Chris Reed drove in runs, Ecklund on a single to center and Reed on a fielder's choice.

By the time the damage was done, Colonial led 6-2 and Oviedo starter Jered Goodwin (8-2) had been chased.

Oviedo (28-4) went quietly in the bottom half of the inning but rallied to make things interesting in the seventh.

With one out, Jason Wolfe ripped a two-run home run off Colonial starter Chris Reed (11-1) to leftfield to make it 6-4.

Reed got out No. 2 but then gave up consecutive singles.

"We were going to live and die with Chris," Colonial coach Scott Grove said. "He's been outstanding all year."

With runners at the corners, Reed (11-1) forced a fly to right that Eddie Loaiza chased down to end the game. Reed allowed 10 hits but struck out seven while walking two.

"The first six innings went good," Reed said.

"The seventh, God, I just fought and gave it all I had."

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