FORT MYERS — Since Miami Westwood Christian senior pitcher Danny Garcia was making his final high school start Wednesday afternoon in a Class 2A state semifinal, Warriors coach Luis Padron wanted to give his ace every opportunity to go out with a bang.
“We talked before the game and decided we were going to let him throw up to 100 pitches,” Padron said.
That was bad news for Cambridge Christian as Garcia fired a complete-game shutout — striking out 12 batters and allowing just four hits — as Westwood ended the Lancers’ season with a 4-0 victory at JetBlue Park. He threw 98 pitches.
“Offensively, we just couldn’t get it going today,” Cambridge coach Sam Marsonek said. “(Garcia) did a good job of staying aggressive and going right at our guys. We just couldn’t make any adjustments.”
Garcia, a University of Miami signee who figures to be selected in the MLB draft in June, outpitched Cambridge’s Nick Eicholtz despite Eicholtz not allowing any earned runs.
Eicholtz, who has signed with Alabama, struck out eight batters and allowed just three hits over five innings but hit three batters and walked two.
He did not get an abundance of help from his defense as the Lancers (16-10) committed four errors in the field. All four of Westwood’s runs were unearned.
“I guess it just wasn’t our day,” Eicholtz said. “I got in a bunch of situations that I shouldn’t have been in by hitting people. I should have been more aggressive in the strike zone.
“I battled out there, but there was just too many people on base.”
Zach Hessinger was the only Lancer hitter who could consistently figure out Garcia. Hessinger was 3-for-3 with two doubles and was the only Cambridge player to reach second base. Henry Mesa had Cambridge’s only other hit.
“(Garcia) was staying aggressive with his fastball and going in and out,” Marsonek said. “Overall, the kids continued to fight until the end. They did a good job of staying composed and battling through adverse situations.”
The Warriors (16-7) scored two runs in the first inning on one hit thanks to two Lancer errors. Westwood added a run in the third on a wild pitch, and its final run in the fifth inning came on after a passed ball.
“We battled all game but we made a couple mistakes physically that cost us the game,” Marsonek said.
Westwood will take on Deltona Trinity Christian in the Class 2A state championship at 7:35 tonight.