CLEARWATER — What looked like a pitcher’s duel on paper turned into a lopsided game on the field.
Calvary Christian jumped on Jesuit ace Camden Minacci for eight runs in the first two innings and went on to beat the Tigers 12-2 in six innings Tuesday night. The loss snaps the Tigers’ nine-game win streak. The Warriors (18-3) have now won three straight since a 6-5 loss to Clearwater Central Catholic last week.
Minacci entered the game with a 0.00 ERA in 40 innings pitched. That scoreless streak ended after facing three batters. With one out in the first, Vince Smith doubled to right-centerfield. Tommy White followed with an RBI double of his own.
With two outs, Nolan Hudi got an infield single to put two on. Pierce Chambers then hit a long home run to right-center to make it 4-0 early.
“That was very, very big because it started our momentum," Chambers said. “Once that happened we seemed to take off. We came into this game ready."
Things didn’t get any better for the Tigers in the second inning. With two outs and two on, White hit a 3-0 pitch into the leftfield parking lot that made it 7-0.
“I haven’t got 3-0 (green light) all year," White said. “I looked over to (third base coach Greg Olsen) and he just said, ‘Crush it.’ The pitch was middle in and I just took the biggest hack I could. And since it was Jesuit, I was going to pimp it. I gave the slow jog down to first."
Sam Gordon followed White’s homer with a single. He moved to third on an infield error and then scored on a passed ball to increase the lead to 8-0.
That was more than enough runs for Calvary Christian ace Hudi. He pitched six innings and got into trouble only once.
In the third inning, Jesuit (18-3) was able to get some runs on the board. Ethan Valdez got a one-out single. Bennett Lee then hit a two-run homer to right to make it 8-2. But that’s all Hudi would allow.
Mincacci was relieved with two outs in the second inning by Tripp Russo. Russo settled things down and didn’t allow a run until the fourth inning. Then in the sixth inning, the Warriors got three more runs to force the mercy rule.
Dominic Castellano pitched the sixth and gave up a single to White. White ended the game 3-for-4 with a double and the long homer. One out later, pinch-hitter Denzel Drumright doubled home White. Drumright would score on a wild pitch. Then the game was put away when Charles Stevens singled in the 12th run.
“We knew we were going to have to win a low-scoring game and we just didn’t execute," Jesuit coach Miguel Menendez said. “I’m more disappointed that we didn’t play to our ability, which is no disrespect to those guys. We got our butts kicked."