Baseball wins Husky Challenge, looking for more


photo by Sharon Sheridan

Catcher Robby Post in his first at-bat of the year. Post would lead the team in hits through the tournement.

The stands of the baseball field were lined with students, family and major league scouts on Feb. 25 as the sixth annual Husky Challenge began, Timber Creek, Deland, Dr. Phillips, Bishop Moore and Lake Mary all vying for a hot start to their regular season.

Hagerty found their hot start with a 2-1 record and a come-from-behind 10-9 victory against Bishop Moore to win the tournament.

In the two-bracket system, bracket A consisted of Hagerty, Deland and Timber Creek. All teams went 1-1 in first round play, but Hagerty advanced to the championship game on March 1st due to run differential, outscoring Deland and Timber Creek.

“I think our offense looked good in the first two games and we did a better job of playing defense,” head coach Matt Cleveland said.

Starting pitcher Angelo Garcia started the game on the mound, but was taken out of the game with two strikeouts through two innings after a lightning delay, relieved by fellow starter Luke Babineau.

Shortstop Vaughn Grissom took to the mound to close the game by pitching two strikeouts and giving up no hits in the last two innings.

Throughout the tournament, catcher Robby Post led the team at the plate with seven hits and six RBI’s, and third baseman Jackson Grabsky added to the offense with five hits and five RBI’s.

Prior to the championship, the team opened their tournament with a 7-5 loss against Timber Creek, but then beat Deland by mercy rule which propelled them to the championship game.

“The first game we were a little antsy, but after that we got into a groove and were doing what we do best,” first baseman Ryan Carroll said.

With big league scouts watching throughout the week, Grissom did not feel any of the pressure.

“I love the pressure of when we are put in big situations,” Grissom said. “Going from the field to the mound knowing that I’m giving my team a chance to win, they are going to get my best.”

As the team looks forward, Cleveland is aware of the capability for his team this year, but still recognizes the path to get to the playoffs.

“We are capable of winning a lot of games, capable of going deep in the playoffs, but capable doesn’t guarantee anything,” Cleveland said.

Grissom and the team are all looking for a state championship after getting to the regional finals last year.

“We have been working all year knowing that it is our last chance to get a ring,” Babineau said. “We have a special group of guys and we are ready to prove that.”

The team opens district play on the road against Winter Springs tonight at 7 p.m.

2/25-3/1 Plate Appearances Hits Walks Runs RBI’s Strikeouts Batting average
Austin Cymerman 11 0 3 0 0 3 .000
Hector Mangual 6 2 2 2 2 2 .500
Jackson Grabsky 12 5 1 1 5 1 .455
Luke Babineau 4 0 1 0 1 0 .000
Riley Greene 13 4 1 4 0 4 .333
Robby Post 13 7 3 0 6 0 .700
Ryan Carroll 11 4 1 1 4 2 .500
Sam Spicuzza 10 2 1 1 1 4 .222
Trey Bradley 13 4 2 6 2 3 .364
Vaughn Grissom 13 5 4 8 4 0 .556