The baseball team earned a 6-2 win in the regional final against George Jenkins on Tuesday, May 23, advancing to the state semifinals for the second year in a row.
“We have worked really hard all year to get to this point,” outfielder Brian Ellis said. “We’ve played well as a team, [and] we’re back [in states].”
In a tight game through the first two innings, both teams were scoreless. However, the momentum built up at the bottom of the third as Ellis and designated hitter Riley Greene scored the first two runs off of third baseman Cameron Alba’s two-RBI double, making the score 2-0.
The team showed no sign of slowing down as shortstop Vaughn Grissom hit a RBI single allowing for first baseman Britt Crawford to score the third run of the inning. Later Grissom scored off of catcher Steve Markowitz’s line drive, drawing a close to the inning with the team up 4-0.
George Jenkins began to catch up in the top of the fifth, making it 4-2, then in the bottom of the inning a pitch went over the catcher’s head as second baseman Zak Grabbe took a risk and stole home.
“I was just listening to my coach — I did what he said to do and I trusted in him, and it worked out,” Grabbe said. “You just have to trust in the system.”
Pitcher Bailey Wendell came in at relief in the top of the sixth for starting pitcher Josh Allen and threw three strikeouts to secure the win with two scoreless innings for George Jenkins. Combined, the pitchers had a total of four strikeouts.
Going into the semifinal game against Sarasota on Friday, June 2 at CenturyLink Sports Complex in Fort Meyers, the team and coaches feel confident.
“We still have work to do, but we have played our best baseball at the end of the year,” head coach Matt Cleveland said. “If we play good baseball, then we have a good chance to win.”