Eustis Panthers 11
Westfield Bulldogs 10
Day 3 of the FHSI started off with a bang, as Eustis and Westfield put 21 runs on the board in an eight inning offensive extravaganza. A four run effort in their final at bat would give the Panthers the walk off win, and a spot in the championship game.
Westfield didn’t waste any time scoring in the first inning. Leadoff man Nick Render reached first on a dropped pop fly, and then stole second. He would then proceed to steal third base as well on ball four to Patrick Maercklein, putting men on the corners with no outs. After Maercklein added a steal of his own, Kenny Barry punched a ball to left field, scoring both runners to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead. Eustis would reciprocate and then some in their half, as they put three on the board in the first thanks to a Matt Lusignan sac fly and a two-run single from Kyle Wiseman. After a rare scoreless second frame, both offenses picked up again in the third. Another hit from Barry, this time a double to center, would plate both Maercklein and Mason Scoville to make it 4-3. Wiseman would come through once more for the Panthers, this time with a bases loaded groundball to short that scored Jake Matulia to knot the score at four.
Westfield managed two more in the fourth thanks to a balk and an RBI single from Cole Huling. They would hold the lead until the bottom of the sixth when Eustis sent nine batters to the plate and scored three runs. Matt Wiseman and Aaron Simple hit back to back RBI doubles, and Lusignan brought in Simple with a single. Things could have gotten out of hand, but Elliott McKee earned a strikeout to leave the bases loaded and escape further damage. Down by one headed into the final frame, Render sparked a third rally for the Bulldogs, leading off with a single. After advancing to second on a groundball, and then to third on a wild pitch, Render would come in to score on Barry’s double to right field to tie the game up for a third time.
The 8th inning provided non-stop entertainment from beginning to end. After Seth Hockett and McKee both reached safely, Shane Martin attempted to bunt them over. He got more than he bargained for when the pitcher fired the ball into right field, allowing both runners to score and putting Martin on third. An error on the throw from the third baseman on Huling’s groundball would allow Martin to score on the next at bat. With the score standing 10-7, it put the Bulldogs in great position for the win. Their high hopes didn’t last long though, as six straight Panthers reached base in the bottom half in a sequence of single, walk, hit by pitch, single, hit by pitch, and walk. After a strikeout, the bases remained loaded, but Kyle Wiseman was able to come through once more with a sigle to left field on the first pitch he saw, scoring Michael Koenig and making the final score 11-10. Eustis was led on offense by Lusignan (2-3, 3 RBI) and Kyle Wiseman (2-4, 2B, 4 RBI). Kenny Barry was 3-4 with two doubles and 4 RBI for the Bulldogs in the loss.
Leesburg Yellow Jackets 4
Grandview Wolves 1
The Leesburg Yellow Jackets capped off a perfect 3-0 run in pool play by defeating Grandview 4-1 on Wednesday. The win put Leesburg in the championship game against Eustis on Thursday night.
Garrett Vathroder (LHS) and Nic Morris (GHS) swapped scoreless first and second innings, but things would change in the third for both starters. In the top half, Tucker Smith and Jason Baita each had singles to put two men on. After they both advanced on a wild pitch, Vathroder’s base hit would score Smith. A groundball from Junior Long would put Vathroder on 2nd, giving Leesburg two men in scoring position with one out. Luis Montalvo would deliver a tricky grounder that allowed each runner to advance safely, including Baita who scored. With men on the corners, coach Rich Billings called for a double steal, and Vathroder was able to score when the catcher threw down to second, capping the Jackets inning at three runs. Grandview got one run back in the bottom half when Keifer Glau doubled and came around to score on an Eric Mingus single to makeit 3-1.
Both pitchers settled down after the third, firing scoreless fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Grandview brought in a new pitcher in the seventh, and Leesburg was able to score once more when Baita plated Smith with a double. Vathroder would toss another scoreless inning in the bottom half, securing the complete game victory. His final line read seven innings pitched, allowing one run on five hits with a walk and seven strikeouts. He was also 2-3 at the plate with a walk, run, RBI and steal. Smith and Baita each had two hits as well for the Jackets.
South Fort Myers Wolfpack 3
First Academy Royals 0
The pitching duo of Isaac LeFevbre and Zac Hutchens was able to shut down the TFA offense and give the Wolfpack their first win of the tournament.
The Wolfpack got things started in the bottom of the second when Ryan Holton wore an offering from Joseph Charles, putting him on first. Another miscue by TFA, this time an error by the first baseman, would move allow Hunter Brown to reach second and move Holton to third. Sam Greider’s single would then score Holton and move Brown to third. Gage Reycroft would then plate Brown with a sac fly to make it 2-0. They would add one more run in the fourth when Josh Ashby walked to leadoff, advanced to second on a sac bunt, and scored on an error by TFA, making the score 3-0.
LeFevbre never gave the Royals a chance to get in to the game. He went three up, three down in the first, fifth and sixth innings, and allowed just one runner to reach third bade all night. He scattered five hits over his six innings of work, striking out four. Hutchens came in to close out the game midway through the seventh, coaxing a groundball out and two strikeouts to end the game and earn the save. Greider was 2-3 with an RBI to lead the Wolfpack offense.
Montverde Academy Eagles 10
Clewiston Tigers 2
The Montverde offense used a big fifth inning to blow open an otherwise close game, defeating the Clewiston Tigers by a score of 10-2 on Wednesday.
Starting pitcher Ryan Williams helped himself in the bottom of the first inning, roping a single to the outfield. After moving to third base on a balk and an error, he would then score on a Leo Rodriguez single to make it 1-0. Williams and Clewiston starter Dakota Jackman then traded scoreless second and third innings before Montverde struck once more. Manuel Lopez stroked a base hit through the infield, scoring teammate Josh Reynolds, who had reached on an error. With two men on and no outs, the Eagles looked prime to further their lead, but Jackman recorded two strikeouts and a popout to end the threat.
The Tigers were able to cut the lead in half in the top of the fifth when a single from Carlos Villalobos plated Kyle Knaack, who had reached on an error to lead off the inning. The Eagles came back in force in the bottom half of the frame. They sent twelve men to the plate, even though they recorded just three hits. They were assisted by three walks, one hit by pitch, an error, a balk, a passed ball and a wild pitch. Josh Reynolds and Julian Quintana each had two-RBI doubles for the Eagles in the inning. The Tigers would get one run back in the sixth on a Jude Moss RBI single, but Montverde called and raised that bet in their own half, scoring two more on runs from Cash Case and Manuel Lopez to make it 10-2, which would end up being the final score. Lopez was 3-3 at the plate with a walk, two runs and an RBI. Rodriguez, Reynolds and Quintana each had two RBI for Montverde as well. Williams earned the win, scattering six hits over six innings with seven strikeouts.
Forest Wildcats 5
Lincoln Park Academy Greyhounds 4
Wednesday’s night cap featured an exciting one run ball game, as Forest overcame an early deficit to win 4-3 over Lincoln Park Academy.
Lincoln Park got on the board early in the first inning. Derek Schwimmer’s leadoff walk quickly turned into a run as he stole second, and then advanced two bases thanks to an error in the field when Royce Neil put the ball in play. Neil, who moved to third on the error, would come in to score on a Chris Mejias sac fly to make it 2-0. Forest would answer back in the next half inning. Riley Ferrer and Grant Grodi each had RBIs in the inning to tie it up. The Wildcats would then put two more on the board in the third inning thanks to a two-run single from Phillip Felicien that scored Kirby McMullen and Hagen Samson. The Greyhounds got one run back in the bottom of the third on a run scoring single from JD Stubbs to make it 4-3. The next three innings would put six zeroes on the board, leading to an exciting finish.
Jacob Landry led off the inning for Forest with a walk. He would then move all the way to third base on an attempted pickoff. Kirby McMullen’s base hit brought him in quickly, giving the Wildcats a two run cushion. Neil would avoid further damage by inducing a 5-4-3 double play and striking out the last batter to end the threat. Lincoln Park entered the bottom half trailing 5-3. Consecutive singles by Ian Claudio and Schwimmer put men on 1st and 2nd with no outs. They would be sacrificed into scoring position by Neil, putting the Hounds in great position to tie the game. A Mejias groundout would score Claudio, move Schwimmer to third, and put a second out on the board. After a walk put the winning run on base, Dylan Ristow induced a popout to short to end the game and earn himself a save. Felicien was 2-4 with a run and two RBI to lead the Wildcats. McMullen and Samson also chipped in with two hits apiece.
9 am – Grandview vs. Clewiston
11:30 am – Lincoln Park vs. Westfield
2 pm – Montverde vs. South Fort Myers
4:30 pm – First Academy vs. Forest
7 pm – Eustis vs. Leesburg