FORT MYERS -- Brito Miami Private’s last remaining player from its 2011 state runner-up team helped the Panthers get back to the state championship game for the 10th time in school history Monday.
Brito junior pitcher Marco Bolano, who has been with the Panthers since he was a seventh-grader in 2010, tossed a complete-game, four-hit shutout as Brito topped Deltona Trinity Christian 8-0 at JetBlue Park to advance to the Class 2A state championship game.
The Panthers (20-7) will take on Naples Seacrest Country Day at 4 p.m. Tuesday at JetBlue Park in search of their sixth state title in program history.
“I felt confident in my pitches, and I did well,” Bolano said. “I felt great out there.
“I was relaxed. I just threw strikes and fought until the last inning.”
Brito was the beneficiary of a tough outing from Trinity Christian starting pitcher Trenton Brickhouse as the Panthers took a 2-0 lead on RBI walks by Julio Gonzalez and Onelio Perdomo in the top of the first inning.
Brickhouse was pulled in the second inning after a wild pitch scored JC Milan and put Brito up 3-0. He walked seven batters in 1 1/3 innings.
The Panthers took complete control of the game in the fourth inning after a two-run double from Perdomo, RBI singles from Mauricio Amaral and Christian Alvarez, and an RBI sacrifice fly from Brian Jimenez. They led 8-0 after four innings.
“It was the kind of game we expected and the game we have been preparing for all year long,” Brito coach Pedro Guerra said in Spanish with translation from Lazaro Fundora. “I was expecting it to be like this in that we came ready to play.”
Bolano allowed more than one runner to reach base in just one of the game’s seven innings. He struck out nine batters and walked two.
“He kept the ball low and commanded all of his pitches,” Trinity Christian coach Bryan Maples said of Bolano. “Anybody knows in high school baseball if you can command a strike zone with at least one pitch you are going to be pretty successful.”
Perdomo finished the game 2 for 3 with three RBI for the Panthers. Alvarez and Savian Fernandez also had two hits apiece for Brito.
Brito fell 5-3 to West Palm Beach Summit Christian in the 2011 Class A state title game. It last won a state title in 2006.
“It was a pretty good game, and we were four outs away,” Bolano said of the 2011 state title game loss. “We need to come back [Tuesday] even stronger.”
Said Amarel: “We need to come out [Tuesday] and do the same thing. We need to come out strong from the first inning to the last.”
BRITO 2 1 0 5 0 0 0—8 10 0
TRINITY CHRISTIAN 0 0 0 0 0 0 0—0 4 2
WP: Marco Bolano. LP: Trenton Brickhouse. 2B: Milan (B), Perdomo (B).