With two major Division-I college signees leading its pitching staff, Calvary Christian rarely needs a ton of run support.
That wasn’t the case for the Eagles Tuesday afternoon.
Luckily for Calvary Christian, its offense had one of its best performances of the season in an 18-7 rout in six innings of host Westminster Christian in the Region 4-4A baseball final.
The Eagles (23-7) secured a return trip to state and a chance to repeat as state champions as they will face either Jacksonville Providence or Pensacola Catholic on May 26 at 4 in a Class 4A semifinal at CenturyLink Sports Complex in Fort Myers.
Calvary Christian hit five home runs combined off various Westminster Christian pitchers including two grand slams and three homers overall during a 12-run sixth inning that broke a 6-6 tie.
“I don’t think anyone expected us to swing the bats the way we did today,” Calvary Christian coach Alan Kunkel said. “I think we haven’t swung the bats as well as we’ve been capable of all year.”
One of those aces for the Eagles, junior Christian Scott, a University of Florida signee, hit a grand slam and a two-run home run in that inning.
Scott’s grand slam gave Calvary the lead an inning after he surrendered a 6-3 lead in relief after Michael Riley hit a double with the bases loaded. Riley was thrown out at third on the play to end the inning.
“Usually when you give up runs like that as a pitcher you might not in a spot where you can do something about it,” Scott said. “Luckily I came up in that situation and stepped up when my team really needed it.”
Westminster rallied from a pair of three-run deficits in the game.
Calvary senior lefty Jake Eder, a Vanderbilt University signee, cruised for the first two innings and had a 3-0 lead until Anthony Vilar and Dylan Cloonan each hit home runs to tie the game.
Ben Rosenblum’s run-scoring single and Tyler Knierim’s double put Calvary back in front by three in the top of the fifth. Eder ran into trouble in the bottom half of the inning and was removed for Scott with two runners on and two outs.
Rosenblum hit the second grand slam in the sixth inning that gave Calvary a 16-6 advantage and allowed the Eagles to close out the game in the bottom half due to the 10-run mercy rule.
“We knew coming in it was a small ballpark and home runs can sometimes be pop ups or fly balls at other parks,” Eder said. “You just have to rely on your run support and try to keep the ball on the ground. It was unbelievable to see everyone come together as a team.”