FORT MYERS – Power is a great thing to have at the plate.
But so is patience.
Archbishop McCarthy’s hitters have proven they have both.
The Mavericks capitalized on erratic pitching by overmatched Citra North Marion Wednesday afternoon and crushed the Colts 14-2 in a Class 6A state semifinal at jetBlue Park.
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"My hitters did a great job at the plate against two very good pitchers," McCarthy coach Rich Bielski said. "They waited for their pitch. They didn’t chase out of the zone. And when they saw one in the zone we hit them pretty hard."
A familiar foe, Lynn Haven Mosley, is the only remaining obstacle standing in McCarthy’s way as it tries to win its sixth state title in the past seven seasons. The Mavericks (28-2) will take on the Dolphins (22-8) at 4:05 p.m. Thursday in the championship game.
No South Florida team has ever won as many state championships over a seven-year span.
North Marion (22-9), which was making its first appearance at the state final four, walked seven batters and committed three errors.
Five of those free passes and two of those errors contributed to an eight-run second inning that put McCarthy in control for good.
McCarthy shortstop Kobe Lopez went 2 for 4 with two RBI and made a superb defensive play in the bottom of the first inning that kept North Marion off the scoreboard.
Ranging to his left on a ball hit up the middle, Lopez tracked it down and back-flipped the ball to second baseman Ubaldo Lopez, starting an inning-ending double play.
"Defense is a really big thing on our team and we’re always working on it," Lopez said. "The coaches moved me two steps to my left and I was already playing double play depth. It looked like a hit, no doubt. But my coaches set me up to make a big play."
Lopez then delivered one of the biggest hits during McCarthy’s barrage in the second when he singled to drive in two runs.
Right fielder Adan Fernandez drove in three runs for the game and two of them came on a double that capped the huge frame for the Mavericks.
McCarthy added six more runs in the fourth and eventually secured the five-inning mercy-rule victory.
Ubaldo Lopez, Andrew Fernandez and A.J. Hendricks each had two hits.
Hendricks continued to shine in the No. 9 spot in McCarthy’s lineup.
"Hitting ninth doesn’t mean I can’t hit," Hendricks said. "I feel like I get to be a second leadoff [hitter] and I get to drive guys in."
Freshman pitcher Yordani Carmona delivered another solid start (albeit brief due to McCarthy’s big lead) as he has for the Mavericks throughout the playoffs.
Carmona threw four innings and allowed only one run on two hits, walked two and struck out one on 61 pitches.
"This was Yordani’s game," Bielski said. "He’s had one quality start after another. He’s only a freshman but he goes out there like he’s been doing this his whole life. He’s very excited and this was his game all the way."
Carmona has been clutch for the Mavericks and their pitching staff, which has been without junior ace Daniel Federman most of the season due to arm soreness.
Federman pitched an inning Wednesday in relief in what was his first appearance since February and gave up one unearned run on one hit and struck out one. Bielski said he would not pitch Federman in Thursday’s final.
Carmona, juniors Johnny Leone and Jose Martinez and seniors Austin Genao and Roger Garcia have pitched the bulk of the innings in Federman’s absence.
"I was really comfortable on the mound and I felt like I just had to pound the strike zone and let my defense make plays," Carmona said.
AM 080 60 – 14 10 0
NM 000 11 – 2 3 3
WP: Carmona (8-0). LP: Owens (3-1).
IF YOU GO
What: The state baseball finals.
When: Through Saturday.
Where: jetBlue Park, 11500 Fenway South Drive, Fort Myers.
Admission: $9 per day; Parking: $10 for cars; $50 for fan buses.
Wednesday’s results – Class 6A semifinals: Lynn Haven Mosley 12, Naples Barron Collier 2; Southwest Ranches Archbishop McCarthy 14, Citra North Marion 2; Class 5A semifinals: Jacksonville Bolles 5, Melbourne Central Catholic 0; Miami Monsignor Pace 1, Orlando Bishop Moore 0.
Thursday’s schedule – Class 7A semifinals: Venice vs. St. Johns Creekside, 10 a.m.; Belen Jesuit vs. Tampa Gaither, 1; Class 6A final: Archbishop McCarthy vs. Mosley, 4:05; Class 5A final: Bolles vs. Monsignor Pace, 7:35.
Friday’s schedule – Class 9A semifinals: Parkland Douglas vs. Winter Garden West Orange, 10 a.m.; Miami Columbus vs. Tampa Alonso, 1; Class 8A semifinals: Oviedo Hagerty vs. Ocala Forest, 4; Westland Hialeah vs. Tampa Steinbrenner, 7.
Saturday’s schedule – Class 7A final: 12:35; Class 9A final: 4:05; Class 8A final: 7:35.