Coral Springs Christian erupted on Westminster Academy to the tune of a nine-run, fifth inning to down the Lions 10-0 via mercy rule on Tuesday.
Crusaders starting pitcher recruit Eric Hepple, a Central Florida recruit, turned in a quick complete game shutout by allowing only four hits and striking out seven batters and walking only one.
Catcher Benito Santiago — son of the former Miami Marlins catcher of the same namesake — said that first pitch strikes with the fast ball was the key to the gem and the slider was used as the finishing pitch this time.
“Before he goes out,” said Santiago, a Tennessee recruit, “we always ask him, ‘What do you feel comfortable with?’ He said sliders today. It works out every single time.”
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Westminster’s Weston Clemente (Florida Atlantic recruit) takes the loss. He started strong early on with five strikeouts and one earned run in the first four innings. But multiple walks doomed him in the fifth inning.
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•Region 4-7A semifinal: American 5, St. Thomas Aquinas 1:
American ace Ronnie Williams threw 120 pitches in a beating of St. Thomas Aquinas. The only thing colder than his mound demeanor, was the ice pack on his arm following an eight strikeout, three hit performance in 6.2 innings.
The Patriots (23-5) got a home run from Steven Alvarez in the second inning to take a 1-0 lead. Alvarez returned in the fourth inning with a solo shot and the Patriots added a run on a fielder’s choice. The Raiders (18-7) had their first hit in the fourth inning before the Patriots added onto the lead with a Remy Gonzalez two-run home run in the fifth inning.
“I was really motivated because St. Thomas has upset us at our track, our softball, and beat our boys and girls basketball team,” Williams said. “I was motivated to do it for the school. Our principal wanted this win so I wanted to get it.”
Williams used a two-seam fastball that tops out at 97 mph, to assault the Raiders. He allowed one unearned run to improve to 6-1 this season.
“There’s a chance the 7A state championship was played tonight,” Raiders coach Troy Cameron said. “I feel like we are one of the best teams in the sate. American played great tonight. It wouldn’t surprise me if they took the whole thing.”
The Patriots play the Atlantic or Dwyer Friday at home in a regional final matchup.
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Amazing to think that at the start of the season, Melissa Jara wasn’t even her own team’s starting quarterback.
But on Tuesday night, when her Archbishop McCarthy teammates needed her most, Jara came through, leading her Mavericks flag football team to a thrilling 20-14 double overtime victory over Mater Academy in a second-round play-in game at Milander Stadium. And with it, McCarthy advances to its second state tournament in the last three years and will take on either Coconut Creek or Delray Atlantic in a state quarterfinal in Tallahassee on Friday.
Cormier watched his star quarterback rally her team as McCarthy (12-4), after Mater had scored the first touchdown in overtime to take a 14-7 lead on a remarkable 10-yard scramble by quarterback Alondra Angulo, was down to its last two downs and still out on the eight yard line.
Jara then drilled a perfect pass over the middle in traffic to Danielle Gomez to pull her team within one and then hit Sofia Jardon for the all-important extra point sending it to a second overtime.
Getting the ball first, Jara then found Gigi Middleton in the corner of the end zone on the first play to put the Mavs up 20-14 after the extra point failed.
Two incomplete passes by Angulo and subsequent sack by Alexa Rivera put the ball back on the 16 for one final fourth down desperation pass to the end zone that Middleton intercepted sending McCarthy players to the center of the field in mass celebration.
“We’re never beat. We always feel if we’re losing, we’re doing it to ourselves and it’s our fault,” said Jara who threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Christina Harrison with 3:15 left in the third to stake her team to a 7-0 lead. “Our coaches tell us what we’re doing wrong, we fix it and go try and get it right. It’s a great feeling and we’re excited to be going back up to Tallahassee.”
“I’m just heartbroken for the girls,” said Mater head coach Luis Sanchez who watched Angulo lead his offense downfield and tie the game on a 16-yard touchdown pass to Emily Acosta with 51 seconds left to tie the game and force overtime. “To work that hard and come so close is tough but I’m very proud of our seniors who it was hard to say good bye to because they’re the ones responsible for bringing us to a new level and winning our first district title. Mater flag football is now a serious contender for state and hopefully we’ll be back.”