Familiarity can sometimes breed contempt.
Especially when one team denies another a state championship time after time.
Archbishop McCarthy clashed once again with fellow nationally ranked baseball team Lynn Haven Mosley at the state finals on Thursday morning.
And for the fourth time in four meetings during a five-year span, McCarthy prevailed.
“Annoying,” said Mosley starting pitcher Michael Cullen after Thursday’s game, when asked what it was like losing to the Mavericks over and over at state.
McCarthy rallied for a 5-3 victory after a near three-hour marathon of a Class 6A state semifinal played in sweltering heat at Hammond Stadium.
McCarthy (27-2), ranked No. 2 nationally by USA Today and MaxPreps, will chase its third consecutive state title and seventh in the past eight years when it takes on Tampa Jesuit in the 6A final at 12:35 p.m. Saturday.
“Mosley battled us as tough as any team all season long,” McCarthy coach Rich Bielski said. “I’m sure they don’t like us very much, and we don’t like facing them because they are a tough team and they are always a challenge.”
Mosley (26-3), ranked No. 3 by MaxPreps, looked like it had a chance to reverse its fortunes when it jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning off McCarthy ace Daniel Federman.
But McCarthy answered immediately with a run in the bottom half when catcher and FIU signee Andrew Fernandez hit a double to score shortstop Luis Tuero.
The Mavericks took the lead for good in the second with three more runs.
Junior Alejandro Macario, who was starting at third base for injured senior Joe Perez, tied the game at 2 with a single that scored designated hitter Michael Machin.
Perez, a University of Miami signee rated the No. 57 overall high school prospect by Baseball America and whose fastball has been clocked at 99 mph, is out for the remainder of the season with an injury to his right elbow.
McCarthy then loaded the bases with two outs and another FIU signee, Adan Fernandez, drove a ball to left field that hit the wall about a foot inside the foul line for a double that gave the Mavericks a 4-2 lead.
Federman, another UM signee, settled down and pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing only four more hits after the first inning, with one walk and two strikeouts.
Michael Diaz entered in relief and allowed a run in the seventh but struck out three and closed out the victory.
Bielski said senior right-hander Johnny Leone will start Saturday’s title game. Leone is 2-0 this season with a 0.73 ERA, 36 strikeouts and six walks in 28 2/3 innings.
“This is exactly where we want to be,” Bielski said.
“Federman did what he’s done all his career and that’s put us in a great position to win. It was hot and he had a couple of tough breaks early, but he battled.”
State baseball finals
When: Through Saturday.
Where: Centurylink Sports Complex — Hammond Stadium, 14100 Ben C. Pratt Six Mile Cypress Parkway, Fort Myers.
Admission: $9 in advance, $12 per day at the gate.
Parking: $10 for cars, $50 for buses.
Thursday’s results — Class 6A: Archbishop McCarthy 5, Lynn Haven Mosley 3; Dunedin vs. Tampa Jesuit, inc.; Class 5A championship: Bolles vs. Bishop Moore, inc.; Class 7A championship: Nease vs. King, inc.
Friday’s semifinals — Class 8A semifinals: Nova vs. Tallahassee Lincoln, 10 a.m.; Sarasota vs. Oviedo Hagerty, 1; Class 9A semifinals: Miami Palmetto vs. Orange City University, 4; Jupiter vs. Orlando Timber Creek, 7.
Saturday’s finals — Class 6A: Archbishop McCarthy vs. Jesuit, 12:35; Class 8A: 4:05; Class 9A: 7:35.