Gulliver succeeded throughout this baseball season with its pitching depth.
It helped the Raiders win close games in every round of the regional playoffs.
But Monday afternoon, a poor start on the mound and some sloppy defense made the difference quickly in a 4-1 loss to Fort Myers Bishop Verot in a Class 4A state semifinal at JetBlue Park.
“We came out a little flat defensively with the bunt defense, something we’ve been good at all year,” Gulliver coach Javy Rodriguez said. “We just had one really bad inning to start the game.”
Gulliver’s 6-8 senior starting pitcher Evan Kranetz wasn’t his usually sharp self, giving up four runs (three of them earned) on six hits over 12/3 innings.
Fellow senior Mike Gonzalez entered the game with the Raiders trailing 4-0 with two outs in the bottom of the second. Gonzalez gave up only one hit, walked three and struck out six over the final 51/3 innings.
But the damage was done thanks to Bishop Verot pitcher Patrick Banick, who held Gulliver to one run on three hits over 62/3 innings.
Gulliver (23-7) got the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh after Banick hit first baseman Stephan Alonso with a pitch with two outs and second baseman Oscar Marchena doubled to give the Raiders runners at second and third. The Vikings (24-6) moved Thaddeus Ward from first base to pitch. Ward got Gulliver shortstop Javy Valdes to fly out to right for the final out.
Kranetz opened the game by allowing three consecutive singles to load the bases with no outs. Kranetz did get a ground ball he needed from Bishop Verot cleanup hitter Richie Nizza and threw home for the first out. But on the double-play attempt, catcher Pedro Pages’ throw to first hit Nizza and bounded away, allowing a run to score.
Verot catcher Michael Ridley’s ground out on the next at-bat made it 2-0. Designated hitter Anthony Tejeda singled to make it 3-0 before Kranetz got the Raiders out of the inning.
A throwing error by Alex Erro on a bunt single by Verot left fielder Connor Malt set up the fourth run after back to back singles by Trevor Cramer and Ward. That ended Kranetz’s outing.
Erro redeemed himself later in the game by getting one of Gulliver’s three hits and coming around to score on a throwing error in the fifth inning. But against Banick it wasn’t enough.
“[Banick] was mixing his pitches well and coming up with decent speed,” Erro said. “I was just looking for a pitch to hit a line drive on and start something. Usually we’ve been on the other side of these battles with walk-off wins the last two games.
“It just didn’t go our way [Monday].”
BV 310 000 0 – 4 7 1
GP 000 010 0 – 1 3 2
WP: Patrick Banick (8-2). LP: Evan Kranetz (5-2). SV: Thaddeus Ward (2).
Ferguson junior Jose Ortega and Cypress Bay coaches Vincent Grossi and Marina Adreoni-Stewart were all honored by the Florida Dairy Farmers Association when it announced its Tennis Players and Coaches of the Year.
Ortega, who won the Class 4A overall singles title, won the state Player of the Year award. Grossi and Stewart were each named boys’ and girls’ Coaches of the Year, respectively, after guiding their squads to state championships in 4A.
Sabrina Verdes, the Varela girls’ basketball team captain, signed with Johnson & Wales. Verdes, is the third athlete in school history to score 1,000 points.
If you go
What: The state baseball championships.
When: Through Thursday.
Where: JetBlue Park, 11500 Fenway South Drive, Fort Myers.
Admission: $9 per day; Parking: $10 for cars, $50 for fan buses.
Monday’s results: Class 3A semifinals: Tallahassee North Florida Christian 3, Spring Hill Bishop McLaughlin 1; Westminster Christian 4, Fort Myers Canterbury 2; Class 4A semifinals: Fort Myers Bishop Verot 4, Gulliver 1; Jacksonville Trinity Christian 4, Bushnell South Sumter 1.
Tuesday’s schedule: Class 3A final: Westminster Christian vs. Tallahassee North Florida Christian, 4:05; Class 4A final: 7:35.