Jupiter's Mason Doolittle is one of the top catching prospects in the state of Florida and had pitched just one inning this season.
Yet in the biggest situation of the year, Jupiter coach Andy Mook brought him from behind the plate to face Broward's best hitter in Chad McDaniel with a trip to the state final four on the line.
The hulking catcher-turned-hurler got the job done.
With two in scoring position and two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning, Doolittle struck out McDaniel on a full count lifting Jupiter to a 6-4 win over host Stoneman Douglas -- the defending Class 9A state champion -- in Parkland on Wednesday afternoon.
Jupiter, which was knocked out at home in the Region 3-9A final by the Eagles last year, will face Orlando Timber Creek in a Class 9A state semifinal in Fort Myers next Friday night.
Palmetto faces Orange City University in the other semifinal.
Douglas, which was named national champions by Baseball America last year, ends 22-5 after winning its previous 13 games.
“It was just awesome to be able to come out on top,” said Doolittle, who has committed to LSU.
“I'll never forget this day for my whole entire life. We have two more to win. ... It was a lot of fun to face McDaniels, I have a lot of respect for him.”
The two teams began their regional final on Tuesday, but weather halted the game after eight innings with the score tied at 4.
The game picked up under overcast skies and a stiff breeze coming in from right field and not much happened until the 11th.
Douglas reliever Kyle Yeoward came back after pitching the eighth on Tuesday and cruised in his first two innings on Wednesday.
Jupiter (22-6-2) changed that in what would be the final inning.
Tyler Ward opened the inning by reaching on an error, then moved to second on a single by Ricky Clark.
Dakota Gallard bunted to move the two over, but the Douglas third baseman fielded and and tried making the throw to third. His throw ended up in left field, and the Warriors took a 5-4 lead.
With one out and the bases loaded, Reese Albert slammed a shot off Yeoward's leg; although the Eagles got the out, Clark came home for the second run of the inning.
Jupiter pitcher Gavin Scott, who started Wednesday's game fresh, got the first two outs of the 11th yet the Eagles weren't done.
Down to their final out, both Brandon Auerbach and David Vazquez got on.
With McDaniel — who hit one of his two home runs this season on Tuesday and hit .575 this year — coming up, the move was made to bring in Doolittle from behind the plate.
Although his first pitch wasn't handled by his replacement behind the plate allowing Auerbach and Vazquez to move into scoring position, he made McDaniel work and eventually struck out the Missouri-bound senior.
“He was the guy you want in that situation,” said Douglas coach Todd Fitz-Gerald, whose team reached state for the first time in school history last year.
“I liked our chances with Chad up there. ... That's baseball. It just wasn't our day.”
▪ Region 4-7A — Belen at Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer, ppd: Suffice it to say by now the Belen Jesuit baseball team knows how to get to Dwyer High School in Palm Beach Gardens.
For the second night in a row, Wolverines players sat in the dugout biding their time in frustration Wednesday waiting to get their Region 4-7A final against Dwyer played.
The game was initally delayed for one hour before another pocket of heavy rains came through and the game was postponed for the second night a row. It has been rescheduled for Friday at noon at Dwyer.
“My old high school coach told me one time that you can’t let things you have no control over effect you and that you just have to learn to roll with things,” Belen coach Jerry Albert said.
“All of this traveling back and forth hasn’t been easy for the kids but it is what it is and we’ll deal with it.”
The game is a rematch from last year’s regional final that saw Belen upset Dwyer in extra innings after Dwyer had the winning run thrown out at home on a throw from right field in the last of the seventh that would’ve sent the Panthers to state.
The winner moves to the state finals in Fort Myers with an opening game on Wednesday, May 31, at 4 p.m. against the winner of the Region 1-7A championship game between Cantonment Tate and Ponte Vedra Nease.