A year ago, Calvary Christian became a state baseball champion for the first time.
The Eagles would like to experience that again this weekend in Fort Myers.
Led by the outstanding pitching duo of right-hander Christian Scott (5-1, 1.56 ERA), a Florida signee, and lefty Jake Eder (8-1, 1.24 ERA), a Vanderbilt signee, Calvary Christian has a 1-2 pitching punch few teams have at the state tournament.
The Eagles (23-7) will take on Pensacola Catholic at 4 p.m. Friday in a Class 4A semifinal at Century Link Sports Complex in Fort Myers. The Crusaders (23-6) are aiming to win their third state title since 2012 and fourth overall.
Pensacola Catholic is led by a pair of SEC recruits in senior outfielder Carl Gindl (Mississippi) and infielder Donovan Benoit (Tennessee). Benoit has hit seven home runs and has 37 RBI, while Gindl has five home runs and 35 RBI.
Meanwhile in Class 3A, Archbishop Carroll would like to become one of this year’s first-time state champions.
The Bulldogs (26-2), who are playing at state for the first time since 2001, arrive at state on a 20-game winning streak, and will take on Jacksonville University Christian at 10 a.m. on Friday in a Class 3A semifinal.
Senior Salvatore Lorenzo-Lugo has gone 8-2 with 81 strikeouts and a 2.38 ERA, and hit .475 with two home runs, 13 doubles and 34 RBI. Senior outfielder Jonathan Leon has provided the power in the Bulldogs’ lineup hitting .429 with eight home runs, nine doubles and 38 RBI.
Sunset 18, Hialeah Gardens 14: Trailing 14-6 with five minutes left, the Sunset football team put on its rally caps on Thursday afternoon as the Knights scored two touchdowns in the final three minutes on a pair of Joshua Jackson-to-Jamahl Horne touchdown passes including a 53 yarder with just 12 seconds left to give the Knights the win at Hialeah Gardens High School.
After forcing Gardens to punt with 45 seconds left, Sunset took over at its own 35 and took just two plays to win it. Jackson hit Horne in the right flat for what should’ve been only a short gain. But Horne juked a pair of Gardens defenders and tight-roped up the sideline for the game-winning score.
“I was just motivated to make a big play and help my team,” said Horne. “It feels good to get a win which gives us momentum going into the summer.’
With long-time Archbishop Curley/Notre Dame coach Greg Magner making his debut as the new Gardens coach, the Gladiators took a 14-6 lead midway through the fourth quarter when quarterback Darian Hernandez found Sebastian Cuellar for an 88 yard touchdown pass.
But the Knights quickly drove the length of the field and scored with 3:10 left on a 10-yard Jackson-to-Horne hookup. Even after the two point conversion failed, the Sunset defense forced a three-and-out to get the ball back and set up the winning score.
- BILL DALEY
▪ Varela had six athletes sign with colleges on Thursday. Basketball standout Natasha Polanco signed with Miami-Dade College. Volleyball star Tiffany Bolanos signed with Florida Memorial University. Three track and field athletes – Sofia Naya, Mariana Morante and Irving Baez - each signed with St. Thomas University as did soccer standout Karina Medina.
▪ Palm Glades Prep basketball guard/forward Lustene Francois signed with Carolina Christian College, becoming the second athlete in the school’s history to sign on scholarship.
State baseball finals
When: Through Saturday (Classes 4A-1A); Wednesday through June 3 (Classes 9A-5A).
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 1A: Trenton 3, Madison County 2; Class 2A: Lake Worth Trinity Christian vs. Deltona Trinity Christian, inc.
Wednesday’s results — Class 1A: Trenton 10, Sneads 0 (6); Madison County 4, Santa Rosa South Walton 3; Class 2A: Lake Worth Trinity Christian 11, Jacksonville Christ’s Church 0 (5); Deltona Trinity Christian 9, Naples Seacrest Country Day 7.
Friday’s semifinals – Class 3A: Miami Archbishop Carroll vs. Jacksonville University Christian, 10 a.m.; Fort Myers Canterbury vs. Spring Hill Bishop McLaughlin, 1; Class 4A: Fort Lauderdale Calvary Christian vs. Pensacola Catholic, 4; Clearwater Calvary Christian vs. Delray Beach American Heritage, 7.
Saturday’s finals — Class 3A: 4:05; Class 4A: 7:35.