The wait was worth it.
Though it may have taken four days to complete, the Calvary Christian baseball team can finally make plans for the Class 4A state tournament in Fort Myers.
The Eagles needed the final <AF>2<TH>1/2 innings on Friday to officially call themselves Region 4-4A final champions following a 5-0 victory over Florida Christian at Calvary Christian.
Calvary (15-15) will face Benjamin in a state semifinal game on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Fort Myers. The Eagles, who lost to Benjamin in late April, are seeking to win the school’s second state title in school history.
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Roberto Pena pitched the last three innings for Calvary, and though he wasn’t perfect, he didn’t allow any runs. Pena got out of bases-loaded jam in the top of the seventh inning when he struck out Patrick Chen See for the second out, followed by a fielder’s choice for the third out.
“It had been tough from a pitching standpoint,” Calvary coach Alan Kunkel said. “It was the first time Pena has been on the mound for <AF>2<TH>1/2 weeks. There was some rust, but he was a gamer.
Pena allowed just two hits and had two strikeouts in his three innings of work.
“I got the job done,” Pena said. “It was tough throwing three days in a row and coming out playing the fourth day and not be sore.
Going to state is going to be a movie and I’m looking forward in our team getting another ring.”
Calvary got insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth on a RBI single by Ben Rozenblum and another by Davis Judge the following inning.
Florida Christian (21-9) was stymied until the seventh inning with the bases loaded on just one hit but didn’t score.
“It was frustrating to say the least,” Florida Christian coach Chris Brigman said. “My feeling is the game should have never restarted on Wednesday. Three bus rides up from Miami. I know you can’t control the weather, but it was frustrating.”
Calvary returns to the state tournament for the first time since winning the Class 4A title in 2016.
“Going back to state feels great,” Kenkel said. “I’m proud of all the effort the kids have put in and the adversity they have overcome. I’m happy for the kids and they deserve this.”
Calvary Christian held a 3-0 lead over through four innings when the game was suspended due to darkness on Wednesday. Play was 1:52 due to lightning. The effort to play on Thursday was postponed because of additional inclement weather.
Play was suspended with two outs in the bottom of the first inning on Wednesday and when game was resumed senior David Judge jacked a three-run homer for a 3-0 Calvary lead.
Christian Scott, who started on the mound for Calvary, kept the Patriots at bay, allowing one hit, while striking out seven. He earned the win and improved to 10-0.
Longtime Cardinal Gibbons coach Glenn Lee announced his retirement this week after 40 years coaching at the school. Over that time, Lee has coached boys’ and girls’ cross-country and boys’ and girls’ track and field and led those squads to over 1,000 wins, 15 district championships, 11 regional championships and six state runner-up finishes. Lee has also coached scores of individual state champions and was inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006 and is a member of the Florida Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame.