St. Thomas Aquinas baseball coach Troy Cameron got right to the point.
“We’ve been hitting the ball well all season long,” he said.
And Cameron watched with great satisfaction on Friday as his Raiders team continued to do just that as St. Thomas ripped the cover off the ball, torching the Coral Glades pitching staff for 12 runs, 11 hits, a home run and a half dozen extra base hits as Aquinas clobbered the Jaguars 12-0 in a Region 4-8A semifinal at Coral Glades.
Aquinas (24-3), will host either Westland Hialeah or Nova in a regional final that, according to Cameron, will likely be moved back from its original day of Tuesday to Wednesday or Thursday. That’s because the Westland/Nova game was postponed again on Saturday afternoon and will now not be played until Monday at 1 p.m. at Nova, weather permitting.
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Coral Glades, which enjoyed a Cinderella season by winning its first district championship and making its debut in the regional playoffs, finished 15-10.
“This could be the best team we’ve had since I’ve been here,” said Cameron, now in his sixth year running the program as the Raiders will be looking for their first trip back to the state final four since 2013 and first state title since 2003.
“We’re solid in all facets of the game with 10 seniors on the team, nine of them college signees and eight who have started since the ninth grade. This is a real window for us so hopefully we can jump through it.”
After failing to score in the first, the Raiders, whose only three losses came to nationally ranked teams and have two wins over nationally ranked teams (Blessed Trinity, Georgia, and Vero Beach), jumped on Glades starter Kyle Durham for three runs in the second and chased him with four more in the third.
Two more runs in the fourth and three in the fifth along with starter Blake Healy and reliever Trent Sobolowski pitching the shutout, ended the game in five innings on the 10-run mercy rule.
Leading the way for the St. Thomas offensive onslaught were Chris Ruckdeschel, who went 3 for 3, with two doubles, a home run and four RBI, Caleb Roberts (2 for 2, double, RBI) and Wade Iben (2 for 3, two RBI).
WESTLAND-NOVA POSTPONED AGAIN
Eventually they will get it played. But the Region 4-8A semifinal between Westland Hialeah and host Nova was postponed again on Saturday afternoon when heavy rain in the morning washed things out for a fourth time.
The game has been rescheduled for 1 p.m. Monday at Nova High School, and the winner will travel to play St. Thomas Aquinas in the Region 4-8A final. Because the game has been pushed back so far, according to St. Thomas coach Cameron, arrangements have been made for the game to be moved to Aquinas’ field (a turf field) sometime on Monday should weather disrupt things again.
Krop had five athletes sign with colleges. For baseball, third baseman Manuel Santana signed with ASA College, catcher Rolando Leyva signed with Barry University and third baseman LuizMenandez signed with Andrew College. Basketball point guard Yonexis Valdez signed with William Penn University.
Track and field sprinter Rachel Pierre-Louis signed with Purdue University Fort Wayne.