High School Sports

Westminster Christian captures record-tying 11th state baseball title

Westminster Christian players hoist the Class 3A championship trophy after beating North Florida Christian 7-2 at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers on Tuesday, May 19, 2015.
Westminster Christian players hoist the Class 3A championship trophy after beating North Florida Christian 7-2 at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers on Tuesday, May 19, 2015. Special to the Herald

Teams don’t usually get their state championship trophy and medals on a stadium’s concourse.

They also don’t do the traditional player pile up indoors in an empty room.

Westminster Christian’s baseball team did both Tuesday night at JetBlue Park.

And they didn’t care one bit.

After waiting roughly 2 1/2 hours during a weather delay that halted the game in the bottom of the sixth inning, Westminster Christian learned its 7-2 lead over Tallahassee North Florida Christian would stand as the final score of the Class 3A state championship game.

"This was definitely a crazy moment, but it feels great," Westminster Christian third baseman Julian Infante said. "We’re champions and they can’t take that away. It was a little weird, but this is a Cinderella story. It’s great."

Westminster Christian won its first state title since 2010 and tied Key West for the most state titles in state history by winning their 11th championship.

"It's an unbelievable accomplishment," Westminster Christian coach Emil Castellanos said. "Records were made to be broken and I guess in this case, tied and we're going to enjoy this one now and then go out and try and get No. 12 next year."

Almost five hours after the Warriors (24-7-1) first started playing, they were piling up as they would have on the mound in a cleared out area of the media interview room of the park.

A few minutes later, the players lined up on a ramp near one of the exits of the stadium and presented their medals as parents cheered and celebrated with the team.

"This was my first start of the year so I knew I had to give it all I had," Westminster Christian pitcher Jagr Enriquez said. "We were still focused and we were hoping to play and pile up on the field. We got the gold medal so that’s what matters."

Westminster Christian didn’t let the weather nor North Florida Christian’s highly-touted, lefty pitcher Cole Ragans stop it Tuesday.

Led by first baseman Michael Arencibia (2-for-2, four RBI) and an early clutch hit by third baseman Julian Infante, the Warriors got to Ragans — a Florida State University signee and Louisville Slugger All-American — early by scoring three runs in the first inning. The Warriors later added two more in the third and fourth innings.

Ragans lasted only four innings and gave up seven runs – six earned – on six hits and walked three with only four strikeouts. Ragans only gave up four earned runs all season.

Enriquez, a side-winding senior righty, went 4 2/3 innings and allowed two runs on three hits without a strikeout. Enriquez recorded the final out in Monday’s state semifinal win over Fort Myers Canterbury.

Castellanos brought in his ace Ryan Terry, who pitched 6 2/3 innings on Monday, to get Westminster Christian out of a jam in the top of the fifth. With runners on second and third, Terry got North Florida Christian’s Chris Jerry to fly out to right to end the inning.

Following a strikeout to open the game, designated hitter Clinton Gulley worked a walk off Ragans. Infante followed that by hitting a towering shot off the left field wall that scored Gulley. Infante reached second on the throw home and then third on a throwing error. Infante was already more than halfway down the third base line to score the second run of the game when Arencibia executed a perfect squeeze bunt.

Westminster Christian wasn’t done as centerfielder Alvaro Valdez singled and later eluded a tag while caught in a rundown that allowed Jakob Zarrello to score and give Westminster a 3-0 lead.

In the third inning, Valdez ran out a throw that prevented a double play and allowed Michael Cardoza enough time to score a run as the Warriors took a 5-1 lead.

Valdez and right fielder Adrian Mayans each made tremendous defensive plays in the outfield later in the game to prevent North Florida Christian a chance to come back. Valdez started an 8-3 double play throwing out catcher Taylor Schmidt at second base. Valdez threw out another runner in the sixth inning from the outfield and Mayans prevented a sacrifice fly ball a batter later by throwing out an advancing runner at the plate.

"In a state championship game, we say leave it all on the line," Castellanos said. "If you're hurting it doesn't matter, you just find a way, any way to get it done and we did that today."

▪ Westminster Christian 7, North Florida Christian 2

NFC: 001-010 -- -- 2-3-0

WC: 302-20x -- -- 7-7-2

WP: Jagr Enriquez (4-1). LP: Cole Ragans (7-2).

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.

Tuesday’s results: Class 3A final — Westminster Christian 7, Tallahassee North Florida Christian 2; Class 4A final — Fort Myers Bishop Verot vs. Jacksonville Trinity Christian, inc.

Wednesday’s schedule: Class 7A semifinals — Plant City Durant vs. Oviedo, 10 a.m.; Royal Palm Beach vs. Sarasota, 1; Class 8A semifinals — Columbus vs. Lake Worth Park Vista, 4; Orange City University vs. Orlando Timber Creek, 7.

Thursday’s schedule: Class 7A final — 4:05; Class 8A final — 7:35.

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