The Miami Christian baseball team will officially defend its state title.
The Victors scored three early runs and held on from there to defeat Real Life Christian Academy 3-2 in a Class 2A state semifinal at the CenturyLink Sports Complex in Fort Myers. Miami Christian (19-8) will face Searcrest Country Day in the state championship game on Thursday, with first pitch set for 7:30 p.m.
After giving up a run in the top of the first, Miami Christian responded by putting up three runs over the next two innings. Fernando Fernandez tied the game with an RBI double to center field to score Christian Muniz, who walked to get on base. A Gabriel Vasquez RBI groundout added the second run of the frame before Marcos Alvero led off the bottom of the second with a solo home run to left field.
It was enough support for Jason Marono, who gave up two runs over 6 1/3 innings to earn the win. Marono gave up eight hits and two walks while striking out seven. Jason Garcia struck out the final two batters to seal the win.