Prep baseball: Jesuit rallies in final inning to advance
Jesuit took several walks on the wild side Friday on its way to a 5-4 victory against Auburndale in the 5A Region 3 final.
The Tigers (28-2) advanced to their fourth straight semifinal, where they will try to win their first state title since 2000.
Jesuit was down to its last strike, trailing 4-3 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh when Daniel Portales drew a bases-loaded walk. It was the fourth walk of the inning. Ricky Caldevilla followed with a single to right field to score the winning run.
Jesuit coach Richie Warren said he simply wanted to get runners on base for Portales and Caldevilla.
“I told the team in the dugout when we were losing in the bottom of the seventh that if we could get Danny and Ricky to the plate we would win the game,” he said. “These guys never gave up.''
When Caldevilla came to bat, the Tigers still hadn't put the ball into play in the inning. With one out, Spencer Trayner walked. Following another strikeout, Leland Saile walked to put runners on first and second. Ryan McCullers, who homered earlier in the game, drew another walk to load the bases. Portales walked on a full count to tie the game, and Caldevilla followed with the game-winning single.
“I knew I had it in me,'' Caldevilla said. “I had the Blue Tide (Jesuit's student section) behind me. I was ready to do some magic. We're taking it all the way home. We are doing some special things this year.''
Jesuit led 3-1 going into the top of the sixth and Trayner was on cruise control, but Auburndale (21-9) cut the score to 3-2, and after Trayner was moved to second base, a throwing error that scored two runs put the Bloodhounds ahead, 4-3. Jesuit threatened in the bottom of the sixth, but ended up scoreless after some sloppy base running, setting the stage for the comeback.