HSBN College Prospects

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Dates: Tuesday, June 4th – Sunday, June 10th

Registration: Registration is now closed for this event.

Schedule:

Tuesday, June 5th: Miami Player/Coach Meeting @ Florida Memorial (Baseball Field)
5:15 – Class of 2019
6PM – Class of 2020
6:45 – Class of 2021

Players will receive their game jerseys, and meet with their coaching staff, as well as HSBN representatives. Players will also have a brief discussion with Florida Memorial Manager Tino Burgos.

Thursday, June 7th: Broward Player/Coach Meeting @ Nova High School (Baseball Field)
5:15 – Class of 2019
6PM – Class of 2020
6:45 – Class of 2021

Players will receive their game jerseys, and meet with their coaching staff, as well as HSBN representatives. Players will also have a brief discussion with Florida Memorial Manager Tino Burgos.

Friday, June 8th – Class of 2021 Broward vs. Miami Showdown @ Nova High School
5PM: Players Arrive
5:15 – 5:35:
Broward Team BP in Cages
5:35 – 5:55:
Miami Team BP in Cages
6:05: Warm up Arms
6:20: Broward Team Infield/Outfield
6:35: Miami Team Infield/Outfield
7PM: Player Intros and National Anthem
7:10: Game Time!

Sunday, June 10th – Class of 2019 Broward vs. Miami Showdown @ Nova High School
12:30: Players Arrive
12:45 – 1:05:
Broward BP in Cages
1:05PM – 1:25:
Miami BP in Cages
1:35: Warm up Arms
1:50: Broward Team Infield/Outfield
2:05: Miami Team Infield/Outfield
2:30: Player Intros and National Anthem
2:40: Game Time!

Sunday, June 10th – Class of 2020 Broward vs. Miami Showdown @ Nova High School
5PM: Players Arrive
5:15 – 5:35:
Broward Team BP in Cages
5:35 – 5:55:
Miami Team BP in Cages
6:05: Warm up Arms
6:20: Broward Team Infield/Outfield
6:35: Miami Team Infield/Outfield
7PM: Player Intros and National Anthem
7:10: Game Time!

Kris Armstrong had two triples and two runs to lead the Benjamin offense.

The approach for the Benjamin Buccaneers under new manager Jack Armstrong is to do the right thing every time out. Hungry for a victory against a tough offense in host Forest Hill, the Bucs got in a groove early on and never let up. Benjamin took the lead in the top of the first and never looked back, defeating Forest Hill 9-5 on Wednesday night.

Kris Armstrong helped spark the offense with a pair of triples in his first two at bats, including a triple in the top of the first that opened up the flood gates for three runs and a lead the Bucs (3-2) never surrendered. Benjamin scored in all but one inning to keep adding to its lead, and every run proved valuable by the way the Falcons swung the bat and battled to the finish.

“We lost a real close one to Kings last night, and we did a few things wrong and fundamentally it cost us the game, and that was what we wanted to correct today and getting the right approach back and do the little things right,” Bucs manager Jack Armstrong said. “Forest Hill is a team that really swings the bats; they can put up a crooked number as quick as any team around. So it was a matter of throwing strikes and avoiding walks, staying out of the big inning and then trying to get a few runs. We really needed a win, because any time you have a loss you want to come back and get that feeling over with.”

The Bucs batted around the order in the first. After Kris Armstrong connected for a triple into the right field corner, TJ McKenzie and Paul Lanoce both walked to load the bases. Parker Haskin, Aaron Steinhart and Brian Lopes all followed with RBIs to hand starter Nate Gordon a 3-0 lead before he even took the mound for his first pitch.

That offensive prowess carried over into the second. Kris Armstrong split the left-center field gap and sped around the bases perfectly to then slide safely into third with one out in the second. A throwing error then allowed him to come home. Kris also made several key plays to stretch and pick some throws to first base to help pace the defense.

Even with the Bucs also playing two district games this week, they made sure not to overlook the Falcons (1-3) in this mid-week road contest.

Anier Ricardo went 2-for-4 and had two doubles, an RBI and a run for the Falcons.

“We actually just had a talk a couple of days ago about playing every single game the very best that you can,” Coach Armstrong said. “It’s obvious that the district games matter more, but you cannot approach them that way. I have to approach it that way when setting up my best pitchers and lineups and so forth, but I want these guys to get ready every game they play to do all the little things right. Pick good pitches to swing at. Pitchers throw strikes. Defense backs each other up. I’m trying to get these guys machine-like in their approach so that the bigger the game gets it shouldn’t matter to them.”

The Bucs continued their offensive trend the entire way, putting runners on base in every inning. They added a pair of runs on errors in the third, Haskin drove in another with an RBI ground out in the fourth, and Jack McCluskey crushed a shot that bounced off the left field fence for a double, before he came in on a throwing error in the fifth. Lanoce drew his fourth walk of the game and later scored on an RBI single from Steinhart in the seventh.

Despite falling behind by four runs heading into the bottom of the second, Forest Hill never backed down and continued fighting for runs right to the final batter. The Falcons cut the deficit in half with a pair of runs in the second thanks to a two-RBI single from Carlos Diaz. After Carlos Fonseca lined a single to left and Anier Ricardo followed with a double to right, Diaz lined a shot past third base to send in both runners and make it a 4-2 ball game.

Nate Gordon earned the win for the Buccaneers.

When the Bucs responded with two more in the third, the Falcons answered in turn with another pair of runs of their own. Bryan Valdez doubled to left and Victor Ortiz was hit by a pitch, and Ricardo sent a shot deep to right field for a double that drove in both runners.

Senior Nick Taplett came on in relief for Gordon, and his performance helped cool down the Falcons while allowing the Bucs to further extend their lead again. Taplett did not allow any hits, walked one and struck out five in three scoreless innings of relief.

Forest Hill made one last push in the seventh. Damian Allione singled past the shortstop leading off, advanced on a wild pitch and then scored off an RBI double from Ortiz.

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The opportunity to play on a college field provided plenty of spark for the young Futures Players competing in the HSBN All American Weekend games Sunday at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field at the University of Miami. Performing on a grand stage in front of fans and Hurricanes coaches, the players on both sides showed just how bright the future could be should some of them end up playing there again as college athletes someday. Getting a taste of that experience fueled many players to rise to their best and seize their moment.

“We are playing in front of scouts and the school in your hometown where you want to play someday,” said iMater freshman catcher Roberto Moya.

While many participants call South Florida home, numerous others came from further away to enjoy this chance to play at this stadium and compete with the other HSBN Futures Players.

“I got to see different talent from everyone and it was just a learning experience for me,” said Justin Turk, who came from Steinbrenner High in the Tampa area. “The coaches got to see us and it was a great experience for me to get to show my talent.”

Following a weekend that began with a home run derby presented by the POWER SHOWCASE, followed by workouts at St. Thomas University, players converged at UM for Sunday’s live games. The day began with two contests from the HSBN Futures Stars groups.

Green Team 2, Orange Team 0

Despite flirting with danger all game long, the Green team managed the shutout even though the Orange squad collected eight hits. The Orange team only put two runners past second base and struggle against the Green’s pitching throughout.

Mater Academy’s Ramses Hernandez got things going with three strikeouts in the first inning and then an RBI double in the second that gave his team the lead. Hernandez allowed consecutive singles to Archbishop McCarthy’s MC Sagaro and SLAM’s Anthony Nunez before working out of the threat. After Archbishop McCarthy’s JM Fay singled up the middle and advanced on a fielder’s choice, Hernandez sent a liner into the left-center field gap.

“It was a great experience for me and I hope I can do the same again next year,” Hernandez said. “This was the best experience of my life.”

South Miami’s Michael Cabo came home for an insurance run in the seventh. After reaching on an error, Cabo advanced thanks to a double from Southridge’s Henry Wallen, then scored on an RBI single from Mater Academy’s Alex Aguila.

The Orange team’s pitching staff was also tough to hit off to keep them in the game. Coral Reef freshman Victor Mederos turned the most heads with a fastball that reached as high as 92 miles per hours during a scoreless inning in which he struck out the side. Merritt Island’s Chase LeBlanc, Coral Park’s Julio Silva, Carlos Rodriguez and St. Brendan’s Kevin Martin all picked up two strikeouts during their respective innings of work.

Both sides also flashed some nice defensive abilities. Enjoying the advantage of the immaculate playing surface at the Miami Hurricanes’ home, players were fearless in diving and going all-out to make a play.

“It was a great experience playing at the University of Miami and it’s an honor,” said FLVS’s Matthew Corlew, who made several impressive plays Sunday. “I was just going out there having fun and letting loose. I don’t try to think too much about it; just go out there and do what I do. It is a joy and everybody is going crazy and slapping me high five. I love it.”

Gray Team 5, Maroon Team 0

Eleven pitchers took a turn for the Gray squad and they all kept the shutout going for nine full innings. They combined to throw 91 pitches in all and watched nine batters strike out against them.

“It was a great experience overall and I caught nine innings,” said catcher Roberto Moya, who was behind the plate the whole way on Sunday to do his part in the shutout. “The pitchers looked great and we had a lot of fun, and there was no pressure. We played with no pressure and the weekend was great overall. The guys are nice and the coaches are friendly. They give you the chance and all you have to do is take the opportunity and take advantage of it.”

Florida Christian’s Matt Fernandez led the way for the pitchers, striking out the side in his inning of work. John I. Leonard’s Jordan Diaz, Falcon Cove’s Jeremy Hernandez and SLAM’s Chris Velasquez all tossed perfect 1-2-3 innings.

The Gray team took the lead in the fourth. Belen Jesuit’s Gaby DeZendegui singled on a chopper past the shortstop, stole second and then advanced to third on a passed ball. Jordan Diaz followed with an RBI groundout that plated DeZendegui for the 1-0 lead.

They added some insurance runs with two apiece in the seventh and eighth innings. Chris Velasquez singled up the middle and scored on an RBI from Glades’ Derek Bermudez, and Moya reached on an error and scored in the seventh. American’s Christian Carratala added a two-RBI single that plated Southridge’s Brandon Cabrera and Falcon Cove’s Jeremy Hernandez.

The Maroon squad managed just four scattered hits by Belen Jesuit’s Joshua Salandy, IMG Academy’s Trip McKinley, Pompano Beach’s Josue Zuany and Calvary Christian’s Thomas White.

“This felt like I made it to the next level and I want to play here and continue to play here,” Salandy said. “I adjusted pretty quickly to the coaches; they were just there to aide us and get us ready to run on the bases. I got a lot of at bats and it was pretty good.”

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The HSBN All American Weekend concluded with games played at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field on the University of Miami campus all throughout the day on Sunday. Following two Futures contests early in the day, the All American players took their turns in two evening contests.

With four rosters of 25 players all close to high school graduation and college competition, the games served as a great opportunity at the college playing experience while performing in front of fans, scouts and Hurricane coaches.

Black Team 6, Red Team 4

The Black Team A jumped to a lead early on and held it the rest of the way. The victors meshed well in all phases to deliver a solid overall performance for the fans and Hurricanes coaching staff in attendance. The Red team bounced back from some early struggles and battled within one run of tying things up late before running out of swings, providing exciting action on both sides all throughout.

South Broward’s Yordan Maldonado set the tone with a scoreless first inning that included two strikeouts for the Black team, and the offense responded with its first swings. Southwest Miami’s Danny Cruz reached on an error and then scored off an RBI double into the right field corner from Columbus’ Albert Espinosa, who then also came in thanks to an RBI single to right from Douglas’ Jacob Stanley.

An inning late the Black club pushed it to a 5-0 advantage, as the first three batters all reached base and scored. Douglas’ Jonathan Strauss sent a high chopper up the middle for a leadoff single, Western’s Weylin Cleri reached on a fielder’s choice and South Dade’s Willy Escala loaded the bases with a single through the left side. For Escala it is the first of what could be many career hits at this field, as the senior is committed to play for the Hurricanes after he graduates this year.

Solid execution with runners on base led to the first run of the inning, as Archbishop Carroll’s Rey Gonce got a grounder to the right side for a 4-3 RBI that plated Strauss. Monsignor Pace’s Alec Sierra followed with an RBI single to center and a throwing error allowed Escala to also score.

Douglas’ left-hander Brandon Kaminer struck out four over two scoreless innings that kept Team A in control, before the Red team got on the scoreboard in the fourth. Florida Christian’s Danny Vazquez reached on a single deep to the shortstop, advanced on a throwing error and then stole third base to get within ninety feet of the plate. Royal Palm Beach’s Tarik Latchmansingh exemplified his clutch-hitting with a sharp liner through the left side of the defense for an RBI single.

The Red team made it interesting again by narrowing the gap in the seventh. Doral Academy’s Brian Perez reached on an infield single, Miami Brito’s Onelio Perdomo and Danny Vazquez both singled to left to load the bases. Mater Academy’s Luis Diaz delivered a dagger with a shot deep to right field for a bases-clearing, three-run double that brought it to a 5-4 ball game.

Jacob Stanley provided exactly the response that the Black squad needed by striking out the side on just nine pitches in eighth inning. Monsignor Pace’s Alec Sierra surrendered a single to Miami Country Day’s Austin Pollack in the ninth, but managed to work around the threat to strike out a pair and end the contest.

The Black team added one last run in the eighth. St. John Paul II’s PJ Cimo lined a shot just past the outfielder and showed off some nice base running awareness to race around the bags for a standup triple. A wild pitch then allowed Cimo to come in for the final run of the game.

The Red pitching staff delivered a gutsy performance, as three pitchers combined to split the time on the mound. Atlantic’s Maxwell Charnin struck out four in three innings, South Dade’s Jimmy Galvis struck out three in three scoreless innings and Onelio Perdomo recorded two strikeouts over two innings.

Gold Team 3, Navy Team 1

A two-run fourth inning combined with strong pitching performances led the Gold Team D to a 3-1 victory over the NAVY Team C in Sunday night’s finale.

With hits at a premium against a seemingly endless stream of talented arms, the Gold club scored a pair of unearned runs to add to its early lead with the deciding margin. Varela’s Andres Artola and Archbishop McCarthy’s AJ Hendricks both reached on errors to start the top of the fourth inning, with Artola crossing the plate as Hendricks cruised into second base on a throwing error. Two batters later, John I. Leonard’s Angel Diaz singled to left field to drive in Hendricks for a 3-0 lead.

The Gold squad grabbed the lead right away in the first inning. Doral Academy’s Erick Orbeta reached on an error and then came home thanks to an RBI double from Santaluces’ MJ Restivo that split the left-center field gap. Team D held the lead the rest of the way, even despite low offensive production that saw only one more hit on a bunt single from Orbeta in the fifth.

Palmetto’s Matthew Turner set the tone on the mound for the Gold, throwing two scoreless innings and striking out five batters while throwing 16 of 22 pitches for strikes. Tuner’s only base runner allowed came on an error leading off the second, and he managed to work around the threat to keep the Navy team off the scoreboard.

Team C ended the shutout in the fifth. Belen Jesuit’s Humberto Torres doubled into the left field corner and Westminster Christian’s Devin Roche drove him in with an RBI double to right field. That was as close as they got as Gulliver Prep’s Adrian Del Castillo single in the eighth was the Navy team’s only other base runner the rest of the way.

Cypress Bay’s Jake Walker helped keep the Gold staff sizzling hot by striking out the side in the fourth. John I. Leonard’s Angel Diaz, MJ Restivo and Somerset Charter Academy’s Edsel Vichot all tossed perfect 1-2-3 innings, Monsignor Pace’s Brandon Cruz added a scoreless frame and Archbishop McCarthy’s Adam Tulloch and West Boca’s Alex Cordero both had two strikeouts in their respective inning of work.

The Navy team also received outstanding pitching that was hurt by three unearned runs. Six different hurlers threw perfect frames, including iMater’s James Montoya, Suncoast’s Tyler Lavery, Lakewood Ranch’s Devin Wall, Mater Academy’s Joe Soto, Fort Lauderdale’s Argelio Morejon and South Dade’s Ricardo Sobalvarro. The staff recorded 13 consecutive outs to end the game and give the offense a chance to respond, starting from Nova’s Trace Moore recording a strikeout to end the fifth and culminating with Sobalvarro punching out the final batter in the top of the ninth.

2016 HSBN POWER SHOWCASE champion Albert Hernandez with POWER SHOWCASE president Brian Domenico.

Dinner & Derby Gallery

Archbishop McCarthy freshman Albert Hernandez entered the championship round of Friday’s home run derby knowing exactly what he needed to do in order to claim the title. With just two outs remaining the young slugger connected on a long shot to left field that sailed over the fence at Paul Demie Mainieri Field at St. Thomas University, and just like that Hernandez accomplished his goal.

Hernandez narrowly edged West Boca junior Alex Cordero 3-2 to win the crown in Friday night’s HSBN POWER SHOWCASE derby, which kicked off the All-American weekend festivities that will continue Saturday at St. Thomas before moving to Alex Rodriguez Park at the University of Miami on Sunday. Hernandez also earned four of the five awards for his performance, adding the awards for the most consecutive, most preliminary round and most overall home runs.

Hernandez also earned himself a complimentary invitation to the eleventh annual International POWER SHOWCASE, which will be held at Miami Marlins Park December 27-30th.

“Coming out and winning this here with the crowd we had tonight was a great feeling,” Hernandez said. “It was relieving to hit that because I was kind of nervous at first because I was already at eight outs with only two home runs and I thought I wouldn’t get the third one up there. But I pulled through and got the third one out and it happened. It was nerve-wracking because almost everybody in it is older than me and there are only a few other guys in my grade here.”

Royal Palm Beach senior Tarik Latchmansingh earned the other award for the longest home run, a blast that traveled 400 feet and helped him advance to the championship round with three first-round longballs. Alex Cordero had four in the opening round and six overall, and Columbus’ Albert Espinosa, Westminster Christian’s Luis Aviles and Monsignor Pace’s Brandon Cruz all also advanced to the final round with three homers each.

Hernandez was one of the final hitters to take his turn in the preliminary round, where he then put on a show with five “no-doubter” drives to move himself to the top of the leaderboard heading into the finals.

“I was anxious to get into that batter’s box, but it was fun watching everyone else hit and get their hacks in too and see how far they hit the ball,” Hernandez said. “It was a fun show to watch, not just saying so about myself. In all it was a great experience to be a part of and hopefully those swings carry on going into the combine and the games tomorrow. I just hope for the best tomorrow and I wish everybody luck.”

The event was the perfect experience to start off the weekend. POWER SHOWCASE President Brian Domenico worked the two-wheeled jugs pitching machine in an open-bat format all night, while volunteer catchers Jonathan Roach and Juaquin Monque split time behind the plate and numerous volunteers shagged fly balls for each of the 22 participants. After arriving for a complimentary dinner followed by team meetings and jersey presentations, participants and their families were treated to the derby that capped off the evening.

The first High School Baseball Network All-American Weekend kicks off tonight with what shapes up to be a thrilling home run derby presented by the POWER SHOWCASE World Classic. Prior to participating in workouts and games later on this weekend, a collection of 18 talented sluggers will compete in the prestigious derby.

Over the past eleven years the POWER SHOWCASE has evolved to provide one of the best amateur baseball experiences around, allowing ball players from all ages to showcase their tools and talents. The POWER SHOWCASE World Classic is an elite competition in a Major League stadium at Miami Marlins Park in front of an international audience. It is a terrific vehicle for player’s careers that creates positive lasting memories for everyone involved. Current professional stars like Bryce Harper, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo have previously taken part in the POWER SHOWCASE.

“This is the third HSBN derby that we have done together, and I am very excited to be a part of the tremendous growth of HSBN and the addition of the All American Weekend,” Domenico said. “HSBN does an incredible job of promoting players and they are going above and beyond to maximize the exposure to college coaches through this event.”

Friday’s derby serves as a mini-showcase that will also bring out the voice of HSBN, Luis Perez announcing and running the scoreboard just as he will for the events all weekend long.

Participants will hit off a two-wheeled jugs pitching machine in an open-bat format, which means the old BESR bats are allowed. POWER SHOWCASE founder and President Brian Domenico will feed the machine baseballs all night, as he typically does at the showcases each year. Each player will receive 13 outs in the preliminary round, with the top three moving on to the finals. The finalists will receive 10 outs each.

2015 World Champion Justin Farmer swings away in the derby championship round.

Tonight, there will be five award certificates handed out for longest home run, consecutive home runs, most homers hit during preliminary round, and overall home run total. The overall winner of Friday’s derby gets an automatic invitation to the 11th annual POWER SHOWCASE World Classic at Marlins Park from December 27-30th.

For those who were not able to secure their spot in the HSBN Derby tonight, or do not win, all is not lost. There are still a few spots available in the Babe Ruth Classic game for players in the 2019-2020 classes. If interested contact Brian Domenico at (561) 271-7247 or powershowcase@att.net.

Tonight, players will arrive early throughout the evening tonight for welcome dinners and meetings with their coaches, as the first step in the schedule of weekend events. The weekend will then ramp up the energy and excitement heading into Saturday’s workouts and Sunday’s games.

Leading the group of contenders is Royal Palm Beach senior Tarik Latchmansingh, whose 13 career high school home runs leads the field of contenders. Latchmansingh has also previously participated in several POWER SHOWCASE events and has experience hitting off the pitching machine. West Boca’s Alex Cordero and McArthur’s Jack Bermudez have also shown strong power numbers in their high school careers and could threaten for the title. Yet nothing is guaranteed and anything is possible for the hitters who swing away aiming for the fences at Paul Demie Mainieri Field at St. Thomas University.

HSBN Power Showcase Home Run Derby Participants and order of Appearance:

1, Ricardo Sobalvarro – South Dade – 3B/P – Class of 2017
2. Albert Espinosa – Columbus – C/1B – Class of 2019
3. Jose Lima – Coral Shores – 3B/1B – Class of 2017
4. Maxwell Romero – Pembroke Pines Charter – C/OF – Class of 2019
5. Alex Cordero – West Boca – 1B/P – Class of 2018
6. Tarik Latchmansingh – Royal Palm Beach – 3B/1B – Class of 2017
7. Andrew Fernandez – Heritage Christian – 2019
8. Luis Aviles – Westminster Christian – C/OF – Class of 2017
9. David Munoz – Homestead – C/3B – Class of 2018
10. Jefferson Casillas – Apopka – 2019
11. Santos Grande – Monsignor Pace – 3B/1B – Class of 2017
12.Brandon Cruz – Monsignor Pace – 1B/DH – Class of 2017
13. Kristopher Soto – Florida Christian – 2018
14. Nick Deegan – Palmetto – OF/3B – Class of 2017
15. Cameron Husing – Atlantic – C/1B – Class of 2017
16. Jack Bermudez – McArthur – 3B/1B – Class of 2017
17. Josue Zuany – Pompano Beach – 2020
18. Robert Moya – iMater – 2020

Photo Gallery

Lafayette manager Tim Hanson could not believe the incredible journey his team had just completed. Making its second appearance in the state tournament in the past three seasons, the Hornets accomplished the ultimate goal by winning the championship. Behind a complete-game shutout from starter Zach Yeager Lafayette won 2-0 over Chiefland in the Class 1A state championship Thursday night at jetBlue Park in Fort Myers.

Two years ago the club was blanked in a mercy-rule defeat to be sent home in the semifinal, and that same group had fallen just short in returning last season. This year featured a different group, and although the expectations were not placed on them to do so, they found their groove and boogied all the way to a celebration dance holding the state trophy.

“We always look to the state tournament, certainly, but I did not see this coming,” Hanson said. “To watch the kids at the end of the game is priceless. You’ll never be able to replace that. The community really traveled down too. It’s about a five hour drive to come here but the people decided to come out and watch.”

With only five seniors and just as many underclassmen on the squad, Lafayette (23-6) lacked the experience of the previous few squads. But that did not stop this group from working together to reach their goal.

“We started off pretty good and got into district play, where Madison moved down into our district and they beat us 16-1 in two games,” Hanson said. “We ended up coming back and beating them in the district tournament. It was the same rotation: Micah Byrd got us to the championship game and Zach won it. Then we went first round with Micah in the regionals and Zach finished it up, first round in states with Micah and Zach finished it up. We stayed with it and it worked. But it’s been a journey, no doubt.”

A night after winning big over Central to advance to the state championship for the second time in program history, it was Yeager’s turn to finish the job and complete the dream. The right-hander proved up to the task by working efficiently to stymie the Indians’ lineup. Yeager scattered three hits and four walks and struck out a pair, including a strikeout against the final batter that ended the night and triggered the celebration.

Lafeyette's Zach Yeager threw a complete-game shutout.

Following a Gatorade shower compliments of his excited players, Hanson could not help but grin and enjoy the moment his guys had earned for themselves.

“The kids are great,” Hanson said. “They work their butts off and they are great kids too. I know the community is very proud of them. Not only do they come to practice every day and work but they are super kids. I love being around them. Win or lose tonight I was going to be just as proud.”

Those fans that made the journey were rewarded with an early lead that helped fuel the excitement. In the bottom of the second inning Calb Land reached on an infield single, Bryson Bracewell dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move him to second and Coley Hingson pushed Land to third after getting the ball on the ground to the right side for a 4-3 groundout. Kayne Hurst then delivered a single up the middle to send Land the final 90 feet home for a 1-0 lead.

Backed with a lead, Yeager excelled at getting fly balls that were easily handled by his defense. Chiefland (24-5) had 14 flyouts and struggled to get any offense going.

The Hornets added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth. Byrd walked and was replaced by pinch-runner Kerby Hanson. Kerby stole second base and then raced around and scored thanks to an RBI single up the middle from Mason Herring.

The Lions dogpile to celebrate their 2015 state championship.

Oviedo made school history by winning the Class 7A state championship on Thursday evening. The Lions dispatched Sarasota 9-5 to earn their place in history, setting off a raucous celebration on the field at jetBlue Park in Fort Myers. It was Oviedo’s first time in the state championship, after falling in the semifinal round in four previous appearances dating back to its first trip to states in 1986.

The Lions (27-5) broke things open with two outs in the top of the first inning. Ty Powell and Ryan Anderson were both hit by pitches, and catcher JJ Woodard delivered a double to center field to push both players home and get the scoring started. Corey Shearer came in to run for Woodard, and he quickly advanced into scoring position thanks to a single from Christian Arroyo. Austin Parker followed with an RBI single to drive home Shearer, and Shane Miller added an RBI single to plate Arroyo and give Oviedo a 4-0 advantage.

Oviedo increased its lead in the top of the fifth. Woodard singled to left field, and Arroyo jumped on a 2-0 offering and crushed it over the Green Monster for a two-run home run and a 6-1 lead.

The club continued to pound away to put things out of reach with three more runs in the sixth. Shane Miller singled to begin the inning, and then moved to second on the strength of a sacrifice bunt from Cameron Peppiatt. Deacon Liput put runners on the corners with a ground-ball single to right field, and Ty Powell singled to left to drive in Miller. Carlos Cortes sent a fly ball to center for a sac-fly that pushed Liput across the plate, and an Anderson single allowed Powell to come in and push the lead to 9-1.

Sarasota (20-11) got on the scoreboard with a run in the bottom of the second. Nick Long worked a leadoff walk, Carson Kyser followed suit and then gave way to courtesy-runner Kyle McMullen. Adam Imwalle loaded the bases on a single to center, and Matt Schlabach deposited an RBI single on a liner to left that drove in Long for the Sailors’ first run of the contest.

Cameron Peppiatt picked up the win with five gritty innings on the mound.

True to the grit the team has shown all throughout its playoff run this year, Sarasota continued to battle back even after falling into a very deep hole. Imwalle and Schlabach both singled to start the bottom of the sixth, with Imwalle then coming home on an RBI groundout from Aidan Wolfe. Frey came through with an RBI single that plated Schlabach and kept the pressure going, and Cody Brickhouse increased that pressure when he lined a double just fair along the left field line for a double that pushed Frey across the plate.

Arroyo came up with another big play for his team that ended the threat, as he tracked down a pop fly in front of the first base dugout to make the catch even despite colliding with Woodard in the process.

Peppiatt picked up the win on the mound for Oviedo, working through five innings while scattering six hits and four walks and picking up three strikeouts. Although the Sailors threatened to get back into the game several times, Peppiatt was able to work out of trouble and hand a big lead off to reliever Nick Logan.

Logan also faced some adversity as the tenacious Sailors continued to battle to the very end. Down to its final out in the bottom of the seventh, Schlabach continued to give Sarasota hope by connecting for a double to deep to left field. Arauz came through with an RBI single to right field that allowed Schlabach to score, but Logan induced a fly ball to Cortez in center field for the final out that sealed the victory.

The Conquerors' Josh Broughton scores during a four-fun first inning that paved the way to the championship victory.

Championship Gallery

The Trinity Christian Conquerors showed from the very start that they were in it to win it. Behind a hot start and a strong pitching performance from Ryan Aspinwall, Trinity Christian edged Bishop Verot to claim the Class 4A state title early Wednesday morning at jetBlue Park in Fort Myers. Due to weather delays, the contest began three hours past its original start time at 10:30 Tuesday night, leading to a celebration that did not come until one o’clock in the morning.

It is the first state championship in program history. The Conquerors (23-8) were playing in their second championship, having also reached the title game in 2000.

Bishop Verot had battled back with a run in the seventh when Trevor Cramer doubled and scored on an RBI single from Richie Nizza. With the tying run at the plate, reliever Rollin Layton induced an infield grounder for the final out that sealed the victory.

Trinity Christian went right to work with four runs in the top of the first inning. John Flowers led off the game with a single to center, and Austin Martin moved him into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Flowers then came home to start the scoring when Logan Nugent reached on an infield error. Andrew Williamson drew a walk and the Conquerors plated another unearned run on an error following a single from John Broughton.

With the pressure on Bishop Verot (25-7) and starter Thaddeus Ward, Williamson increased the dial by swiping third base. Rollin Layton dropped down a sacrifice bunt that drove Williamson home, and he ducked under the tag along the first base line to keep things going. Cody Crawford followed with a single to left field that plated Broughton and gave Trinity Christian a 4-0 advantage.

Staked to a lead, Aspinwall kept the momentum on his side of the field with a 1-2-3 bottom of the first. The right-hander attacked the Vikings without fear, challenging batters and trusting the defense behind him. The senior worked into the seventh inning, allowing one earned run while scattering five hits and two walks. He recorded three strikeouts on 95 total pitches, before giving way to Layton in the final inning.

The Conquerors increased their lead in the top of the sixth. Crawford drew a leadoff walk, Brooks Wilson singled and Austin Martin was intentionally walked to load the bases. Nugent drove a liner past first base and into the right field corner, driving in two runners with a double.

The Vikings finally got on the scoreboard to cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the sixth. CJ Alexander reached on an error, Richie Nizza drew a walk and Michael Richey reached on a fielder’s choice that loaded the bases. Courtesy-runner Dalton Lagrave came in to run for Richey, while Anthony Tejeda stepped to the plate. The designated hitter delivered to end the shutout with an RBI single that pushed CJ Alexander home.

With the momentum now on their side, the Vikings kept attacking. Cory Castellano reached on a fielder’s choice that erased Nizza at third and brought Blaze Alexander to the plate. The third baseman delivered Bishop Verot’s biggest hit of the night with a liner to center field that scored two runs to pull within 6-3.

While the Conquerors bent late, they never lost the lead. The fire that started in the first inning continued to burn throughout the night and into the next morning. When the smoke finally cleared, Trinity Christian emerged with its first championship trophy and memories that will last forever.

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