North-Central Florida High School Baseball
Gardyn Web

Wesley Chapel Turned Back In State Semifinal By Jesuit

The Wildcats were left searching for answers against the Jesuit Tigers, in an 11-1 loss in the 5A state semifinal.

Box Score

For the Wesley Chapel Wildcats, history was made before they ever even arrived to the state Final Four at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers. The Wildcats achieved their season goals and set a new program record in advancing this far through the state playoffs, a run that ended on Friday morning in an 11-1 defeat to the Jesuit Tigers.

Jesuit went on to win its seventh state title on Saturday, defeating the American Heritage Patriots with a 5-2 decision.

“It’s one of those things where you show up to play a baseball game and things don’t go your way. Today was kind of that day,” Wesley Chapel Manager Tripp Merrell said. “But I’m proud of them. Everybody wants to get here in the entire state, but our goal was to get further than anybody ever has at our school. It was to win a regional semifinal, which we did. We won the next game for the regional finals, then we showed up here. I don’t think we outplayed our abilities, but it is definitely a learning experience for everybody here.”

The Wildcats finish the season 20-11, while reaching the state tournament for the first time. They also won their first regional title to advance, after also winning a regional semifinal for the first time. Now the focus going forward will be to get back here and win that first state game.

“It was a young team to even start the year, as far as people getting varsity reps as a whole,” Merrell said. “If you look at our lineup today, there are eight sophomores and freshmen in it, and two seniors with a slew of senior pitchers. It’s a good program and if they keep working their butts off they will get where they need to be.”

The Tigers pressured with runners on base in every inning.

The first two batters of the game both recorded base hits to immediately strike a spark for the Wildcats. Dylan Pabon singled to center and JoJo Guevara sent a base hit to left that put runners on the corners. Mills Carillo then supplied a ground ball that went for a 6-3 RBI ground out and a 1-0 Wildcat lead.

“All year it has either been win an inning or answer back. Those are the two statements that we make,” Merrell said. “So we won an inning, we held an inning, so win the next inning and answer back from there. I think we had good at bats all day, it was just the crooked numbers they put on that were the killer.”

Jesuit took control in the second, taking the lead with a pair of runs. The Tigers added a run in the third, before breaking things open with a seven-run third inning. It only took one final run in the fifth to walk things off via the mercy rule.

Jordi Dominguez was 1-for-2 for the Wildcats.

Eli Chana made the start for the Wildcats. Heading into the contest he focused on keeping his normal routine, despite the grand stage and intimidating environment.

“I was just really nervous at first, being a sophomore in a big game and our school had never made it this far before,” Chana said. “Usually I just get my arm loose, get my legs loose and throw a couple different weighted balls. I don’t go super long during warmups; I usually just do short distance. Then I reflect on my bullpen and pray, and thank God for everything he has done for me. Then I get to it in the bullpen and get out there. Then I came out there and pitched good. But I came out in the second inning and we made a couple of errors and it kind of fell apart from there.”

It was a tough day defensively for the Wildcats, who committed five errors total. Led by a deep roster of 17 seniors, the Tigers showed their experience by not committing any errors.

Catcher Adam Leatourneau.

With much of the roster so young and set to return for the seasons ahead, the experience from this playoff run could serve as valuable motivation for next year and beyond. While this team certainly knows how difficult it is to get this far through the playoffs, they also know it can be done.

“That is the thing about Florida baseball is you can’t take anything for granted,” Merrell said. “So, the experience of the hotel and being able to have a college-like experience before you get there is awesome. Because that is the goal for most of these guys that play. For the young guys, as long as they keep putting the work in then it is one of those things that they are going to primed and ready to go. Now, will the ball bounce their way? We don’t know. But this year, they put in what they did and the future is very bright.”

Leave a comment using your facebook account!

Today's Games
Latest Scores
No games today!
Teams» Players
Player Search» College Signees» College Prospects»
Schedule» Stats Leaders
Batting Leaders» Pitching Leaders» Batting Stats Table» Pitching Stats Table» Team Batting Stats» Team Pitching Stats»
Skills Leaders
Top GPA» Top Batting Exit Velocity» Top 60 Times» Top 30 Times»
Power Rankings» Player Honors
All-HSBN Teams» All-District Teams» Senior All-Star Teams»
Team Admin» High School Baseball Network HSBN Websites
HSBN Broward» HSBN Jacksonville» HSBN Miami-Dade» HSBN North Central Florida» HSBN Orlando» HSBN Palm Beach» HSBN Panhandle» HSBN Southwest Florida» HSBN Space Coast» HSBN Tampa Bay» HSBN Leagues» HSBN Tournaments»
HSBN Stats Leaders
Batting Leaders» Pitching Leaders»
HSBN Skills Leaders
Highest GPA» Best Batting Exit Velocity» Fastest 60 Times» Fastest 30 Times»
HSBN Power Rankings» HSBN Team Search» HSBN College Prospects» HSBN College Signees» HSBN Events Schedule»
Gardyn Web