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1st photo courtesy of Lake Brantley High School _ Logan Warmoth jumps on top of the ‘dog pile’ after Lake Brantley wrapped up its fourth State Baseball Championship Saturday night.
Quite simply, Lake Brantley baseball is the best.
The Patriots never trailed in Ft. Myers as they dominated both games in the 2013 FHSAA Class 8A State Finals at jetBlue Park to win their fourth State Baseball Championship.
The title makes Lake Brantley the all-time leader in all of Central Florida for State Championships, breaking a tie with Deltona-Trinity Christian, coached by former Sanford Youth Baseball player, Bryan Maples, which lost in the Class 2A State Championship Game on Friday and Orlando High, which is no longer in existence.
This was the seventh Final 4 appearance for the Patriots since 1989 and Lake Brantley is now 4-0 all-time in State Championship Games.
The dominance of the Patriots (27-5), who were ranked No. 48 in the nation by MaxPreps, was a little amazing considering that neither of their starting pitchers, Mitchell Jordan in the semifinals and Bryce Tucker in the Championship Game, had anywhere near their best stuff, but were still more than their opponents could handle.
Lake Brantley scored all of its runs in the second inning and Mitchell scattered seven hits and struck out five in a 4-0 victory over Jupiter (23-5), ranked No. 23 nationally, on Friday.
The Patriots then built a 6-0 lead after three innings and never looked back as Tucker also hurled a seven-hitter and allowed just two earned runs in an 8-3 victory over Durant (25-6) from Plant City in Saturday’s Championship Game televised live on the Bright House Sports Network.
Second Year Head Coach Eric Entrekin won his first state title after being an assistant on the 1997 State Championship Team and he was assisted by Eddie Doyle and Brad Rigby, who was the pitching star for the Patriots’ first state title team in 1990. Lake Brantley also won in 2008.
Making up the roster were:
Seniors _ Logan Blum, Damon Haecker, Mick Tinny, Dalton Cuff, Zach Krider, Nick Knarr, Kurt Prast and Mitchell Jordan; Juniors _ Tate Blackman, AJ Makarewicz, Logan Warmoth, Carl Chester, Chase Haecker, Michael Jenks and Roberto Shields-Rodriguez; Sophomores _ Stephen Wells, Bryce Tucker and Casey Sutherland.
Here is a recap of the games:
Friday, May 17
PATRIOTS 4, WARRIORS 0
Mitchell Jordan worked out of a two-on, one-out situation in the second and a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the fourth as he improved to 11-1 on the season as Lake Brantley posted its 13th shutout of the season in a 4-0 victory over Jupiter (23-5) in the Semifinals on Friday.
The game was decided in the top of the second as Logan Blum led off for the Patriots and reached on a throwing error by the shortstop on a tough play from the hole between short and third.
Blum advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Nick Knarr before scoring on a single to left by Tate Blackman, the fourth Blackman brother to start for Lake Brantley.
Blackman then broke on the pitcher’s first move and stole second as he beat a throw from the first baseman to second base.
After an out, Mick Tinny reached on an error off another tough play as his grounder toward right went off the second baseman’s glove, allowing Blackman to score.
Damon Haecker then lined a single to right and Logan Warmoth followed with a ringing double into the leftfield corner to plate Chase Haecker with the fourth run of the inning.
Warmoth would also have another double to finish 2-for-4 with a pair of two-baggers and an RBI on the day.
Saturday, May 18
PATRIOTS 8, COUGARS 3
Lake Brantley (27-5) came out swinging against Durant (25-6) starter Charles Fowler (7-4) right off he first pitch and made life fairly easy for Bryce Tucker, who pitched out trouble the whole game to improve to 8-1 with a seven-hit, 8-3, victory.
The Cougars came into the game riding a 12-game winning streak, while Fowler had won his last five starts.
But none of that fazed the Patriots as after Damon Haecker lined out to deep center, Logan Warmoth singled to right and Carl Chester doubled into the leftfield corner before Zach Krider walked to load the bases.
Logan Blum was then hit by a pitch to score Warmoth and put Lake Brantley ahead for good.
Nick Knarr then hit a chopper to third that forced Krider, but Chester was able to cross the plate with the second run of the inning.
Durant’s best opportunity to get back into the game came in the bottom of the second inning as Paxton Sims led off with a double and moved on over to third when the throw from the outfield got away from the cutoff man.
But Tucker was up to the task, getting a strike out, a pop up to Dalton Cuff at first and fly out to Blum in short right to end the threat.
The Patriots carried the adrenaline into the top of the third inning.
Chester singled to center and Krider walked again, but Chester was retired on a very close play at third off a bunt by Blum.
Knarr hit a slow-roller to third for an RBI single to score Krider and Blackman followed with an RBI double to left center before Cuff hit a roller in the hole between short and third that ticked off the third baseman’s glove for a two-run single, plating Knarr and Blackman.
Despite throwing a lot of pitches, Tucker allowed only one hit through three innings.
But the Cougars finally mounted a threat in the fourth.
Luke Heyer led off with a double and advanced to third when Sims’ infield single to deep short was thrown away at first.
Fowler then lifted a sacrifice fly to right that scored a pinch-runner on a very close play at home on a strong throw to the plate by Blum that was just a little high.
A balk Moved Sims to third and he also scored on a sacrifice fly by Tyler Long.
Durant actually got the tying run to the plate in the fifth inning after Smith scored on a two-out single by Sims, but Tucker got a fly to end the threat and Lake Brantley put the game away.
Warmoth reached on an error to open the sixth, moved to second on a sacrifice by Chester and advanced to third on a grounder to second by Krider before scoring on a wild pitch.
The final run of the game came in the top of the seventh when Knarr led off with a double to left and pinch-runner Stephen Wells moved to third on a wild pitch before scoring on a sacrifice fly by Blackman.
Tucker, whose only loss this season was 1-0 to defending state champion Spruce Creek in which he threw a 3-hitter, quickly ended the game with three fly balls in the seventh, the first two to Chester in center and the final one to Warmoth in left off the bat of Cougars star Tyler Danish, who came into the game with a .430 batting average and nine home runs, but was 0-for-4 against Lake Brantley.
The early offense by the Patriots also kept Durant from putting Danish on the mound for the final three innings.
The University of Florida signee is generally considered the best pitcher in Florida after going 15-1 this season and not allowing an earned run in 93-innings, including a 6-0 shutout of Hialeah-American in Friday’s Semifinal.
Cuff ended the day four-for-four with two RBI, while Chester was three-for-three with a double and a run scored, Tinny was two-for-two and Knarr was two-for-four with a double, a run scored and two RBI.
Other contributors were Blackman (double, run, two RBI), Warmoth (single, two runs) and Krider, Blum and Wells (one run scored each).