Blue Wave baseball moves to regional finals with 5-1 win
Published: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 11:49 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 11:49 p.m.
A stellar pitching night from senior Justin Landers and some equally adept defense has P.K. Yonge moving on to the Class 3A, Region 1 finals after a 5-1 victory over Daytona Beach Father Lopez on Tuesday night at Booster Field.
With P.K. Yonge's season in jeopardy, Landers came through for the Blue Wave when it mattered most.
The senior pitcher faced a bases-loaded situation with no outs in the fifth inning when a key defensive play from P.K. Yonge ended the Green Wave's momentum with what at first appeared to be a triple play.
A sharply hit ball to first baseman Evan Wilder was nearly caught, freezing Father Lopez's runners. Wilder dropped the baseball, before throwing home for a force out. P.K. Yonge catcher Fletcher Simmons then threw to third base to force out Nick Restuccia. Next, the ball was thrown to second base where Restuccia was tagged out for a second time, causing confusion among the fans at Booster Field.
First-year Green Wave coach Trevor Berryhill trotted out and made his case to the umpire crew, who after deliberating, ruled the force outs at home and third, and called the P.K. Yonge players back onto the field.
“What they did was they tagged my guy out again. He was already out at third, so I went and explained that to them, and they got together and they made the right call. Was it a crazy play? It was one of the craziest plays I've ever seen.”
P.K. Yonge coach Brian Simmons praised the umpire crew for making a correct call despite the confusion.
“We got the same guy out twice,” Simmons said.
With runners on first and second, Landers came back out to the mound and erased the controversy with a strikeout to finish the inning.
“That's why I got him over here and I just settled him down because we thought we had a triple play,” Simmons said. “I just had to tell him the situation, ‘Hey, we went from bases loaded and no outs, and now we got first and second with two outs. This is a fine situation.' … Throw strikes, and he did exactly that and shut the door.”
After hitting a two-run homer in last Wednesday's regional quarterfinal win over Oviedo Master's Academy, junior center fielder Sean Kamhoot again came up big for the Blue Wave, driving in two runs with a double in the first inning and also scoring on a passed ball in the fifth. Third baseman Cody Reeves drove in two runs in the third inning with a bases-loaded single.
Father Lopez's lone run came on a deep home run to left field by Lorenzo Boden in the fourth, but the visiting team couldn't get much going against Landers, who struck out eight Green Wave batters in six innings of work.
The Blue Wave (25-4) will now go on the road to face Jacksonville Providence on Friday, their first regional final appearance in 10 years. A win there and P.K. Yonge advances to state.
“It's huge for us,” Simmons said. “It's huge for the school. Whatever happens in the regional final, I couldn't be more proud of this group.”
Father Lopez's season ends at 14-10.