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Seacrest Country Day Falls In State Semifinal Shootout

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The Seacrest Country Day Stingrays rode a powerful offense all the way back to the state tournament this season. Late Wednesday night the team relied on that offense in a shootout with Trinity Christian Deltona, but ultimately came a few swings short as the final outs came with runners on base. A fly ball to right field sealed the game as Trinity Christian held on with a 9-7 victory, in a 2A state semifinal at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.

With things tied up heading into the top of the seventh, the Eagles (21-8) erupted for four runs that made up the difference. The Stingrays refused to go down quietly and answered back with their final swings to keep hope alive. Andrew Miller and Joseph DiNorcia sandwiched walks around a base hit by Will Cialone to load the bases, where Luca Meyer connected for an RBI single and Cialone scored on a passed ball before the Eagles secured the final out.

“Nothing to hang your heads about in making it to the Final Four and having the tying run on second base and the winning run at first,” Seacrest manager George Reidy said. “It was a wild game. You really worry about trying to win this game and leaving everything on the table. If you don’t win this one then you don’t move on, and that’s what happened to us. We were real focused on this game and we did a good job of sticking with it after they got an early lead. Their pitcher did a real good job and he is really good one.”

The Stingrays grabbed the lead with their first swings in the bottom of the first. Starting pitcher Josue Rivera singled to left field, Matt DiNorcia reached on a fielder’s choice as Rivera slid in ahead of the throw to second base and Erick Chavez reached on an infield single deep to the shortstop to quickly load the bases. Andrew Miller then got Seacrest on the scoreboard the tough way by getting hit by a pitch, and Will Cialone sent a liner through the right side to drive in a pair for a 3-0 advantage.

Eagles starter Trent Brickhouse was determined to answer right back, as he battled through 12 pitches for a hard-earned walk. But Seacrest answered right back when first baseman Matt Hurley scooped up a roller, stepped on second and fired to shortstop Lenny Pieterzs, who applied the tag for the double play. Rivera followed that with a swinging strikeout to end the frame.

Seacrest then tacked on another run in the second. Meyer was hit by a pitch and Rivera singled through the left side of the infield defense to put two ducks on the pond. Matt DiNorcia put down a sacrifice bunt despite the defense crashing, but Brickhouse fielded it cleanly and threw to third base to erase the lead runner. Chavez then lined a shot deep to right field for an RBI double.

The Eagles got the bats going to take the lead in the fifth. Matthew Frasco walked and Colson Kicklighter singled to center field and then gave way to courtesy-runner Colt Hickson. A passed ball advanced both runners into scoring position, and Edel Morales lined an RBI single to left to put the Eagles on the scoreboard.

Trinity poured it on from there to go in front. Colin Curtis plated another with a fielder’s choice RBI, Danny Nugent walked and William Rosado delivered next with a two-RBI double. Nugent then tallied the go-ahead run off an error.

The Stingrays answered back to even things up again in the bottom of the sixth. Luca Meyer singled to center and was replaced on the bases by Kyle Kruk, who moved into scoring position on a passed ball. DiNorcia came through with a grounder through the right side and Kruk raced around third and slid safely across the plate ahead of the high throw to make it a 5-5 ball game.

With only three seniors graduating off of the roster, the team expects to return a large portion of the team next season. Seacrest has reached the state tournament three times in the past five years, and all signs point to this program only continuing to grow and evolve into a potential powerhouse. Reidy took over as manager from Mark Marsala, who remains involved with the program while also focusing on his position as the school’s Athletic Director. While the bar is already set pretty high following his first year at the helm, Coach Reidy is hopeful that this is only the beginning of bigger things to come.

“Coach Marsala has done a great job the past few years of upping the schedule, which I think really factors in,” Reidy said. “We played some real good teams like Archbishop McxCarthy, Belen Jesuit, University School twice, and teams form our coast like Estero, Naples, Mariner, Fort Myers, Cape Coral and Riverdale. So we’re really proud of the effort that the kids put forth and we have a great group. We lose three seniors and some big shoes to fill. But we have a nice middle school team and a real good junior varsity team. So we have some players who have the potential to continue this run of success.”

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