Christ’s Church’s Season Ends in 2A Semifinals
The Trinity Christian Warriors had no trouble taking care of business Wednesday afternoon and evening. The Warriors scored early, waited out a 2.5 hour rain delay, and then themselves poured it on in an 11-0 2A semifinal win over Christ’s Church.
“We hit the ball well today, and made all the plays we needed to,” said Warriors Manager Miguel Cuello. “We had a plan coming in for the pitching if we had weather, as the bad weather was anticipated, and we carried out that plan.”
Part of that plan was to start junior Angel Tiburcio. The Warriors’ ace did not disappoint, throwing two innings, striking out four, and giving up only one hit.
While Tiburcio was shutting down the Eagles, Trinity’s offense started the game on fire. Jorge Zambrano drew a walk leading off the game, followed by a Bertram Murray single, bringing Tiburcio to the plate. What happened next was something not seen often in the state playoffs.
Tiburcio hit a fly ball to shallow center that Eagles center-fielder Ander Hollis appeared to catch. Hollis then dropped the ball in the exchange from his glove to throwing hand. The field umpire, however, ruled that Hollis never had the ball secured.
The center-fielder threw in to second base, where Zambrano was tagged out. Shortstop Josh McDonough then stepped on the bag, forcing out Murray, and threw to first baseman Trey Higginbotham to get Tiburcio, who had stopped running, thinking he was out on the fly ball. The end result was a triple play, and the game remained scoreless.
“This is the 12th year of our program,” said Eagles manager Kurt Dugan. “And that was the first triple play we have turned.”
The play was a brief deterrent for the Warriors offense.
In the second, David Yourke hit a one-out single, and when Lernix Williams walked, Trinity was back in business. A passed ball moved Yourke and designated runner Jose Santiago to second and third. Tyler Hall promptly launched a triple to the gap, and when he scored on a wild pitch, the Warriors had a 3-0 lead.
At that point, the sky opened up, and the teams were pulled off the field for a lightning delay. When play finally resumed hours later, Cuello was set to put the second part of his pitching plan in effect.
“I was supposed to pitch tomorrow,” said Zambrano, who was told he would be taking over for Tiburcio when the game resumed. “It gave me time to prepare when the coaches told me I was going in. It actually was too much time to sit and think about it.”
In the third, the Trinity offense put the game away, exploding for six runs and suddenly held a 9-0 lead. The big blows in the inning were back-to-back doubles by Tiburcio and Kaeber Rog.
Williams gave the Warriors the two runs they needed to end the game in the fourth, with a single up the middle, scoring Tiburcio and Rog.
Trinity will now move into the championship game on Thursday night against their namesake, Trinity Christian from Deltona.
For the players that returned from the championship team a year ago, the familiarity of the situation is becoming the norm.
“We just wanted to come out here and play our best game,” said Murray. “This year was a new year, but we wanted to make sure we played our best game today.”