9A State Baseball semis: West Orange and Alonso fall to nationally ranked teams

By Katherine Smith, Bright House Sports Network
Last Updated: Friday, May 20, 2016

There was a lot of talent on the field during the Class 9A state baseball semifinals.

The first game of the day featured the No. 1 nationally ranked Douglas Eagles vs. the No. 9 ranked West Orange Warriors. Douglas prevailed 3-2 in a tight contest.

The Eagles worked the bases early and a wild pitch from North Carolina commit Tyler Baum scored the first run.

West Orange responded in the bottom of the first when Nathan Schreckengost's RBI single down the right field line scored Kole Enright to tie the game at 1-all.

Douglas retook the lead in the fourth. John McKenna lined a shot to centerfield and one run scored to put the Eagles up 2-1.

The game was filled with drama. In the bottom of the fifth, West Orange's Deandre Shelton hit a deep shot to center field, but there was a controversial call when he was picked off at second.

Later in the inning, Doug Nickhazy drilled one to right/center for a double. Then with two outs and runners in the corners, a chance to tie it up. But Douglas third baseman Ivan Nunez makes a great stop and throw to first baseman McKenna and the inning and scoring threat was over.

Down 3-1 in bottom of the sixth, Warriors' Chris Seise cut the lead to one with an RBI double off the green monster. But that's as close as the Warriors would get.

In the other 9A semi, nationally ranked No. 35 Columbus battled the Alonso Ravens, one of three Tampa teams in the tourney.

Columbus won the 8A title last year and they were aiming to advance to the 9A championship game. The Explorers needed some drama of their own to beat Alonso 2-1.

Columbus scored first on a fielding error and then load the bases. But Alonso's Jordan Butler got the Ravens out of the game with a strikeout.

Alonso answered in the bottom of the sixth. A Columbus throwing error scored Mike Paule and the game was tied at 1-all.

In the top of seventh, with Alonso in trouble, Columbus with a runner on third. A squeeze bunt broke up the tie and sent the Explorers to the title game.

Columbus will play Douglas for the 9A championship LIVE on BHSN (Channel 47/HD 1147) Saturday at 4 p.m.