|Calvary Christian junior Cameron Barrier entered in the seventh inning with the game tied and worked the final four outs as the Warriors topped Carrollwood Day 5-4, in extra innings to claim the team’s 50th win in-a-row.|
By Jarrett Guthrie
TAMPA – Finding a way to win. Calvary Christian has made the idea a habit for the better part of two years and no matter the test, the team seems to find a way to answer the bell.
Friday night on the road at Carrollwood Day School, the Warriors faced a test from the Patriots and answered again, and again finding a way to win – this time for in incredible 50th time in-a-row, claiming a 5-4, eight-inning victory.
“It’s just the fight we have … you see it in all of the guys we have here, every single guy, every single at-bat – they battle,” Calvary Christian senior catcher Matheu Nelson said. “Even our bench players come in and are red-hot and we saw it tonight. It doesn’t matter whether it’s defensively or offensively, we just battle every pitch.”
Carrollwood Day (15-2) tied the game in the seventh when junior Dillon Baker went up and after a full-count fastball and sent it back up the middle to score courtesy runner Shelton Quarles, Jr.
Dillon Baker’s game-tying, two out, full count single in B7 pic.twitter.com/t6FekcDchT
— 813Preps (@813Preps) April 14, 2018
In search of a hero, the Warriors found some key hits from the bottom of its lineup.
Calvary Christian (20-0) answered immediately in extra-innings as Sam Gordon (who entered as a pinch hitter in the sixth) led off the eighth with a double down the first base line and was immediately cashed in by Tommy White, who traded places with Gordon with a line drive double just over the CDS right fielder’s glove to plate the eventual decider.
“I wanted that bad, I wanted to put the ball somewhere,” White said. “I got the bunt sign (with one strike) and couldn’t get the job done there, but luckily he gave me a 3-2 fastball and left it a little bit on the outside … and I put a good, hard swing on it and poked it to right field.”
White’s entered the game in a bit of a funk at the plate, collecting just eight hits on the season thus far. In fact in the sixth inning, White himself was replaced by a pinch-hitter before being re-entered in the bottom half of the inning to man third base. The RBI, just his fourth of the season, was a proud moment for the freshman who said he watched the team’s undefeated, state championship run last year as an eighth grader and hoped to find a way to have an impact on the team this year.
“I was an eighth grader last year and saw all the games as they won a championship and thought, ‘man this is unbelievable,’” White said. “I’ve been struggling lately, so to have that chance, to have that at-bat and get that ball into right field, it’s just so good to come through for our team.”
Early on in the game, a Matheu Nelson’s RBI sac fly and a Justin Bench RBI single broke the scoreless tie in the third inning, but CDS answered with three runs in the fifth as Andre Hevesy hit a two-out, RBI single to right-center and the Patriots added another on a wild pitch in the inning.
|Carrollwood Day senior Rodrigo Montenegro (No. 5) and senior Zach Watts (1) celebrate after both scored on Andre Hevesy’s fifth-inning single to tie the game at 2-2.|
Calvary Christian leapfrogged the Patriots on the scoreboard in the sixth as a costly throwing error allowed the tying run to cross, on what would have been the third out at first base, and Nelson followed with an RBI single later in the inning.
Matheu Nelson singles in a run thru SS to give Calvary Christian a 4-3 lead pic.twitter.com/5CMQKjpW6s
— 813Preps (@813Preps) April 14, 2018
Baker’s tying hit in the seventh had a chance to swing momentum to the Patriots side, but Calvary had one last bit of “battle” left to get the win. However, Nelson said he knows his team weathered a big test, and it took a strong will to come away with the win Friday.
|Calvary Christian senior Matheu Nelson was
2-for-3 with two RBI in the Warriors
“That was probably one of the toughest games we’ve had (in the last two years), other than our game against St. Petersburg last year that went into nine innings, and both of our games against Northside Christian (over the last two seasons),” Nelson said. “… We’ve never had a team come at us like that, but our team never slept, our team never got down and we just kept going right back at them.”
Junior righty Cameron Barrier worked the final 1 1/3 innings to earn the win, facing the minimum and get his first win of the season.
Carrollwood Day got a good start on the mound from senior Frank Furey (4-1), striking out seven and allowing four runs (two earned) over 5 2/3 innings, and Hevesy went the rest of the way getting tagged with the loss allowing just two hits but the deciding run. Senior Kyle Benedict made some excellent plays manning the gaps in centerfield as the Patriots gave Calvary its third extra-inning challenge of the season.
“It was a phenomenal game,” Carrollwood Day head coach Ken Akins said. “They’ve won 50 games in-a-row for a reason, they don’t stop and our boys battled.”
The loss for the Patriots snaps a 14-game win streak, and CDS will have to quickly rebound as they have big district test against Cambridge Christian on the road Tuesday.