Explosive, 16-run inning pushes Jesuit by Osceola

Jesuit sophomore Kaden Waecther celebrates after driving in a pair to give Jesuit the lead in the midst of a 16-run fourth inning. 

By Jarrett Guthrie, Editor

TAMPA – For the second-straight region playoff game and third game-in-a-row, Jesuit’s baseball players found themselves staring down a crooked-number deficit heading into their fourth inning at-bats. On Tuesday, the Tigers answered the call against Cape Coral Island Coast bringing 12 batters to the plate and rebounding for a win.

Friday night, Jesuit again found itself in a hole trailing visiting Seminole Osceola by four runs.

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Behind in the fourth inning? No problem. The Tigers had been there before.

Fifty-five minutes later, they were in a very different spot.

“I have not been a part of a 16-run (inning) before,” Jesuit sophomore Cannon Murtagh said. “That was a first for me. I’ve also never had three plate appearances in an inning. I guess, there is a first time for everything.”

Murtagh did not misspeak in the postgame, as the Tigers sophomore stepped into the box three times in Jesuit’s monumental frame singling and scoring the first run, walking and scoring, and driving in the last run of a 16-4, five-inning mercy-rule win.

Cannon Murtagh slides into the plate, scoring Jesuit’s opening salvo in the fourth.

The victory sets up a rematch of last week’s district final as the Tigers will again host Parrish Community (winners on Friday, 7-1 against St. Pete Northeast) in the region final. In that previous meeting, the “cardiac cats” also had to erase a four-run hole, sneaking by the Bulls for district title win.

“I talked to (senior teammate) DJ Pirela (who scored two runs) after that third inning, and looked at him and said, ‘we’ve been here before,’” Murtagh said. “I wasn’t worried at all. The last two games – pretty similar situations, and I was confident our bats were going to get hot.

“No matter how many runs we are down, I’m confident we’re gonna come back and win ball games.”

Osceola starting pitcher Noah Ray.

On Friday, Osceola (19-8) senior starting pitcher Noah Ray mixed in a good slider with his fastball and held the Tigers to a single walk through the first three innings.

The right-hander worked three-plus, allowing just one hit, but gave up three runs, with three walks and three strikeouts before departing the mound in the fourth.

“He was spinning his slider really well,” Jesuit sophomore Kaden Waechter said of Ray. “He threw two or three different pitches for a strikes and kept us off balance. We just started working good ABs (in the fourth).”

Warriors sophomore Ethan Futch sends an RBI single to right. 

Osceola senior Noah Ray led off the second with a double and scored his team’s first run.

Offensively, Ray got the Warriors going in the second inning with a leadoff double down the line into left field, Sean Newton moved him over with a sac bunt, and Ethan Futch brought in the game’s first run with a sac fly to center.

Sam Newton drops down a sac bunt to move Noah Ray to third base, and set up the game’s first score.

Osceola built onto that with a two-run homer smoked to left by Vincent Ferrell, and another on a Tigers’ error.

Vincent Ferrell is mobbed by his Warriors teammates after his two-run homer in the third inning. 

Jesuit (23-6) sophomore Wilson Andersen, whose season was delayed due to injury until late March, got the tap for the start from Jesuit coach Miguel Menendez. He worked around a first-inning walk, before falling behind in the next two innings. However, the righty got a glove on a waist-high hop on a hot comebacker in the top of the fourth, turned and fired to the shortstop, Waechter, to start a 1-6-3 double play.

Wilson Andersen earned his third win of the season on the mound for Jesuit. 

A good play that swung momentum for the Tigers.

Leading off the bottom-half, Murtagh singled to left to start the onslaught, as Jesuit recorded seven hits, nine walks, two productive outs while facing six different Warriors pitchers. Waechter lined a single into right to score a pair, giving the Tigers the lead with a pair of RBI.

“It was simply one batter at a time,” Waechter said. “Honestly, we’ve done this the last two games. (Falling behind) is not fun for us in the dugout, but when we do, we are good at coming back.”

Senior Jack Clark is pumped after his RBI double.

The inning also featured RBI doubles from Jack Clark (2-for-3, three RBI, two runs) and Vincent DeCarlo (1-for-2, two RBI, BB), and a triple from Clark as well.

DeCarlo, the Tigers catcher, was the only starting player on his team who didn’t score … but only because senior Jackson Thomas factored in as the speed-up runner and was one of seven Jesuit players to score twice.

“Sixteen runs in a game? I’ve never seen anything like that,” Waechter said. “Osceola is a good team, but we’re ready for the next.”

After the big rally, Waechter (who also had an RBI groundout in the fourth) took over on the mound for Andersen (now 3-1 on the season; finishing his start with three earned on three hits, two walks, and with three strikeouts). Waechter worked fast, needing just 13 pitches to end the game early with a fly-out, and a pair of strikeouts in his lone inning of work.

Kaden Waechter fires in the game’s last pitch – a swinging strike – to wrap up a 16-4, comeback win.

Jesuit will host Parrish Community at 7pm on Monday, looking for its third-straight trip Fort Myers and the FHSAA state final four, after winning the 5A crown in 2022, and finishing as the state runner-up last season.

Class 5A-Region 3

Jesuit 16, Seminole Osceola 4 (5)

O 013|00x|x – |4|3|1
J  000|(16)xx|x – |16|7|1
W – Andersen (3-1); L – Ray
2B – Ray (O); Clark, DeCarlo (J); 3B – Clark (J); HR – Ferrell (O). Records – O (19-8); J (23-6).