Monday afternoon the Coral Springs Colts and the Taravella Trojans made the trip to Stoneman Douglas in Parkland for the 9A District 13 semi-finals, the winner of the game would play Thursday afternoon for the district championship. Heading into the match-up the Colts were the hottest team in Broward County, having won their past 10 games dating back to March 17th, ironically that loss came at Stoneman Douglas, only it was at the hands of the Eagles. As for the Trojans, despite getting the best of the Colts in two out of their three regular season meetings, they have gone a pedestrian 5-5 in the same stretch that the Colts are undefeated in. On the mound for the Colts was junior RHP Max Lazar (7-2) up against the Trojans’ sophomore LHP Preston Clark (6-1).
A three-run fourth inning was enough to propel the Colts to their 11th straight victory with a 3-1 win over the Trojans. Thursday, Coral Springs will play the winner of today’s district semi-final game between the Monarch Knights and the Stoneman Douglas Eagles in the 9A District 13 Championship.
After both teams left their fair share of runners on base through two innings, the Trojans threatened to score in the bottom of the second. After Lazar walked Santiago Cardona, Jack Sinclair doubled to shallow right field with two outs, setting up runners on second and third for Nik Sanders. However, Taravella could not bring any runs across the plate as Sanders flew out to deep left field.
In the fourth inning, John Lombardi led off with a single, followed by Clark walking Tyler Hall to set up runners on first and second for Darin Brown. Brown laid down a sac-bunt, but the fielder, trying to throw out the lead runner, overthrew the third baseman, allowing Lombardi to score the game’s first run and advancing Hall and Brown to second and third respectively. Later in the inning, Nick Volpe singled to right field driving in Hall and advancing Brown to third, setting up a dangerous first and third situation for the Trojans, who already trailed 2-0. Volpe stole second in the next at-bat and was thrown out, but Brown stole home on the throw down to second base and Coral Springs took a commanding 3-0 lead.
In the sixth inning, with Brian Velez on second and Daniel Roth on first base, Nick Carasco came up to bat looking to put a dent in the deficit. Carasco drove in the only run for the Trojans with a double to left field, scoring Velez. The double set up runners in scoring position for Logan Lixie, but Lazar got out of the jam with a strikeout to end the inning.
With a runner on second in the seventh inning, Max Lazar stood on the mound facing off against Nik Sanders once again. With three home runs on the season, Sanders certainly had the power to tie the game up with just one swing of the bat, but Lazar got him to hit a ground ball right back to the mound, he flipped the ball to his first baseman for out number three. Lazar picked up his seventh win, fifth complete game, and more importantly pitched his team to a shot at the district title later in the week.
“I knew my team was going to play defense behind me, I was just trying to let them hit the ball and let my defense make plays, and it worked out,” said Lazar on the win.
Thursday the Colts will face either Monarch or Stoneman Douglas. Coral Springs took both games against the Knights this season but were shut out in their two losses to the Eagles. Either way, the Colts will come ready to play Thursday, riding their hefty 11-game winning streak.