The 9A District 11 Championship between the Coral Springs Colts and the Stoneman Douglas Eagles attracted a lot of attention, and the game proved to be worth the hype. After defeating the Taravella Trojans on Monday behind a strong showing out of SP Max Lazar, the Coral Springs Colts waited to see who they would face in Thursday’s district title game.
In Tuesday’s matchup against the Monarch Knights, the Eagles got more than they bargained for and the #1 ranked team in the nation (per PerfectGame) needed some late game heroics to squeak by with a 2-1 victory. Although Stoneman Douglas was victorious in the team’s two regular season meetings, the Colts were riding a season-high 11-game winning streak coming into the game and had senior RHP Phil Quinn (6-3), who leads the county in complete games, on the bump. As for the Eagles, they came in riding a winning streak of their own, eight in a row, and University of Miami commit LHP Brandon Kaminer (8-0) on the mound. Needless to say this game was destined to be a pitcher’s duel, and that it was.
Through three innings Phil Quinn retired every batter that he faced, including three strikeouts. As for Brandon Kaminer, he gave up just one hit in that same span and struck out five, striking out the side in the second inning.
In the fourth inning Quinn gave up two hits but made it out with the shutout still intact. However, in the very next inning, the Eagles took the lead on a two out rally. After the first two batters were retired, Jordan Hill singled to centerfield, Quinn walked Ivan Nunez, and the table was set for Brandon Auerbach to change the game; and that he did. The second baseman doubled to right field scoring Hill and Nunez. The Colts were clearly shaken up about losing the lead and it showed when Quinn lost his control, hitting the next batter. He did regain his composure and was able to get a fly ball to end the inning.
The Colts responded to the Eagles’ two out rally in the sixth inning. Logan Turcott led off the inning with a single and Sean Baran did his job, moving Turcott over to second with a sacrifice bunt. After the next batter grounded out in the infield, Turcott was standing on third with two outs and John Lombardi at the plate. Lombardi was able to send Kaminer’s pitch to centerfield to bring around Turcott for the first Coral Springs run. The Eagles got out of the inning with the lead, but it was cut to just one.
In the seventh and final inning the Colts got to work with a leadoff single from Austin Smith. Nick Volpe grounded out to first to advance the tying run to second base and Darrin Brown came in the game to pinch hit, hoping to bring around Smith to score. Brown worked the count and took first base on a walk. A groundout advanced Smith and Brown into scoring position and brought up Logan Turcott, who scored the Colts’ sole run, up to bat. Once again, Turcott got the best of Kaminer when he sent the pitch into centerfield, and the Colts third base coach sent Smith and Brown home to take a 3-2 lead. The next batter flew out to end the inning but the pressure was now on Stoneman Douglas, with their fourth consecutive district title on the line.
The Colts got themselves into trouble early with a walk and an error to set up runners on first and second. A sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position for University of Miami commit, Colton Welker. The Colts elected to walk Welker, who singled earlier in the game, to load the bases for Jonathan Pino. The senior delivered with a single over the shortstop to tie the game at three. The bases were still loaded when Army commit John McKenna came up to bat with one out. McKenna once again delivered in the clutch for the Eagles with a walk-off single past the shortstop. Jordan Hill touched home and the Eagles swarmed McKenna near second base, celebrating the win and the second time this week that he came in clutch.
With the victory, Stoneman Douglas claims their fourth consecutive district title and secures higher seeding in next week’s regional bracket. Coral Springs will move on with the Eagles to regional play and will look forward to having Max Lazar available to pitch.