Knights Claim Upset Win Over Rival Plant


Photo M. Hall

Coach McCray talks to the players.

Bailey Adams, Sports Editor

The Plant Panthers, who boast one of the most talented rosters in the state, seem to draw scouts every time they take the field. That was the case on Wednesday night, when a reported 15 scouts made the trip to Lou Garcia Field to watch these players take on the Knights. However, they instead saw a historic night for the Robinson baseball program. Despite falling behind 2-0 early, the Knights rallied to a 6-2 victory over the school that acts as the big brother in the rivalry.

“It’s amazing,” said coach Kevin McCray. “These kids have worked so hard. It’s just nice to get over the hump against one of these big-time programs.”

Tommy Craparo (’15) got the start on the mound for the Knights, lasting four and one-third innings, allowing two runs on three hits and three walks while striking out five. He pitched well, allowing both runs on solo home runs by Connor Scott (’18) and UF-commit Kyle Tucker (’15) in the third inning.

The Knights responded in the bottom of the third when Matthew Steckel (’16) came around to score on an error by the second baseman. He then scored the tying run in the fifth on an error by Plant’s catcher, swinging momentum in the Knights’ favor.

Michael Tini (’16) relieved Tommy Craparo in the fifth before working a scoreless sixth without allowing a hit.

After Shawn McGory (’16) singled with two outs to continue a sixth-inning rally, Steckel continued his big two for three night with a go-ahead single that scored Shawn Herron (’15). Jacob Jackson (’15) then followed with a clutch two-run double to extend the Robinson lead to 5-2. Jackson came around to score later in the inning on another Plant error.

With a four-run lead, Tini headed back to the mound needing three outs to pick up Robinson’s first win of the season and their first win over Plant since 2006. He settled down after a leadoff single, striking out Cooper Dickens (’15) and later inducing back-to-back flyouts, giving the Knights an upset victory over the rival Panthers.

Tini, who had to step onto the big stage while the team is without two of their top pitchers, showed poise under pressure. He picked up the victory, covering the final two and two-third innings of the game.

“I just stuck to my stuff and I just got it done with the rest of my teammates. They were behind me the whole time,” said Tini.

As a team, this victory was the culmination of hard work throughout the offseason.

“It’s a reward for the effort,” said McCray. “We’ve been right there. We’ve played good baseball for four years. We just haven’t quite been able to get over the top against these better programs, so it’s just nice to finally get one.”

However, this is only the start. The Knights (1-0) will next host Newsome on Friday night at 7.