Heartbreaker Ends State Title Dreams

Bailey Adams, Sports Editor

Highlights. Milestones. A lasting legacy. But the end still stings. For now.

Despite being two outs away from clinching a berth in tomorrow’s state title game, the Knights were the ones who looked on as Archbishop McCarthy celebrated an 8-7 comeback win on Friday at jetBlue Park in Fort Myers.

“We played a great game and we made them earn it,” said coach Kevin McCray. “And they did. It’s not very often you’re going to put together that quality of consistent at-bats in the last two innings like they did.”

With a 7-3 lead in the bottom of the sixth, Robinson found themselves five outs away from a state semifinal victory. However, Adan Fernandez (’17) delivered a two-run single that cut the deficit to 7-5, forcing McCray to make a pitching change.

With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Dylan Bautista (’15) tied the game with a two-run single of his own, and just one batter later, Fernandez struck again with a walk-off single to left that gave the Mavericks a spot in tomorrow’s final.

Robinson took an early lead in the game, scoring four runs in the top of the first. Shawn McGory (’16) and Jack White (’15) came through with back-to-back RBI singles with two outs before Tommy Craparo (’15) extended the lead to 4-0 with a two-run single to right.

Patrick Kiszla (’15) got the start for the Knights, going five-plus innings while allowing four runs (three earned) on four hits and four walks. After allowing a run in the first, he settled in nicely to allow his team to build on their lead.

A ground out and a passed ball plated two more for Robinson in the third, giving them a commanding 6-1 lead. That lead was cut to 6-3 in the bottom half of the third, but the Knights tacked on another in the fifth when Kris Terry (’17), pinch-running for McGory (who reached on a single), scored on an error. McGory singled again in the seventh to cap a 3-for-4 day at the plate.

Though the Mavericks trailed all day, their experience and poise showed late in the game as they strung together seven singles in the final two innings to complete the comeback. Now, they have a chance to win their fifth state championship in the last six years.

“You really tip your cap to them,” said McCray. “That’s a good team. They’re 26-5 for a reason.”

The Knights finished the season with a record of 17-11 and earned the school’s first regional championship since 1977. The team, including its 12 departing seniors, left a legacy that Robinson will look back on with pride, even if the end does hurt right now.

“I’m so proud of these guys,” said McCray. “We played a great game.”