Baseball: Rally Falls Short As Knights Drop District Final

Before+heading+up+to+bat%2C+Austin+Glasgow+%28%2718%29+practices+his+swing.+Glasgow+finished+the+night+with+two+hits.

Photo Isabel Hanewicz

Before heading up to bat, Austin Glasgow ('18) practices his swing. Glasgow finished the night with two hits.

Bailey Adams, Sports Editor

Recent history between Robinson (15-9) and Jesuit (22-5) has been filled with close games decided in the late innings. Thursday night provided more of the same as the Knights fell to Jesuit by a score of 3-2 in the 6A-8 district final. The Tigers held off a late Robinson rally to capture their fifth straight district title.

“We’ve got to compete better when we get the chance,” Robinson head coach Kevin McCray said. “[Jesuit] is too good to help. They are good enough that if you help them, you lose every game against them.”

Both teams got quality starts from their starting pitchers as Robinson’s Matthew Steckel (’16) went toe-to-toe with Jesuit’s Jack Anderson (’18). Steckel worked out of trouble in the first and third innings before the Tigers pushed across their first run of the night on a wild pitch in the fourth. After the first two batters got on in the fifth, Steckel worked out of the jam, allowing just one run. Despite working in and out of trouble through six innings, he allowed just three runs (one earned) on five hits and four walks while striking out four.

“He’s just a great baseball player,” McCray said. “He’s a kid that can handle any situation and he’s going to go compete.”

The Knights managed just three hits in the first five innings before breaking through in the sixth. Mathew Chowning (’17) got hit by a pitch to lead off the inning before eventually taking home on a throw as Killian McCray (’17) stole second. After the Tigers added a run in the bottom of the sixth, Robinson put up a big threat in the seventh. Mitchell Tozian (’16) reached on an error to lead off the inning before Joey Scionti (’17) and Austin Glasgow (’18) singled to load the bases. Scionti and Glasgow both finished the night with two hits. The Knights got within one on a fielder’s choice, but Jesuit reliever Jeff Hakanson (’17) picked up the save by getting three straight outs.

Robinson, finishing as district runner-up,  will now prepare for its regional quarterfinal matchup with Zephyrhills (14-13).

“[We have to] just go back to work,” he said. “It is what it is; we played a solid game, but not quite good enough to beat a good team. We’ll keep getting better, go play and hopefully get another shot at them.”

First pitch for next Wednesday’s regional quarterfinal is set for 7 p.m. at Zephyrhills High School (6335 12th St, Zephyrhills, FL 33542).