Lely baseball team advances to district title game
Lely scored two runs and made them hold up in eking out a 2-1 victory over Immokalee in Class 5A-District 14 playoff action on Wednesday.
It earned the Trojans the right to play Estero for the district title at 7 p.m. today at Lehigh.
Estero downed Lehigh, 10-0, to make the championship game.
Either way, both teams advance to regional play next week. During the season the teams faced off twice, with each team winning a game. At stake is home team advantage in regional play next week.
It looked like Lely might run away with the game in the first inning, loading the bases on three hits with no outs. A Lely runner failed to tag up on a fly ball, but Kenny Moss singled to drive in a run. A second run came in on a bases-loaded walk, but that was all the Trojans could muster.
Both teams got runners on base, but neither could mount a drive. Six Lely batters took called third strikes to end rallies.
With two out, Immokalee scored its lone run in the sixth inning. With Indians runners on first and second a bloop single over third resulted in a run scoring and runners advancing to second and third bases. A running catch in the outfield halted the rally.
Again it looked like Lely would close out the game in the sixth as hits by winning pitcher David Oliger and Jesus Palacios, along with a walk loaded the bases with two outs. However the next batter took a third strike to end the inning.
In the seventh, with two out, losing pitcher Ruben Salinas knocked out his second hit of the game. Elijah Betancourt then smashed a liner down third base that Kenny Moss grabbed to end the game.
Oliger, behind the pitch calling by pitching coach Dave Crisp, kept Immokalee in control at key times.
Oliger, 5-1 on the season, used his curve and fast balls effectively throughout the game.
“His curve ball was definitely his out pitch,” said Crisp. “He also had good velocity on his fast ball. He kept the ball down in the (strike) zone.”
Coach Jason Duesler said players looking at called third strikes was frustrating. “They need to protect the plater better,” he said. “It would have been great to have more offense but that’s baseball.”