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Aquinas Knocks off Nova in Controversial Regional Semi-Finals

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Wow. In my first radio broadcast, I witnessed one of the most exciting and interesting high school baseball games ever, but this wasn’t just any game; it was the Regional Semi-Finals.

FullSizeRender (6)Saint Thomas sent out Jordan Spicer (8-1, 0.92 ERA) to start the game on the mound, while Nova went with Vince Coletti (9-1, 0.80 ERA.) Both of these guys pitched very well, but both right handed seniors struggled a little bit with command at times. Spicer escaped the first inning by striking out Nova’s clean up hitter, Austin Davis to strand a runner on third base. Coletti wouldn’t be so lucky in his half of the first as Jawuan Harris turned a one-out walk into two quick stolen bases and an eventual RBI double by Nick Marchese.

1-0 St. Thomas after the first inning.

In the top of the third, Spicer struggled a little bit with getting that first pitch over for a strike. That left him with the bases loaded with two outs to face Nova’s Austin Davis, who was given a chance at redemption after stranding a runner on third in the first inning. Davis shot a hard ground ball to right field, and picked up two RBI’s to give Nova a 2-1 lead.

It wasn’t until the bottom of the third inning that Jawuan Harris found himself back at the plate; once again with one out. He hit a chopper that found the 5-6 hole and made its way to left field. I turned away for a couple pitches, and when I looked back, Jawuan was standing on third base. He turns walks and hits into triples very quickly with his ability to steal bases effortlessly. Gary Mattis then hit a Sac fly to tie the game up at 2.

Now we go to the bottom of the 5th inning. Jawuan Harris steps in and ropes a line-drive home run to center field giving the Raiders a 3-2 lead. Carter White later drew a two-out, four-pitch walk; advanced on a balk, and then was able to score on a throwing error by Nova’s catcher, Michael Gonzalez. Raiders lead 4-2 heading into the 6th.

Austin Davis laces a base hit to left field in earlier stages of the playoffs

At this point, Nick Marchese is pitching for the Raiders, and in the sixth he is able to strand the bases loaded. In the top of the 7th inning, Edwin Pichardo led off the with a double, and was eventually brought in to score by guess who, Austin Davis.

The Raiders then brought in Sophomore pitcher, Johnny Leone, who is statistically the best pitcher on St. Thomas as he boasts a 0.65 ERA, and has the most innings pitched with 43.1.

By the way, it’s absolutely pouring at this point.

Two outs. Top of the seventh. Tying run on second. Leone got ahead of Jose Oliva and has an 1-2 count. One strike away. Leone fires a fastball just off the black, and the umpire flinches to ring the batter up and end the game, but does not do so. Just a slight flinch from the home plate umpire. Ball two. Oliva takes the next pitch over the center field fence, scoring Austin Davis from second! Oliva comes around on the home run to make it a 5-4 game. Nova has taken the lead.

This is where it gets interesting to say the least. The umpires see that the field is starting to resemble a swamp with all of the water everywhere and decide to go to a rain delay. The field is no longer playable, so we’ll make the last inning up tomorrow right? Nope. High School rules state that after five innings, a game is complete, so any game ended after five innings will stand as is. So Nova wins because they’re winning, right? Wrong again. St. Thomas Aquinas is awarded the victory because the score of the last complete inning (6th) was 4-2 in favor of St. Thomas. Nova was the away team so Aquinas never had the opportunity to hit in the seventh inning, which basically nullifies the entire top half of the seventh.

Jawuan Harris swiping second base in Regional Quarter-Final game.

St. Thomas Aquinas was undeniably lead by senior outfielder, Jawuan Harris. The kid did everything and then some. Harris went 2-2 with a walk, and a solo home run, and that’s only half of it. Jawuan also went on to swipe four bases, score 3 runs, and of course the had an RBI on the home run. He is now 44-46 on the year on stolen base attempts.

Austin Davis of Nova did everything he could to match Harris. Davis had 3* RBI’s including one in the nullified 7th inning, and one* run, also from the 7th inning. 

In the end, St. Thomas Aquinas is advancing to the Regional Finals, and Nova got banged out of an opportunity to hold off St. Thomas. I’m just upset because Jawuan Harris was due up second for the Raiders in the bottom half of the 7th, and I think the Raiders would have at least forced extras. It’s a shame that the game was not ended the right way. Both teams know that. Aquinas players chose not to interview after controversial game.

Aquinas beats Nova for the 10th straight time. 4-2.

(Link for replay of the radio broadcast will be posted here as soon as it is available for those who want to relive the game and listen to my broadcast)


Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Blake Giusti

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