American Heritage advances to baseball state championship game
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
by Matt Porter
PORT ST. LUCIE A year ago, American Heritage pitcher Josh Glick couldn't throw strikes.
Frustrated with his over-the-top throwing motion, Glick asked his coach, Carm Mazza, if he could try throwing side arm.
On Wednesday, the Stallions' closer showed how far he's come, pitching four innings of scoreless relief in a 5-4 nine-inning victory over St. Petersburg Catholic in a Class 3A state semifinal at Digital Domain Park. The win earned the Stallions (22-7) their first state championship appearance in the program's 15-year history.
Glick (4-0) struck out seven and allowed one hit, keeping the game tied at 4 until the top of the ninth. With two outs, freshman catcher Chris Canavan beat out a grounder to short, allowing senior Corey Cohen to score the go-ahead run from third. Canavan (2-for-4, walk, RBI) was safe by a half-step.
"It was a nine-inning roller-coaster," Mazza said. "It feels good. It's going to feel better as the night goes on, when I can come down from that."
The Stallions advanced despite seven walks allowed, a run-scoring wild pitch and three hit batters. They opened up a 4-0 second-inning lead on freshman Jonathan India's RBI single, RBI doubles by seniors Trevor Maloney and Corey Cohen and a run-scoring error.
In the next three innings, St. Petersburg Catholic (20-10-1) scored three runs on just one hit, an RBI single by Tyler Langsford. The lead vanished with Jimmy Lynch's fifth-inning solo homer off Heritage junior Peter Castillo.
Heritage senior Dylan Arnold lasted two-plus innings, allowing one hit, walking five, hitting two batters and allowing three runs. Castillo went three innings, allowing two hits and two walks.
The Stallions collected nine hits and chased Barons starter Stewart Wilkes after two innings, but were helped more by four St. Petersburg errors, including one that put Cohen on with the go-ahead run in the ninth.
Nothing helped more than Glick. He was strong until the end, striking out four of his final six batters.
"Josh couldn't hit that wall over the top," Mazza said afterward, pointing to the rear of a press conference room. "He's done an exceptional job in one year."
Heritage will face Jacksonville-Providence (26-5) at 11 a.m. today in the state championship game. While Providence is loaded with Division I talent, the Stallions have two freshmen and an eighth-grader in the starting lineup. Heritage will start senior left-hander Dylan Silva, a Florida State recruit who features a 90-mph fastball.
"It feels great, but it's unfinished business," said Mazza, whose team went as far as the state semifinals in 2006 and 2007. "We came here not to win just one game and get that under our feet and come back next year. We're coming here tomorrow expecting to play our best and win."
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Class 3A state final
American Heritage (22-7) vs. Jacksonville-Providence (26-5)
When/ 11 a.m., Digital Domain Park, Port St. Lucie.
Probable pitchers: American Heritage LHP Dylan Silva (5-2) vs. Jacksonville-Providence RHP Walker Lockett (7-1),
How Providence advanced: 4-0 win over Tampa Prep in state semifinal.
About Providence: The Stallions have three Division I signees on their pitching staff, but Heritage will face Lockett, a 6-foot-6 USF recruit with 70 strikeouts and a 0.40 ERA in 53 innings. He has a team-high .416 average and six homers. Providence was state champion in 2008, state runner-up in 2009 and went to the regional quarterfinals last season. Coach Mack Mackiewitz is 230-70 in his 10 seasons.