TAMPA — The final two baseball games Monday evening at Jefferson were about as good as they get for second-round pool play of the Saladino Tournament.
The first game featured a walk-off single for Durant to seal a 4-3 victory over Armwood and the second offered up 12-inning, four-hour marathon that began fast enough with a classic pitching duel between two of the area’s best: Jefferson’s Michael Dominguez vs. Sickles’ Dylan Eskew.
In the end, Dominguez and Eskew were pretty much lights out, though each did give up a run apiece, though neither run was earned.
But ultimately, after giving way to pitch-count rules and handing the ball to relievers, Jefferson pulled out the victory — finally, mercifully and exhaustingly with rain starting to fall — in the 12th, 3-1.
The official lines for the starters: Dominguez — five innings, one run, not earned, five hits, seven strikeouts, two walks, 102 pitches; Eskew — four innings, one run, not earned, four strikeouts, three walks, 75 pitches.
Perhaps most frustrating for Sickles is the fact that Eskew, because he didn’t go over 75 pitches, would have been available to throw after three days rest on Friday if the Gryphons made it to the Saladino championship game, a scenario that doesn’t look likely after Monday’s loss.
On the flip side, Dominguez, under pitch-count rules, will not be able to throw until Saturday, nor will his reliever, Nicholas Perez, who threw 92 pitches over the final seven shutout innings Monday.
In the meantime, Jefferson (2-6 overall but 2-0 in Saladino pool play) plays Durant on Tuesday in the final round of pool play where a victory would assure the Dragons a pass into Wednesday’s quarterfinals.
While none of the runs were earned for either team Monday, Jefferson finally sealed the deal when Perez led off the 12th with a single, then advanced on an error and a wild pitch and ran home when sophomore Miguel Denson chopped a single into leftfield.
In the first game, Durant spotted Armwood a 3-0 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth, which was when Durant’s bats finally found some spark.
Ahmad Fitts and Arpod Zsold led off the sixth with back-to-back singles and then, after a stolen base and a wild pitch, both scored on a sacrifice fly and a fielder’s choice respectively.
Still trailing 3-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh, Durant (3-4, 1-1 in Saladino) jumped right at it again. After a lead-off single by Luke Scolaro, a sacrifice bunt and a single by Javy Quintana, Fitts and Zsold stepped back up into the spotlight.
Fitts promptly singled in the tying run and Zsold followed with a winning shot to centerfield.
“We were just waiting for that opportunity, hoping to get a break at some point,” Durant coach Butch Valdez said, regarding a few close plays earlier in the game (see a bang-bang throw out of a Cougar at home in the fifth inning). “We came out flat but we did finally get it going.”
Durant starter Estaban Tavarez held the Hawks (4-4, 0-2) within range through five innings, allowing only one run while striking out three and walking one.
On the flip side, Armwood starter Tyler Lawrence was strong through four innings, allowing no runs before giving way to relievers.
Saladino Baseball Tournament
Day 2 results
Leto 10, East Bay 2
Steinbrenner 1, Robinson 0
Durant 4, Armwood 3
Jefferson 3, Sickles 1
Newsome 6, King 4
Lennard 4, Carrollwood Day 3
At University of Tampa
Riverview 13, Freedom 4
Gaither 9, Tampa Bay Tech 2
Plant City 16, Blake 1
Plant 1, Brooks DeBartolo 0
Hillsborough 12, Middleton 1
Wharton 1, Alonso 0
Strawberry Crest 6, Bloomingdale 1
Brandon 7, Chamberlain 1
Source : https://www.tampabay.com/sports/high-schools/2019/03/19/saladino-spotlight-stay-for-the-drama-at-jefferson/677