It was hot.
And in the 4th inning, the Jesuit bats finally heated up.
The Tigers offense pushed across five runs in the top of the 4th en route to a 7-3 win over Miami Springs on Friday afternoon at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.
Both teams were held off the scoreboard through three, but that's when it all changed.
BJ Graham started off the inning with a line drive basehit down the left field line for a double. Cole Russo followed with a single to right and then Henry Politz was hit by a pitch to load the bases with nobody out.
Jimmy Clifford battled all the way to a 2-2 count before hitting a deep flyball to left for a sacrifice fly to give Jesuit a 1-0 lead. Two batters later, with the risk of only plating one run in this situation, Ethan Valdez came up clutch with an RBI single to right-center to double the Tigers lead.
But Jesuit didn't stop there.
As Valdez raced for second on a wild pitch, the throw went into center and Politz came in to score. On the next pitch, Bradke Lohry doubled down the left field line to make it 4-0. Nick Rodriguez singled to right-center one pitch later to make it 5-0 and that was it for Golden Hawks starter Erick Argote.
Looking for a response, the Golden Hawks put the first two runners on in the bottom half of the inning, but that's when Minacci went to work.
He struck out the next two batters, and on a 3-2 count, used an inside move to pick off Carlos Rey trying to steal third to end the inning.
Minacci went four innings giving up two hits, three runs (two earned), five walks, striking out four.
With the Tigers fans still hootin' and hollerin' from the end of the 4th, the players on the field pushed across two more in the 5th.
Graham reached on an infield single and then moved to third on what should have been a 4-6-3 double play, but the Miami Springs second baseman booted it allowing Russo to reach. Politz then smoked an RBI trouble to the gap in right-center to score them both to give Jesuit a 7-0 lead.
The Golden Hawks showed a lot of heart battling back in the bottom half of the 5th, pushing across three runs and eventually chasing Minacci in favor of righthander Josh Mallitz. Mallitz got out of jams in the 5th and 6th innings before turning the ball over to Turner Thompson for the 7th.
Thompson was throwing absolute cheese.
He gave up a two-out walk but he struck out Jason Torres looking at an inside fastball to seal the victory for Jesuit.
The Tigers move on to the Class 6A State Final tomorrow at 4pm, where they will play the Dunedin Falcons.
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