Posted: 1:20 pm Saturday, May 19th, 2012
By Matt Porter
PORT ST. LUCIE — Atlantic jumped all over Venice in the first inning, but Venice reliever Cooper Hammond held the Eagles’ bats down for 5 2/3 innings, lifting the Indians to a 4-3 win in the Class 7A state semifinals at Digital Domain Park. Click below for video reaction and inning-by-inning updates.
Welcome to Digital Domain Park, the spring training home of the New York Mets, for today’s Class 7A baseball state semifinal between Atlantic and Venice.
We’ll be providing inning-by-inning updates from high atop the field. If you’re not in the stands, you can watch the action at FHSAASports.com.
Eighty-four degrees and sunny here. Breeze blowing from right to left and mostly in.
Here are the starting lineups:
11 — Kyle Blank, LF
2 — Jesse Kieffer, CF
18 — Rigo Beltran, LHP
15 — Brad Myott, C
20 — Cody Bryant, 1B
13 — Daniel Metz, 3B
17 — Joey Ohannesian, RF
1 — Chris Brown, 2B
8 — Bobby Bourque, SS
18 — Rigo Beltran, LHP
20 — Mike Rivera, C
9 — Grant Banko, LF
25 — Nick Longhi, 1B
28 — Brandon Elmy, RF
5 — Mike Knott, 4
19 — Kevin Guthrie, 3B
14 — Rex Ingerick, LF
21 — Colton Lightner, DH
2 — Dalton Gurthrie, SS
12 — Tyson Albert, RHP
First thing to notice about the teams — they’re both wearing white tops and bottoms with green. Looks like an intrasquad game. Atlantic’s Kyle Blank reaches on an error by third baseman Kevin Guthrie; Blank reached out and slapped one down the line, but Guthrie backhanded and bobbled. Atlantic’s Jesse Kieffer bloops one into right.
Atlantic’s bench chants ‘Ri-go’ as starting pitcher Rigo Beltran bats against Venice starter Tyson Albert, a right-hander. Beltran mashes a single up the middle to load the bases. Catcher Brad Myott takes the first pitch from Albert down the right field line … and it just drops in. Blank, Kieffer and pinch-runner Bruce Thomas score. Myott to second on the double. 3-0 Atlantic.
First baseman Cody Bryant singles up the middle, past the reach of Venice second baseman Mike Knott. Jake Wallin, pinch-running for Myott, holds at third. Bryant takes second on catcher Mike Rivera’s bobble.
Mercifully for Venice, Atlantic’s Daniel Metz pops to first for the first out of the inning. Joey Ohannesian lines to shortstop Dalton Guthrie, who almost doubles up Wallin at third. Chris Brown grounds to second. 3-4-1, 2 LOB, 3-0 Atlantic
Beltran goes to 3-and-2 on Mike Rivera before walking him. Grant Balko can’t get a bunt down, but loops a single into center. Nick Longhi goes 0-2 before flying to center on a 2-2 pitch. Successful double steal on 2-0 as Myott drops a pitch from Beltran. Venice gets on the board on a fielder’s choice: Brandon Elmy jammed, dribbler to first, Rivera scores. Mike Knott grounds to second. First inning took 35 minutes to complete. 1-1-0, 1 LOB, Atlantic 3-1
No. 9 man Bobby Bourque singles. Blank fights off a couple before lining to center. Bourque, who was nearly to second, slides back to first ahead of a strong throw from Venice center fielder Rex Ingerick. With Kieffer up, Bourque dancing off first and almost picked off by catcher Mike Rivera. Kieffer finds the hole between third and short. ‘Ri-go’ works a walk to load the bases.
All infielders and a Venice coach talk it over with Albert, who has allowed seven hits and a walk through 1 1/3. He’s pulled for Venice ace Cooper Hammond, a submarining junior. Have to wonder if Atlantic has prepared for a pitcher like this, much less faced one. With that Hammond is 9-0 with a 0.72 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 48 innings.
Hammond gets Myott to pop to third baseman Kevin Guthrie and strikes out Cody Bryant. Venice dugout glad Hammond is on their team. 0-2-0, 3 LOB, 3-1 Atlantic
Kevin Guthrie takes Beltran’s second pitch over Blank’s head in left. Bounces to the wall. Guthrie into second. Ingerick tries twice to get a bunt down and can’t, but legs out an infield single. On a double steal, Ingerick takes second, but the throw bounces off Bourque’s glove and into center. Guthrie scores, Ingerick to third. Another error scores Ingerick and puts Colton Lightner on first. Tie ballgame. Eagles coach Steve Wilson to the mound to settle the troops.
Venice is riled up, though. Lightner scores on an RBI single by Balko, who gets to third on Longhi’s double past the bullpen in right. Elmy hammers a line drive, but Atlantic second baseman Chris Brown snags it. 3-4-2, 2 LOB, 4-3 Venice
Hammond goes 3-0 on Metz and hits him in the back. Have to mention Hammond is fun to watch pitch — from the stretch, he starts with his leg forward and his hands up like he’s in the batter’s box. Then, he comes way underneath. His pitches dart and dive all over the place. He whiffs Ohannesian on a changeup, then gets a liner to short off the bat of Brown. Falls behind 3-0 on Bourque and gets a tapper to the mound. 0-0-0, 1 LOB, 4-3 Venice
Beltran starts with quick groundouts to second and short. Ingerick pops a 1-0 pitch foul. Metz glides over from third and crashes into the Venice dugout trying to grab it. Another groundout ends the inning. Has to feel good after last inning. Top of the order up for Atlantic. 0-0-0, 0 LOB, 4-3 Venice
Hammond works three quick groundouts of his own. Teams have settled in. 0-0-0, 0 LOB, 4-3 Venice
Lightner singles over a leaping Bourque at short. Gurthrie advances him to third on a sac bunt. A passed ball gets him to third. Bourque snares a sharp liner from Rivera. Beltran throws a wild pitch, but Myott recovers and slings it back toward home. Beltran slaps the tag on. Run: saved. 0-1-0, 0 LOB, 4-3 Venice
Hammond strikes out Myott and gets Bryant to ground to third. Takes a gut shot from Ohannesian, but holds on and gets the putout at first. 0-0-0, 0 LOB, 4-3 Venice
A bit of a delay as a fan receives medical attention. A man, who appears to be in his 70s, was sitting in the first row just beyond the Atlantic (first base) dugout. Teams called off the field as several staffers help him onto a stretcher. He is responsive and receives a cheer from a group of Atlantic fans. Update: a photographer sitting next to the man says he was hit in the head with a baseball. The man was later discovered to be Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers photographer Eric Hasert. He is doing fine.
Balko leads off the inning with a single. Bourque ran and dove, but it got through. With the heart of the Venice order due up, that’s all for Beltran. He’s pulled in favor of senior left-hander Sam Bergida. Beltran gets a hand as he grabs his first baseman’s mitt. Cody Bryant moves over to third. Beltran allowed four runs and seven hits in four-plus innings.
Bergida gets a first-pitch flyout to center. Balko steals second. Bourque (strong throw) and Beltran (big stretch) combine to get Elmy on a grounder to short. Balko to third. Inning over after Knott’s grounder to second. No damage for Bergida or the Eagles. Wilson calls the team together in front of the dugout for a meeting. 0-1-0, 1 LOB, 4-3 Venice
Ohannesian singles through the hole on the right side.. Ohannesian gets to second on Brown's 4-3, but he can't go anywhere on Bourque's 6-3. Blank's tapper to short is light enough to get him to first and advance Ohannesian to third. Big spot for Kieffer, with two outs and the tying run on third. He flies to right, stranding two. 0-1-0, 2 LOB, 4-3 Venice
Ingerick singles to left-center, gets to second on a fielder’s choice and steals third. Lightner grounds to short. Pinch-hitter Michael Iorio draws a walk. Then, some trickery. Venice tries a double-steal, with Iorio heading for second and pinch-runner Danny Raynor going home. Bergida, who didn’t yet throw a pitch, catches Iorio in a rundown. He turns and fires toward home to nail Raynor, who is tagged out by Myott. Raynor slides hard into Myott, who lays on the ground. After he’s attended to by his team, he is helped up, holding his forehead, and has some choice words for the Venice dugout. 0-1-0, 1 LOB, 4-3 Venice
Beltran grounds to second, but Knott throws it over the head of Longhi at first. Beltran to second. Two-base error on Knott. Myott is up. Wilson calls him over, puts both hands on his shoulders, and does some coaching. Myott lays down a perfect sac bunt, putting Beltran at third. Tying run on third, go-ahead run up.
Bryant grounds to second, who fires home. Catcher Mike Rivera gets Beltran off third. Beltran whips his helmet. Two out. Metz at bat, pinch-runner Bruce Thomas is thrown out trying to steal second. Ballgame. Venice moves onto tomorrow’s Class 7A state semifinal against Brandon. Atlantic finishes at 22-8. 0-1-1, 0 LOB, 4-3 Venice