Posted: 4:03 pm Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Live blog: American Heritage defeats St. Petersburg Catholic in Class 3A baseball state semifinals 

By Matt Porter

PORT ST. LUCIE — American Heritage eked out a 5-4, nine-inning win over St. Petersburg Catholic at Digital Domain Park, earning a spot in Thursday’s Class 3A state title game. Watch postgame reaction and get a complete inning-by-inning recap below.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2l9Yd7iM0HQ

Pregame

Welcome to Digital Domain Park, the spring training home of the New York Mets, for today’s Class 3A baseball state semifinal between American Heritage and St. Petersburg Catholic.

We’ll be providing inning-by-inning updates from high atop the field. If you can’t watch the game from the stands, you can watch the action at FHSAASports.com. (If you have an iPad, you can probably do both.)

It’s a near-cloudless 89 degree day here. Teams are set to start. The lineups:

American Heritage (21-7)

2 – Anfernee Seymour, RF
12 – Trevor Maloney, CF
5 – Jonathan India, SS
4 – Corey Cohen, 1B
14 – Connor Power, 3B
9 – Chris Canavan, C
22 – Josh Glick, DH
7 – Michael Shephard, 2B
1 – Todd Isaacs, LF
— RHP Dylan Arnold

St. Petersburg Catholic (20-9-1)

1 – Dakota Sarafin, LF
7 – Max Geller, SS
8 – Jacob McFadden, CF
25 – Corey Baptist, 1B
24 – Jimmy Lynch, RF
2 – Will Gerdes, DH
10 – Joey Saunders, 3B
5 – Tyler Langford, 2B
16 – Tito Santos, C
— RHP Stewart Wikes

First inning

AH: Heritage’s speed and contact hitting, which was mentioned in our preview story, burns SPC from the start. Seymour laces the game’s second pitch over Sarafin’s head in left and slides into third with a triple. India knocks him in with a single to left. Power draws a two-out walk. Canavan does, too. Bags full.

Wilkes gets a pop to second to get out of bases-loaded trouble. 1-2-0, 3 LOB, 1-0 Heritage

SPC: One of the things that makes Heritage so tough is its outfield speed, which shows up on the second pitch of the game. Sarafin hits a liner to center that slices away from Maloney, but the center fielder sprinted and made a diving catch.

Strange moment right after that. Arnold walked off the mound and appeared woozy on his feet. He wobbled a bit toward third and put his hands on his knees. Heritage coaches came to attend to him. They gave him a drink of something and he went back to pitching. All eyes on him right now.

Geller, the second batter, draws a walk. McFadden singles to left. The Stallions turn a 6-4-3 double play. Inning over. 0-1-0, 1 LOB, 1-0 Heritage

Second inning

AH: Shepard works the count full and slices one opposite-field to right. He slides into second, beating a strong throw from Lynch, the right fielder. Isaacs sac-bunts him to third. Seymour's chopper to third leads to a wild throw home and a 2-0 Heritage lead. Seymour to second on the error.

Maloney tags one down the line in left. It drops two feet inside the line for an RBI double. 3-0. SPC coach to the mound. With two out, Cohen's RBI double to left-center makes it 4-0. Saunders, the third baseman, makes leaping catch on Power's hard-hit liner to get SPC out of it. 4-3-1, 1 LOB, 4-0 Heritage

SPC: Arnold’s first-pitch fastball tags Lynch in the back of the helmet. Loud “thunk” heard across the stadium. Lynch is OK. Arnold goes 3-0 on Gerdes and motions for a visit from his catcher. He loses him on 3-2. Saunders moves up all runners with a bunt. Wild pitch scores Lynch, who heads to the dugout, then to the bullpen to warm up.

Arnold strikes out Langford. He walks Santos, making it second and third and bringing a Heritage coach to the mound. Nobody warming in the ‘pen. On 3-0, pinch-runner Colin O’Keefe takes off from first. Cohen looks to third long enough to let O’Keefe get to second. Arnold loads the bases with a walk.

Right-hander Peter Castillo warming for Heritage. Arnold gets a lazy fly to right. Both teams have escaped early bases-loaded jams. 1-0-0, 3 LOB, 4-1 Heritage

Third inning

AH: Glick raps a one-out single up the middle. He steals second. With two out, Langford makes a strong throw from behind second to retire Isaacs, one of the Stallions’ fastest players. 0-1-0, 1 LOB, 4-1 Heritage

SPC: Arnold hits McFadden in the ankle to start the inning. Castillo warming up again.

McFadden glares at Arnold as he jogs to first. Things get testy. Arnold throws to first, and McFadden and first baseman Cohen get tangled up. Arnold throws over the first, and Cohen slaps a harder-than-usual tag on McFadden’s back. First-base ump calls time and steps up to both players.

Arnold goes 3-0 on Baptist — throwing the pitch above his head — and is pulled for Castillo with no outs. Baptist turns and glares at Arnold. Castillo loses him, putting runners on first and second. With one out, he walks Gerdes to load ‘em up. Saunders’ RBI groundout makes it 4-2.

Glick warming for Heritage. Castillo goes 3-2 and allows an RBI single to pinch-hitter John Miller. 4-3 ballgame. Santos hits a loud liner to left, but Isaacs glides back and grabs it. Like last inning, that could have been a lot worse. 2-1-0, 2 LOB, 4-3 Heritage

Fourth inning

AH: Lynch pitching for St. Pete Catholic. Seymour bunts his way on — third baseman Saunders waited for it to roll foul, and it never did — and steals second on the next pitch. With one out, Seymour breaks for third on a pitch in the dirt. Catcher Santos finds it and throws him out. India reaches on a passed ball.

Cohen walks. Power reaches on an error, loading the bases with two out. Lynch gets a groundout to end it. Another jam escaped. Lot of walks, lot of pitches thrown. It’s taken more than an hour and a half to play three and a half innings. 0-1-1, 3 LOB, 4-3 Heritage

SPC: Castillo issues a one-out walk to Geller, who steals second. Castillo strikes out McFadden and gets Baptist looking to end the threat. 0-0-0, 1 LOB, 4-3 Heritage

Fifth inning

AH: Glick draws a leadoff walk, the 11th combined by the two teams. With one out, Isaacs lays down another sac bunt, putting Glick in scoring position. Seymour grounds to short. 0-0-0, 1 LOB, 4-3 Heritage

SPC: Lynch has some serious pop. After the 6-foot-3 senior hits a towering foul down the left-field line, he hits a 2-2 moonshot to left that lands just over the left field wall. Game-tying homer and third hit by the Barons.

With two out, Langford reaches on an error. No damage — Castillo gets a fly ball to left. 1-1-1, 1 LOB, 4-4

Sixth innning

AH: Two hard-hit liners by Maloney and India become two quick outs. Shortstop Geller makes a strong throw from deep in the hole to retire Cohen. 0-0-0, 0 LOB, 4-4

SPC: Glick pitching for Heritage. He’s a side-armer. Different look from Arnold and Castillo, both of whom are over-the-top and “all arms and legs coming at you,” as Heritage coach Carm Mazza describes them.

Sarafin doubles down the right-field line. Geller sac-bunts him to third. Glick comes through with a huge sequence: he catches Sarafin sleeping at third, picking the go-ahead run off third. He then catches McFadden looking for strike three. Inning over. 0-1-0, 0 LOB, 4-4

Seventh inning

AH: Canavan’s one-out single is the first Heritage hit since the top of the fourth inning. He runs on a 2-1 count and gets into second. The ball gets away and dribbles into center. Canavan gets a late break for third. Second baseman Langford slips as he throws, which seems to take enough off the throw to let Canavan slid safely into third.

Damage averted as Glick strikes out and Shepard flies out to right. 0-1-0, 1 LOB, 4-4

SPC: Glick strikes out Baptist to start the inning. Shepard ranges up the middle to scoop a grounder and retire Lynch. Two down. Looks like Lynch pulled a hamstring running to first. He limps to the dugout, favoring his left leg. Glick gets a grounder to short. Extras. 0-0-0, 0 LOB, 4-4

Eighth inning

AH: Gerdes now pitching for the Barons. Isaacs strikes out. Seymour flies to short center. Maloney’s flare is caught at second. 0-0-0, 0 LOB, 4-4

SPC: Shepard charges a bouncer from Saunders and with no time to waste, flips to first with the glove. One out. Glick gets Miller looking. Two down. He hits Santos, the No. 9 hitter, in the back. Winning run on first.

Sarafin swings through an inside pitch for strike one. He watches a pitch from Glick fade across the plate and away for strike two. He whiffs on an outside pitch for strike three. 0-0-0, 1 LOB, 4-4

Ninth inning

AH: 3-4-5 up for Heritage. Second baseman Langford makes a running catch of India’s flare into right. Cohen grounds to short, but the throw skips past Baptist at first. Cohen to second on the error. Go-ahead run on second. Gerdes jams Power inside, but the eighth-grader’s dribbler to second gets Cohen to third.

Canavan, Heritage’s freshman catcher, hits a hard grounder to short. Geller collects it, makes sure he has it and fires across the diamond. Safe by a step. Cohen scores the go-ahead run. Geller is hopping mad.

Another grounder to short retires Glick. Heritage is three outs from tomorrow’s 3A state final. 1-1-1, 1 LOB, 5-4 Heritage

SPC: Glick remains on for his fourth inning of relief. According to his coach, he’s had one four-inning save this season. He’d get the win if Heritage can hold on.

Glick goes 0-2 on Geller before throwing one to the backstop. Gets him looking on the inside corner for strike three. He goes 3-2 on McFadden, who then fights off a three in a row before drawing a walk. First walk allowed by Glick is the tying run.

He strikes out Baptist on a 1-2 pitch well outside the zone. Lynch, who hit the tying solo homer in the fifth, comes to bat.

He gets him swinging. Heritage will play in the Class 3A state title game tomorrow at 11 a.m., the Stallions’ first appearance in the state final. 0-0-0, 0 LOB, FINAL: American Heritage 5, St. Petersburg Catholic 4.