FORT MYERS- Trinity Christian Academy (Lake Worth) and Out-of-Door Academy (Sarasota) will square off on Wednesday in the FHSAA 2A state semifinals. Here's a preview of the matchup.
Teams: #6 Trinity Christian (17-7-2) vs. #4 Out-of- Door Academy (22-3)
When: Wednesday, May 19, 1:00 pm
Where: The game will be played at Centurylink Stadium in Fort Myers, the spring training home of the Minnesota Twins and the minor league home of the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels. For those attending the game, the stadium is located at 14100 Six Mile Cypress Parkway.
Watching the Game: Tickets are available through GoFan for $9 online or can be purchased for $12 the day of the game at the stadium. The game can also be live streamed at nfhsnetwork.com for $6.
Playoff History: Trinity is making its eighth trip to the state finals. The Warriors won back-to-back state championships in 2016 and 2017, and have advanced to Fort Myers in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, and now in 2021. ODA will be playing in their first state finals.
The Road to State: The Warriors took an unusual path to state to say the least. After winning 12 district titles in 12 appearance, Trinity was upset by Jupiter Christian 5-4 in the district finals. Forced to go on the road for the regional opener, the Warriors downed #7 Seacrest Country Day 8-4. Slated to have a rematch with Jupiter Christian in the semifinals, the Eagles were deemed ineligible by the FHSAA due to a pitch count violation which sent TCA to the finals. Trinity capped the run with a big 12-7 win at Miami Christian to punch their ticket to state.
Out-of-Door cruised through their district but faced tough challenges from a pair of top 10 teams in the regional bracket. Trailing #2 Canterbury 7-4 headed into the seventh, the Thunder came up with six runs to advance to the finals. They defeated #9 Bishop McLaughlin 4-1 in the finals to earn their first state appearance.
ODA Overview: The Thunder has put up some gaudy numbers this season, both at the plate and on the mound. ODA is hitting .329 as a team and have nailed 19 home runs. Logan Tribble (Jr) has been the key to the Thunder offense, hitting .487 with 23 RBI. Nolan Lewellen (Sr, .373), Carter Dierdorf (Jr, .380/4HR), and Tanner Fairchild (Sr., .302/5 HR) have also helped power the Out-of-Door attack. The Thunder pitching has been impressive with a 1.55 ERA and 181 Ks in 151 innings. Josh Cone (Jr) has been the workhorse for ODA with 44.2 innings and a 1.41 ERA and 60 Ks. He won't be available for the matchup with TCA due to pitch county. Luke Geske (Soph) is likely to take the ball for the Thunder. The Miami commit has a 1.71 ERA and 37 K's in 32 innings. Ryan Kelly (Sr), Dierfdorf, and Tyler Colditz (Sr) all have an ERA under 2.
TCA Overview: Trinity has played one of the toughest schedules in 2A and has come away with 17 wins. The Warriors have eight of nine to close the season, including wins over Palm Beach Central and Montverde and a tie with nationally-ranked Calvary Christian. Leading the charge for TCA has been sophomore standout Ariel Antigua. The South Carolina commit is hitting .373 and is among the state leaders in RBI (38, 8th overall) and triples (6, 5th overall). He was named the district hitter of the year. Deshaughn Forbes (Jr) received all district honors as well and has posted a .323 average with four doubles and four triples. Eddy Morel (Jr) and Jan Oquendo (Soph) both boast an average over .300. Catcher Ryan Marrero (Sr) has been outstanding behind the plate, and has caught fire the second half of the season at the plate. He has hits in his last nine games and is up to .278. Junior Angelo Allievi was a revelation this year on the mound, going from part time starter/long reliever to ace after an outstanding shutout performance of West Boca early in the season. The district pitcher of the year comes into the state finals with a 2.35 ERA, a 4-0 record, and 42 Ks in 38 innings. Pierce Boles (Soph) has shown flashes of brilliance this season, posting a 2.47 ERA and winning both regional games for the Warriors. He won't be available until Thursday, should the Warriors advance.
Summary: When teams come from the opposite side of the state, it's hard to quantify strength of schedule and make comparisons. Both teams have displayed strong pitching all season and are playing their best baseball right now. Both teams have star power up and down the lineup. Getting the lead early could make a big difference in the game and how it's managed. With two top six teams matched up, expect a close game that could come down to the wire.