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Tritons rally from 8-run deficit, earn district title

Mariner hosts Lely Tuesday in Class 6A baseball playoffs

May 4, 2018
By PETE SISK ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

It's true. It really isn't over until it's over.

The Mariner Tritons trailed 9-1 after four innings of the District 6A-11 baseball championship game at Cypress Lake's Tim Jago Field on Thursday. And won.

Alex Freeland's three-run homer with two outs capped a five-run seventh inning for Mariner - and capped 10 unanswered runs by the Tritons - as Mariner won the game and the district title, 11-9.

"Our motto's 'Live the dream'," Mariner coach Tom Woodley said. "We're going to keep living the dream.

"These guys show up. They've been through so much adversity. These guys deserve it. They've been through so much this year."

The Tritons will open the Class 6A state playoffs May 8 at home against Lely, which fell 5-2 to Barron Collier in the District 6A-12 final. BC will play host to Cypress Lake in the first round.

Mariner scored four runs in the fifth, one in the sixth and those five in the seventh Thursday to complete the stunning comeback.

"I told them just keep fighting. Keep fighting and everything else will take care of itself," Woodley said.

"In the sixth inning, we told ourselves if we could just get to the top of the order in the seventh, everything else would kind of take care of itself. We had six, seven, eight, nine up there, and those guys battled. I said 'Let's go down fighting,' and that's what they did."

It was something like the entire season for the Tritons, who stumbled out of the gate 1-7 before turning it around and finding themselves in the state Class 6A playoffs.

"It's my 15th year here," Woodley said. "We were down 9-1 to Barron Collier a few years ago. These guys have it, man. The last 19 games they're 14-5 after being 1-7.

"We had people give up on them when we were 1-7. People on campus had given up on them. But these guys kept showing up at the ballpark every day, loving the game. They didn't want days off. I'm just proud of them."

Other than Freeland's blast to right-center, the Tritons scored their runs with patience and discipline. Five Mariner batters drew walks in the final three innings. Wade Williamson drew one of those walks to force in a run, and Xzavien Torres was hit by a pitch to bring in another.

Williamson's biggest contribution, however, was on the mound. Coming in during Cypress Lake's five-run fourth inning, he struggled to begin his stint as the third Tritons pitcher. However, over the final three innings, he allowed only one infield hit to earn the pitching victory.

Williamson got a helping hand on a sensational catch in right field by Antony Rodriguez, robbing Cypress's Yariel Diaz of at least a double in the sixth inning.

"Antony, he stepped up today," Woodley said. "We had to put him in for a disciplinary reason and he stepped up. Had a big hit, a couple of big plays.

"That's the way it's been all year long. These guys have stepped up when they had to."

The homer capped a four-hit night for Freeland, who also tripled, singled twice, scored three runs and drove in four.

Jimmy Meredith had three RBI for Mariner, including a two-run single prior to Freeland's homer. Rodriguez tripled and singled, scoring twice.

Mariner opened the tournament as the fourth seed, beating Ida Baker in the first round and top-seeded Cape Coral in the semifinals to reach the title game. Cypress Lake, the third seed, defeated North Fort Myers and Island Coast before Thursday's game.

"They're not 1-7," Woodley said. "They're district champs. That's what matters most."

District 4A-10

Gateway Charter 10, Oasis 0 (5): In North Port, the Oasis Sharks (16-9) were held to two hits in the district championship game. Oasis will travel Palm Beach Gardens Benjamin in the opening round of the Class 4A playoffs. Gateway Charter will be home against Plantation American Heritage.


Bishop Verot 12, Delray Beach American Heritage 0: The Vikings (15-9) advance to face Oxbridge Academy in the Class 4A regional. The May 8 game will be at the Sam Fleishman Complex in Fort Myers.

Oxbridge Academy 13, Oasis 0 (4): The Sharks were eliminated in the first round of the state Class 4A playoffs in a game played in West Palm Beach. Oasis (9-10) was no-hit in the game.

Boys Tennis

Pine Crest 5, Cape Coral 0: The Cape Coral boys lost in the first round of the state Class 2A tournament in Sanford.

Girls Tennis

Plantation American Heritage 5, Bishop Verot 0: The Vikings were eliminated in the first round of the state Class 2A tournament.



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