LAKELAND- The College of Central Florida baseball team got off to a great start in the FCSAA State Baseball Tournament with a 7-3 win over Chipola College this past Friday night.
The Patriots scored four runs in the top of the ninth inning to stun the Indians, who had been ranked No. 1 in the nation recently.
With the win, CF earned a day off and will now face Miami Dade on Sunday at 4 p.m.
The Sharks received a first day bye and started off the tournament in exciting fashion with a 4-3 walk-off win in 11 innings over State College of Florida-Manatee.
CF advanced into the winner's bracket thanks to a stellar effort on the hill from Boomer Biegalski, who threw the fifth complete game in the program's history in the state tournament since 1980. The last complete game in state tournament play for the Patriots took place in the 1997 state championship game when Jason Russ went the distance and struck out 12 in CF's 2-1 win over FCC-J.
Russ fanned 21 batters in 21 1/3 innings in two starts for the Patriots during the run to the '97 state championship.
During the '97 state tournament, Steven Carver (vs. Gulf Coast) also had a complete game victory, while Randy Wilson (vs.Valencia, 1980) and Mike Elliott (vs. Pensacola, 1980) went the distance during CF's postseason history.
Christian Khawam also ended a lengthy drought for the Patriots with the program's first two-homer game at state since May 14, 1980. Khawam's two-homer outing against Chipola was the first for the Patriots since Tom Locke hit two in a 6-3 win over Valencia in a game that propelled CF to the state championship game. The Patriots lost the championship game 2-1 to Pensacola in '80, but moved on to the NJCAA National Tournament after the Pirates were forced to forfeit due to an ineligible player.
This year's Patriot squad seems to have the same type of magic their championship squads of the past had.
CF's opening round win that saw Robby Jolley's two-run single give it the lead for good, also drew comparisons to the '97 state title run.
Against Chipola, the Patriots' four run outburst in the ninth inning was one of their best in the state tournament since they scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth inning of a 7-6 walk-off win in the opening round over Pasco-Hernando in '97.
MDC has also been part of CF's postseason history.
This is the first meeting at the state tournament for CF and MDC since 2009 when the Sharks won 9-1 in the opening round.
During its history, CF has several memorable wins over the Sharks at state.
In '98, the Patriots knocked off MDC twice in state tournament play on its way to repeating as state champions under coach Marty Smith.
CF downed the Sharks 11-4 as part of a span of when it outscored its foes 33-8 over its 3-0 start to the tournament.
Then in the championship game, David Lightbody's two-run single in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted the Patriots to an 11-10 walk-off win.
Lightbody finished the championship game 4-for-6, with four RBI for CF.
This time around, CF will take on a MDC team that needed 3 hours and 42 minutes to get past SCF. Darren Seferina went 3-for-6 and had the walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 11th inning.
Mandy Armando (2-for-4), Jose Gomez (1-for-4, RBI), David Palaenzuela (1-for-3, run scored), Bryan Colon (2-for-5) and Mario Amaral (1-for-5, run scored, RBI) were the leaders at the plate for the Sharks in their win over SCF.
MDC used three pitchers in the nearly four-hour long game.
CF will try to continue its strong hitting on the year, which included a 16-hit outburst in its win over the Sharks on February 28 in Miami.
Colby Brown (4-for-6, run scored, double, RBI), N.J. Williamson (2-for-6, three runs scored, two RBI), David Lugo (2-for-6, there runs scored, RBI), double, triple, Enderson Velasquez (2-for-2, run scored, RBI), Justin Ambrosino (3-for-3, two runs scored, two RBI, double) and Collin Woody (1-for-5, RBI) were the leading hitters for the Patriots in their earlier win over the Sharks.
Against MDC earlier in the year, Mike Cetta earned the win with eight strikeouts in five innings of work. Cetta will likely get the start for CF this time around against the Sharks