- March 26, 2021
Tanner Araujo was rolling along, one out away from a complete-game shutout, when he had to leave the baseball game.
The Flagler Palm Coast lefty had thrown 103 pitches, two short of the FHSAA limit of 105 for a 17- or 18-year-old.
A walk and two hits later, and Matanzas had tied the score 2-2 on April 11 at FPC.
"We wanted to see him finish," said FPC coach Anthony Campanella. "But you want to protect his arm. And it's a rule. A lot of people don't know that. The kid pitched his heart out, but it's the game of baseball. Things happen."
They sure do.
In the bottom of the seventh, Dalton Schell's walk-off single scored pinch runner Preston Roberts from second to give the Bulldogs a 3-2 victory and a season-sweep of their city rivals.
"It was a huge sigh of relief," Araujo said.
The senior allowed eight hits in 6.2 innings, striking out six and walking two. And although he didn't get the win, he helped FPC win for the third time in four games.
"So far, this has been my best performance of the year," Araujo said. "They couldn't touch my fastball. My changeup was working. But the majority of my pitches were fastballs. I had good command. I got a lot of swings and misses with it."
He also had some defensive help. In the top of the fourth, Matanzas' Brady Novack was thrown out at third on a fielder's choice. Third baseman Jacob Flannigan had dropped the ball and Novack was called safe, but he came off the bag and Flannigan tagged him out. After a conference between the two umpires, the initial safe call was overturned.
In the top of the sixth, FPC catcher Thomas Seeley threw out Michael Martinez, who was trying to go from first to third on a passed ball. The Pirates then loaded the bases with three straight hits with two outs, but Seeley slid to catch a foul pop to end the inning.
"We wanted to see him finish. ... The kid pitched his heart out, but it's the game of baseball. Things happen."
ANTHONY CAMPANELLA, FPC coach
Novack had three hits for the Pirates, including a two-run double in the top of the seventh that went under the glove of a diving left fielder and tied the score. His two doubles gave him a team-high seven for the season.
Araujo and Matanzas right-hander Jacob Cope were locked in a pitcher's duel for much of the game. FPC scored its first run in the bottom of the third on Flannigan's infield single, scoring Tristen Miller. The Bulldogs went up 2-0 in the fifth on Schell's sacrifice fly to deep center to score Miller.
Cope allowed one earned run in 5.2 innings.
"Jacob threw the ball real well. Their guy threw the ball well, and the defense played well," Matanzas coach Jim Perry said. "It was a good baseball game across the board."
Both teams have busy schedules because of several rainouts. Matanzas, which fell to 6-6, was playing the first of three games in three days, a routine the Pirates will have to repeat next week and the week after. FPC, which improved to 6-9, was playing the first of four games in five days.
"I enjoyed watching our guys celebrate," Campanella said. "We've come a long way from the beginning of the year. But we celebrated, and now it's time to look at our next opponent."