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Hagerty stops Celebration in baseball regional semifinal

Posted on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at 12:11 pm

Adams Torres delivers a pitch for Celebration during the 4-1 regional quarterfinal victory against Lake Howell last week. Hagerty beat Celebration, 10-1, Tuesday, ending its season. Photo/Martin Maddock

By Rick Pedone
Sports Editor

Unfortunately for them, Celebration’s baseball team saved the worst for last during a 10-1 loss to Hagerty at the 8A-3 baseball regional semifinal Tuesday at Storm Field.

The Storm (21-9) gave up too many easy runs to a Hagerty (21-9) team that reached the state finals last season.

“Even in our losses, it was just one little thing that was the difference, and we’d lose like 4-3,” Storm interim head coach Ed Kuzma said. “We didn’t have a loss like this all year.”

Celebration got in trouble in the first inning when starter Adams Torres – who shut down Lake Howell on four hits during a 4-1 regional quarterfinal win – walked two of the first three batters he faced and then balked both of them home, giving the Huskies a 2-0 advantage.

The Storm had an opportunity to bounce right back when Hagerty starter Josh Allen walked Torres, Luis Rodriguez and Pedro Figueroa in succession to load the bases with one out in the bottom of the first.

But, Allen got the next batter to ground into a double play to end the threat.

That play seemed to change the demeanor of the game, and the Storm couldn’t regain the momentum.

“We’ve said all year that you have to be prepared to take advantage of the opportunities presented to you, and we did not do that. Hagerty did,” Kuzma said.

The game was decided in the top of the third inning when Hagerty scored five runs to build a 7-0 lead with the aid of three Celebration errors. Three of the five runs were unearned.

The Storm did not get their first hit until the sixth inning, when Figueroa ripped a double to left. Celebration scored in the bottom of the seventh on Torres’ RBI single.

Hagerty advanced to next week’s regional final against Lakeland George Jenkins.

Kuzma said that Celebration’s baseball team has plenty to be proud of.

“These guys stuck together and played great baseball this season,” Kuzma said. “They won a district championship and they won more than 20 games. They have a lot to be proud of.”