FORT MYERS - Fleming Island High coach Grant Bigilin got a big-time college pitching effort from his powerhouse lineup with senior Cody Carwile smoking Viera High with six strikeouts in the Golden …
FORT MYERS - Fleming Island High coach Grant Bigilin got a big-time college pitching effort from his powerhouse lineup with senior Cody Carwile smoking Viera High with six strikeouts in the Golden Eagles 6-0 win in the Class 6A semifinal game on Friday in Fort Myers.
Fleming Island (25-6) lost in the Class 6A championship game 5-1 to Bloomingdale High, who won their first-ever state title. Bloomingdale, out of Valrico, had a 24-6 record and out-hit the Golden Eagles 10-5 including a decisive four-run third inning. Aidan Mastantuno hit a double for the Golden Eagles. Senior pitcher Dylan Dudones was starting pitcher and took the loss with Isaac Williams pitching two innings of relief.
“Of course, there were tears and unhappy faces, but I tried to remind them that this was the work of four years ending at the state championship game,” said Fleming Island coach Grant Bigilin, himself a region finalist player for the Golden Eagles in his playing days. “For both of us; the players and me, it was a first time to the big show. There was a lot of waiting around and kind of sitting idle, but all the teams were in the same boat. They gave me their all. We came here to be champions, but it didn’t work out.”
Against Viera, the hot bats were Drew Homitz with two doubles and Aiden Mastantuno with a third double, while Carwile limited Viera to just six singles and also induced a double play grounder in the fourth; Gavin Billingsley to Jacob Broussard to Mastantuno that snuffed a scoring threat.
“We won that first one (vs. Viera) and we were pumped up,” said Bigilin. “The whole minor league experience of hanging around the hotel and all; we had to check out at noon and wait for the 7 p.m. championship game. That was tough, but no excuses.”
In the fifth, right fielder Angelo Scionti smoked Viera baserunner Ben Schleeper at home plate with a lasered throw to catcher Jack Gidcumb with Viera attempting to score a run against a long throw. Scionti’s throw got to Gidcumb fast enough that Schleeper hit the brakes before his collision with Gidcumb who was stationed like Dick Butkus on the goal line with the ball in front of home plate.
“He’s been doing that all season,” said Bigilin. “We moved him a bit closer to the gap because of the strong left wind gust and he ran right to the ball. He said he was thinking going home the whole time and he threw a strike to Gidcumb (Fleming Island catcher).”
Bigilin called the Scionti throw a key energy play for the game.
“I peeked the runner round third base and where Angelo was and knew they were going to send him with two outs,” said Bigilin. “I said to myself if Angelo puts this throw where he usually does, the baserunner is toast. Giddie (Gidcumb) made the catch and positioned himself. He’s a tall kid (6’-5”) and very imposing. The runner stopped in his tracks rather than collide and Jack just tagged him.”
Fleming Island blew up the scoreboard in the third inning with Billingsley singling, Justin Lebesch singling off a missed foot strike on first by the Viera pitcher Cole Teply on a routine grounder to first base, and Mastantuno calling up a B-52 strike double to left field to score both baserunners.
With Mastantuno finished and ending up at third, it was Homitz who copied his teammates blast with his own double; albeit a sneaky grounder past third base to put Fleming Island up 4-0. Prior to Homitz’ hit, Marcus Murray was on first base after smoking a line drive off the hip of Teply and Gidcumb walked to load the bases; Justin Corfield in to run for Gidcumb. Homitz’ hit was a reached curve ball strike that scored Mastantuno and Murray before getting caught in a net in the bull pen to stop Corfield at third. Corfield was tagged out at home on a steal attempt to end the inning.
“Drew’s hit was right over third base and into foul territory,” said Bigilin. “It was in that perfect spot to avoid the third baseman.”
Billingsley got to third base in the fourth, but Viera got Lebesch to line drive out to third base.
A second double play behind Carwile; same trio, crushed the Viera will in the bottom of the fourth.
Fleming Island would score the final runs in the seventh off an error and a Mastantuno RBI single and an RBI double from Homitz to score his aforementioned teammate.
Against Bloomingdale, Fleming Island had opportunity with a single to Marcus Murray turning into a double play on a Jack Gidcumb grounder in the second inning. Two walks; Homitz and Broussard, followed for more baserunners, but Bloomingdale pitcher David Eckaus struck out Abram Summers.
“After they scored four, we had bases loaded no outs and only scored one,” said Bigilin. “We have let that happen all season. There were some close calls along the way that we didn’t get and that kind of set us back.”
Fleming Island’s defense; Broussard to Mastantuno, turned their own double play in the bottom of the second to put Dudones back in the dugout leaving a baserunner.
In the third, a walk and two singles got Bloomingdales’ first run of the game with two more to follow before a three run triple upped the score to 4-0.
“They had really good ball players that strung together a bunch of hits,” said Bigilin. “Dylan (Dudones) was not getting close calls on strikes and maybe go frustrated, but he threw great.”
Fleming Island reacted with two walks and a single to load the bases with Broussard plating Murray with a sacrifice fly; 4-1, before Bloomingdale executed a second double play off a Gavin Billingsley grounder.
Mastantuno double in the fifth with two outs, but Murray grounded out.
Williams took the mound in the fifth and gave up one run on and RBI single.
Fleming Island hit six fly balls in their final two innings.