Palm Beach High School Baseball
Cardinal Newman High School Baseball

Jupiter Cruises To Santaluces Slam Title

The Warriors celebrate with their championship trophy following the 8-1 victory over Trinity Christian.

This time last year, the Jupiter Warriors left the Santaluces Slam with a record of 1-3 and about as far out of the title game as a team could be. Fast forward one year and not only did Jupiter find themselves in the title game of the Santaluces Slam, they cruised to an 8-1 win over Trinity Christian.

It was a total team effort on the night for Jupiter as the team seemed to be clicking on all cylinders. Manager Andy Mook said it was the result of getting a little bit of everything.

“We finally put some things together,” Mook said. “Zac Sprankle was amazing; he was lights out. Hitters started making some adjustments, we were able to put the ball in play and make some things happen.”

They certainly made plenty of things happen on the night as well. Sprankle pitched six innings, allowing only one run on four hits. In fact, the first batter of the game for Trinity Christian, Bruce Martin, got on base and scored, but Sprankle settled in and allowed a Trinity Christian to get as far as third base only once the rest of the game.

“I felt great out there tonight,” Sprankle said. “It was a little cold in the beginning and I was a little tight, but I got out there pretty good.”

It wasn’t an easy task for Sprankle to pitch on Friday night either. With temperatures dropping into the 50s shortly after first pitch, it was arguably the coldest night of the year. Sprankle said that it made it that much harder to stay warm and pitch effectively.

“It’s probably 10 times harder,” Sprankle said. “The ball feels heavier and slicker and it’s difficult.”

Sprankle had plenty of run support on the night to help back him up. After getting off to a sluggish start with the bats the Warriors continued to battle at the plate, eventually breaking through with a five-run fifth inning on their way to an eight-run, 14 hit performance on the night. Three different Jupiter batters had at least two RBIs on the night and they batted around in the fifth.

The only downside, keeping Sprankle warm while the offense went to work.

Zac Sparkle threw six innings, allowing just one run on four hits.

“I was constantly in his ear to make sure he was doing band work, staying lose, and making sure he was throwing a little bit. We always stress to the guys that any time you have a longer break you need to make sure you stay lose,” Mook said.

It ended up being a tale of two games from the offensive side of the plate for Jupiter. In the first four innings, the team had two runs on five hits. In the final three innings the hitters put up six runs on nine hits. The result was what Mook said was a matter of making in-game adjustments.

“They started gelling together more,” Mook said. “They started getting the focus back and once things started going and Zac started throwing well they were really able to focus more.”

Robert Valdez, Mack Lemieux, and Reese Albert all had at least two RBIs on the night, but it was Albert’s night that was the highlight of the offense for Jupiter. Albert came to the plate four times and all four times reached base, including a single, double, and a triple that bounced off the wall and missed being a home run by inches. You could say the ball looked more like a beach ball than a baseball on the night.

“I was seeing the ball real well,” Albert said. “I kept the hands inside and everything went well.”

For Jupiter, there isn’t much time to celebrate. It now gets into the meat of its schedule including its next game on the 19th at perennial state title contender Park Vista. The win certainly has boosted the confidence level of the players though.

“We are feeling real good,” Albert said. “We have a lot of talent on this team and we are real confident about the season.”

Jupiter is also a team not that long from the state tournament. The current group are eager to get the Warriors back there, and bat whoever it takes to do that.

“We feel like we can beat anyone and are excited for the rest of the season,” Sprankle said.

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