Palm Beach High School Baseball
Cardinal Newman High School Baseball

St. Thomas Aquinas Offense Shines In Win Over Treasure Coast

Bryce McBride struck out six in four-and-two-third innings for the Titans.

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Wednesday evening brought a rare meeting between two quality teams looking for a friendly game against a worthy adversary, as both visiting Treasure Coast and host St. Thomas Aquinas look to prepare for the upcoming playoffs by facing tough competition down the stretch. The two sides delivered high-caliber baseball and battled on the beautiful turf field at Ed Waters Field at St. Thomas Aquinas, with the host Raiders emerging with a 7-3 victory.

The club struggled last weekend and was shut out in a road loss in Orlando, so the focus on Wednesday was to get the offense going and back on track. St. Thomas (17-3) got a lead early and continued to plug away to extend it, after Caleb Roberts opened the scoring with a solo home run in the bottom of the second inning.

“We told them going into it this is a really good team you are going to face,” Treasure Coast manager Michael Sindone said. “This is building towards the teams like Alonso, Newsome and Timber Creek that we have to play on the road just to get back to our district through the first round of regionals. So that is why we play teams like this is to prepare for the playoffs. Three of their hits were pop ups that should have been caught that just fell in. One of those was on us, because we were playing really big defense since the kid can barrel the baseball, and he kind of missed the baseball and it blooped in, and that is the game of baseball. But the other two needed to be caught. We’ll go back to work tomorrow, because we have practice at two o’clock.”

After both sides came up with some big plays to erase base runners in the first inning, Roberts came up in the bottom of the second inning and quickly put his club ahead with a lead it never surrendered. Two batters later, Keanu Jacobs-Guishard was hit by a pitch to get on base and keep things going. Jacobs-Guishard stole second and then advanced to third on a passed ball to get himself in prime scoring position, where Gabriel Terry made a gutsy call on his own to lay down a suicide-squeeze bunt with the runner streaking down the line, on an execution so perfect that Terry managed to reach safely with the RBI bunt single.

“I saw the third baseman back and I know I have good wheels, so I just laid one down there,” Terry said. “We can steal bases; we’re one of the best base-stealing teams in the country, I think. We can keep things moving and rolling, can score from second on anything.”

Sebastian Martinez was 1-for-3 with a walk and two runs for Treasure Coast.

Treasure Coast answered back with its first run in the top of the third to cut the deficit in half. Sebastian Martinez ripped a single to left, advanced to second thanks to a sacrifice bunt from TJ Curd and then moved down to third following a passed ball. Anthony Martens then laced a shot off the left field wall for an RBI double that made it a 2-1 ball game.

The Raiders battled against Treasure Coast starter, Bryce McBride, who delivered a quality start to keep his club in the contest. The right-hander surrendered another run in the fourth on a successful double-steal, after Roberts walked and was replaced by courtesy-runner Raheem Salmon and Nick Vera also walked to initiate the steal play. But McBride responded by striking out the next four batters.

“Bryce was supposed to get the start last night and we got rained out, so he was the most rested and prepared and we pushed him to today,” Sindone said. “He is a sophomore and a really good pitcher. He’s got three pitches for strikes and he spins it really well. I thought he threw well enough today, and we should have done a better job defensively. He competed his tail off and threw well, and he’s got a lot of grit.”

McBride scattered seven hits and two walks, while striking out six, before the Raiders finally managed to chase the starter in the fifth. Andres Antonini singled to left field with two outs and Cade Fergus followed with a shot driven into the left-center field gap for runners on the corners. A passed ball brought Antonini in, and Roberts followed with an RBI single to right field to drive in his second run of the night. Raheem Salmon came in to run for Roberts, and he stole second base and scored on an RBI single from Riley Rosario.

Even after the Raiders added one last run in the sixth, the Titans battled to the end, tallying two unearned runs in the seventh. Terrance Williams was hit by a pitch and Martinez walked, and Anthony Martens reached on an error that allowed both runners to score.

Alex Lopez came on in relief and recorded the final four outs for the Titans.

“The effort is there, and everything we do is max effort,” Sindone said. “We spring on the field and off the field, we spring to first, and even on ball four we drop the bat and sprint as hard as we can to first and turn around and look back. We have to do those little things; being a 9A public school that gets what shows up and we have to coach those guys up. We really feel we go and compete with bigger and better teams. That’s why we put them on the road and play a great team like St. Thomas.”

The way Treasure Coast competed to the end came as no surprise to the Raiders, which is exactly the sort of competition they want to face this time of year.

“We try to schedule the best teams that we can outside of our district, and that was a really good team that came in,” Raiders manager Troy Cameron said. “We lost to a really good team Friday in Timber Creek, and we wanted to take what we learned from that and apply it, and I am glad that we had a team like Treasure Coast come down. They are a very good team and I was surprised at some of the swings those guys were taking. We saw they are a solid team just from the infield/outfield, so we knew we had a pretty good game ahead of us.”

Although the end result was a loss, the Titans know they just need to tighten up and expound off the baseball they are playing. With some big district games up next on the radar, the club will look to build off this experience for the final stretch.

“We have a big game on Friday against Centennial, who is a big district rival,” Sindone said. “They are young, but it is always a close game when we play them. Then we play Fort Pierce Central, and they can really hit. We’ll see how the district shakes out.”

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