Zion Lutheran Spoils Barton’s Pitching Gem With Walk-Off 2-1 Win Over Glades Day
On a day that had belonged to Glades Day, it seemed almost unfair that it was not the team to be celebrating when the game was finished.
Despite an impressive pitching performance from junior Jesse Barton, Glades Day fell at the hands of host Zion Lutheran 2-1 as the Lions walked off with a late surprise victory on Monday afternoon in Deerfield Beach.
Ryan Ritter’s bases-loaded single with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning lifted the Lions (12-8) to victory.
But in no way did the win come easy.
Through six innings, the right-hander had worked his way in and out of jams in keeping Zion off the scoreboard and struggling to mount any type of rally against him. The Gators (7-12) clung to a 1-0 lead.
After failing to make it past the third inning in any of his previous starts this season, Barton was able to stay in control against the Lions and prove to both himself and his coaches that he can answer the bell when his number is called.
“We got some good pitching from our junior, and now we will have three great pitchers to throw for districts,” Gators coach Mike Underwood said. “We are a young team, and I’m impressed with how we were hanging in there. We’ll give some people a run for their money down the stretch.”
Glades Day backed its starter by playing nearly perfect defense behind him, recording just one error while putting in several highlight-reel catches. Freshman center fielder Justin Sager was particularly sharp, covering a lot of ground in the outfield while recording four putouts.
Aided by the strong defensive effort, and perhaps inspired by the opportunity to prove himself to his team, Barton went the distance in throwing 109 pitches and pitching into the seventh. He allowed seven hits and three walks and finished with four strikeouts.
“There are a lot of reasons to come out here and play hard,” Barton said. “This is good momentum for us when we go versus King’s Academy [in the district playoffs].”
The Lions put runners on the bases in nearly every inning, but Barton and the Gators kept finding ways to get out of the jams unscathed.
In the second inning, after Robert Barradas singled for Zion’s first hit, Barton promptly picked him off with a quick move to first base. Then in the bottom of the fifth, Glades Day executed a nice 1-4-3 double play after the Lions put a pair of runners on with one out.
Then in the sixth, Zion loaded the bases to earn its best scoring chance thus far. But Barton responded with back-to-back strikeouts to erase the threat.
“As a pitcher there is always a bit of pressure, but I like having pressure on me,” Barton admitted. “It’s a part of the game and I want them to put the game in my hands. I want Coach to know he can trust me, that if he puts the ball in my hands I will do what I’ve got to do.”
Glades Day scored its only run in the top of the third inning, after freshman Thomas Corzo sparked things with a two-out infield single. Barton followed with a bloop single to center field to put runners on the corners and bring up senior Colten Coates, who wasted no time in smacking the first pitch he saw into center field to send Corzo across the plate.
But the Gators struggled to get runners on base after that, managing just a single from Eric Baez the rest of the way. Beaz was thrown out on a close steal attempt in what turned out to be the Gators last scoring opportunity.
Coates was 2-for-3 to lead the offense.