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Benjamin Holds Off Cardinal Newman To Win 3A-11

The 2023 District 3A-11 champion Benjamin Buccaneers.

Nick Banner delivered an RBI single to center field to drive in Freddy Beruvides in the bottom of the fifth inning, to cap a two-run comeback that earned the Benjamin Buccaneers a 4-3 victory for the District 3A-11 championship on Thursday afternoon. It is the first title since 2018 for the host Buccaneers (23-2), who celebrated their 16th district championship overall.

“I’m so proud of our team and seniors for showing tremendous perseverance and grit as we were down early in the game. We clawed our way back to defeat a very good Cardinal Newman team,” Benjamin Manager Chad Mills said. “It has been five years since Benjamin won a district championship, so we are so happy for our seniors and the school. We’re looking forward to the FHSAA 3A playoffs.”

The Bucs grabbed an early lead with a run in the bottom of the first, when sophomore Jackson Miller tagged up and scored on a sac-fly RBI from senior Walker Buchanan. Miller led off the inning by crushing a 1-0 offering to center for a lead-off triple, as he went 2-for-3 with a walk.

But the Crusaders (14-11) answered back to take the lead with all three of their runs in the top of the second inning to go ahead 3-1. Sophomore catcher Alex Thompson singled to right and then advanced into scoring position when sophomore Finn Duran walked. The Bucs erased Duran at second on a 6-4 fielder’s choice off the bat of sophomore Jesse Nocerini to get within an out of escaping the jam, as Thompson advanced to third.

Box Score

Senior Blaise Boissean then came through with a two-RBI double to left that plated both base runners to take the lead. Boissean also came home, thanks to an RBI single from sophomore Gabriel Acevedo.

Benjamin inched closer when freshman Griffin Miller scored on a wild pitch in the fourth, before completing the rally with the deciding runs in the fifth. Senior Rocco Gaeta got it started with an infield single, and he advanced into scoring position when Beruvides was hit by a pitch. Both runners tagged up on a fly ball to right from junior Brodey Bitove, and a wild pitch allowed Gaeta to score and tie the game to set up Banner for the winning hit.

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