Canterbury School’s chances of winning District 3A-11 wound up much like the Cougars’ base runners Friday afternoon — stranded.
But Canterbury nonetheless will still move on to the state playoffs despite a 4-2 loss to Seacrest Country Day School in a district championship game at Seacrest in Naples.
The Cougars trailed from the bottom of the first inning on, but had opportunities to tie or win the game later. But Canterbury, the No. 3 seed in the tournament, left five runners on base in the final three innings and 12 for the game.
“It’s disappointing to lose, sure, but I couldn’t be prouder of our guys,” said Canterbury coach Marc Taglieri. “We showed unbelievable fight and character. At the end, we faced a senior pitcher who made great pitches when he had to.”
That would be Donato Dinorcia, who pitched 61/3 innings in the win for the Stingrays, who allowed only six hits. Jay Jenkins pitched the last 2/3 innings for the save.
The Cougars had the tying runs on base in their last at-bat with one out when Jenkins coaxed a double play to end it.
Sam Keating and Mike Matter each had three hits for Canterbury.
Jenkins had a hit and two big RBI for the top-seeded Stingrays.
“This was a great district title game,” said Seacrest coach Mark Marsala. “Donato maybe didn’t have his best stuff, but he kept battling and battling. He did what was important, in that he finished the job. We knew all the while he’d keep us in the game.”
The Stingrays will face Palm Beach Benjamin at home in the region quarterfinals on Thursday.
The Cougars, as district runner-up, play on the road at the King’s Academy on Thursday.
The Cougars scored in their first at-bat. Keating doubled leading off the game, and one out later, Matter singled him home for a 1-0 lead.
But the Stingrays also came ready to hit in their first at-bat. Donato Dinorcia led off with a walk, stole second and went to third on a groundout and, after Elliott Gonzales was hit by a pitch, Jenkins punched out a two-run double. Jenkins then stole third and scored on a Cougar error to put Seacrest up 3-1.
But Canterbury got a run in the third. Bryan Eberle singled, went to second on another hit by Matter and scored on an error by the Seacrest catcher.
In the third, Seacrest made it 4-2 after Gonzalez singled and later scored on David Dinorcia’s single to center.