Chiles High settled down Friday night after a rough first inning in the state baseball semifinals. Unfortunately, that one inning cost the Timberwolves the chance to play for the school’s first state title.
Venice scored two quick runs in its first at-bat, and it proved to be enough as the Indians topped the Timberwolves, 4-0, in the Class 7A semifinals at Jet Blue Park in Southwest Florida.
The Indians, who are ranked in the top five nationally, now face Haines City in the 7A final today at 4 p.m.
Boomer Biegalski was a tough-luck loser for Chiles on the mound, scattering eight hits.
“It’s disappointing not to advance to the finals and say goodbye to the seniors,” Chiles coach Dick Steed said. “We didn’t play as well as we could’ve. We lost partly because of our own undoing, and also because of Venice’s great play. Their numbers are legit. Their pitching and defensive stats are insane. The hype behind them is true.”
Tyson Albert, the winning pitcher for Venice, gave up only four hits and finished an unbeaten personal season (8-0). He also lowered his 0.50 ERA for the year.
Albert shut down a Timberwolves team that had scored 33 runs in the postseason.
“Albert did a good job of keeping the ball down,” said Chiles center fielder Tyler Beal. “We clearly could’ve played a lot better. It was a good game, but Venice was just too good tonight.”
Albert only once allowed a Timberwolves runner as far as second base, on a fourth-inning double by Kyle Taddeo.
The Indians scored twice in the bottom of the first.
Dalton Guthrie led off with a single and then Colton Lightner walked. After a wild pitch advanced them both 90 feet, a ground out scored Guthrie and put Venice ahead 1-0, with Lightner moving to third. Mike Rivera then singled to left to score Lightner to make it a 2-0 Indian lead.
The Indians got two more runs in the sixth.