Finishing second in state just fine for Estero baseball coach

Finishing second in state just fine for Estero baseball coach

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Finishing second in state just fine for Estero baseball coach

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No, no, no, not today.

It had been the signature chant as well as rallying cry of a gritty, gutty, chatty Estero High baseball team.

The Wildcats heartbreaking loss in Class 5A state championship also meant a negative answer to the question: Would a Lee County public high school win its first state title?

Not today.

Two outs away from seeing the Wildcats celebrate that elusive title, Ponte Vedra tied the game in the top of the seventh inning, then scored four times in the ninth to beat Estero 6-2 on Thursday at JetBlue Park.

“I wouldn’t trade this for the whole world,” Estero baseball coach Frank Turco said. “They really showed me a different way to play the game.

“We feel like somebody. I enjoyed the heck out of it.”

With the ‘No, no, no, not today’ line borrowed from the Dikembe Mutombo’s Geico commercial, rally caps and Spanish chants from an almost all-white team, the Wildcats won Turco over as their focus, defense and pitching improved after an 8-7 start. Winning 13 of their last 16 games, they kept extending their season in amazing, improbable, even upsetting ways.

No, no, no, Cape Coral, Cypress Lake, baseball power Plantation American Heritage nor St. Johns Creekside would not beat Estero.

The Wildcats took their season to the final day of the Florida High School baseball season. They led 2-1 with runners on first and second and one out in the seventh.

A dropped popup after pitcher Zeke Pietrzyk collided with catcher Jason Moore changed momentum. Two pitches later, Ponte Vedra tied the game and two innings later, they won it.

Estero joins Fort Myers (1966), Cypress Lake (1967) and Riverdale (2008) as Lee County public high schools to reach the championship game. Private school Bishop Verot has won two state titles while finishing second twice.

While players said it was hard to appreciate their postseason play after a tough loss, some realized what they accomplished. Designated hitter Wesley Pruitt told teammates that two weeks from now they’d look back on this season with a lot of pride.

“That was a good run, boys,” sophomore center-fielder Terrell Chapman said.

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Finishing second in state just fine for Estero baseball coach
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