For those working 9 to 5 shifts, get ready to take off work these next two weeks. Get ready to save some money as well. Here’s a look at the FHSAA Finals schedule for the state semifinal games:
Cost per game: $9 | Parking: $8
For the first time in almost 30 years and for just the fourth time in 91 years, high school state baseball championships will be decided in Lee County.
For local programs Estero and Bishop Verot to advance to their respective title games, they will need to do so playing out of prime time next week in the state semifinals.
The Florida High School Athletic Association released the game times for the state semifinal baseball games Saturday. From Wednesday through Thursday, May 23, 16 semifinal and then eight state championship games will be played at JetBlue Park, spring training home of the Boston Red Sox.
Bishop Verot will play Pensacola Catholic, the top-ranked team in USA Today’s Super 25, at 4 p.m. Monday in the Class 4A semifinals.
Estero will play St. John’s Creekside at 4 p.m. Tuesday in the Class 5A semifinals.
“The main point of the scheduling is we have to make sure the teams have the same amount of time between the semifinals and the state title game,” said Cristina Broska, the FHSAA director of athletics. “We also take into consideration the travel for the other teams.”
With Creekside and Catholic traveling from opposite ends of the state, Broska said they were likely to arrive the night before their games regardless of when they were to play in the semifinals.
Putting those teams at 4 p.m. against local opponents Estero and Bishop Verot made sense, she said.
“Nobody’s perfect,” Broska said. “This is not a formula. We just try to do the best that we can so that everybody has fun. And it’s not easy. Schools were contacting me about playing at certain times because of other things going, like graduations. We don’t want them to have to choose one or another.”
Estero coach Frank Turco said he had no issue playing at 4 p.m. versus 7:30 p.m.
“Nothing’s going to bother me,” Turco said. “I’m so happy that we’re here. Just to get in is an honor. If they tell us to play at 10 in the morning, we’re going to play and have fun.”
Turco said his energized fan base should be able to get out of work early in order to witness the game. Fort Myers in 1966 and Cypress Lake in 1967 are the only Lee County baseball teams to have played for a state title in Lee County.
“It would have been nice to have played at night, but I don’t think it matters,” Turco said. “People love a Cinderella story, whether it be FGCU or Estero High School. That’s what this is. To beat a team like American Heritage that’s loaded, that was a pretty good team to knock off.”