Oviedo-Hagerty baseball finale goes down to the wire


Dominique Moise

The Lions warm up before the 5th inning begins.

Dominique Moise, Online Editor

It was a humid and cloudy Friday afternoon at Mikler Field. Fans packed the stands as the Lions (8-10) prepared to take on their bitter rivals: the Huskies (13-5). After a devastating 11-0 defeat on Tuesday at Hagerty, the varsity squad looked to even the series. With Kaiden Lopez, 11, as the starting pitcher, Oviedo was ready for what was sure to be an exciting game during a season that one fan described as “an incredibly hard up-and-down fight.”

Lopez started off well with a strike on the first pitch and eventually an out after a fly ball to right-center field. He struck out the second batter and forced the next one to chop the ball straight to him for an easy third out. However, throughout this strong opening, the Huskies dugout was raucous with constant chants, jeers, and distracting noises to get any kind of advantage they could – something they would continue for the entire game.

In the bottom of the first, the Lions were able to reach first base, but the Huskies stopped them in the tracks before any big plays could happen.

In the second inning, the Huskies were able to get into scoring position on second base after Lopez tried to check a runner at first and messed up the throw. A hit to right field later, and the Huskies scored their first run on a double play. The Lions closed out the inning, but failed to get on base in the bottom of the second.

The third inning got even worse as the Huskies got big hit after big hit, resulting in them scoring three more runs. Now, down 4-0, the Lions turned it up in their half of the inning with Tyler Coopersmith getting on base and Kyle Ball hitting a double. As a batter, Kaiden Lopez made the biggest play yet with a single, bringing Coopersmith and Ball home to make it a 2-run game. Now with the crowd back in it, Oviedo was feeling the energy.

The fourth inning started with the Huskies getting an out on a deep ball to left-center field. But since they still had a runner on base, Coach Andy Lyon put in relief pitcher, Ben Filler, to keep the Huskies in check. Filler got another fly ball, but ended up loading the bases after walking two batters. However, he was able to close out the inning without giving up a score.

The bottom of the fourth was pure chaos. Ian DeVos got hit by the ball before getting walked, Brad Kantrowitz bunted, but the Huskies got DeVos out – all before Coopersmith got a single to put runners on first and second. One out later, Ben Filler got a hit and brought in a run after Hagerty’s shortstop fumbled the ball. Cooper Pitman got a clutch single to bring another run home and barely got to first base safe to keep the inning going. But, the umpire called Kyle Ball out on a strike to an upset crowd. 

Thanks to big hits and smart base running tactics, the Lions had tied it up. In the top of fifth, Filler got two outs on fly balls, but ended loading the bases again on walks. While his endgame was to not make the big mistake, he ended up letting a few batters off the hook. But, with excellent precision, he made crucial strikes when he needed to keep the game tied at 4-4.

In the bottom of the fifth, Hagerty’s pitcher ended up walking Colin Napier while the bases were loaded to bring a runner home easily and give OHS a 5-4 lead. But the umpire called another controversial third out, this time with Filler on the plate. In the top of the sixth, Hagerty got a double, a wild pitch, and a sacrifice fly ball in their favor to get another run to tie the game at 5-5.

In the bottom half, Cooper Pitman slammed a deep ball to left-center field for a double that got the crowd roaring. A sacrifice fly ball and a hit to center field later, Pitman scored a run. After a strikeout and a fly ball, the inning was over, but with the Lions now up, 6-5, all they needed were three outs to win it.

In the final inning, Filler got a strikeout and walked a batter on a 4-1 count before getting subbed out after his great performance. Brody Pezza came into the game with the chance to save the game, but after a deep hit into left field for a double, the runner at first ran across the plate to tie the game at 6-6. Another hit for Hagerty brought another runner home and by the time the Lions got three outs, the damage was done. 

No thanks to some serious miscommunication, the Lions found themselves down a run rather than up one and they would only have one more inning to tie it up.

Coppersmith’s at-bat had a strike and two balls before he sent a fly ball to right field for out number one. Napier’s at-bat went the same way before a hit to first base resulted in out number two. With Oviedo needing a hit to stay alive, Thomas Tanner got it with a single that went over the third baseman’s head.

It all came down to Pitman who ended up being level with the pitcher on a 3-2 count out. Needing to not concede an easy strike, Pitman made contact with a hit to third base, but Hagerty’s infielder just got to the ball in time. 

The third out was made and the ballgame was over: Huskies 7, Lions 6. While the Lions made great plays throughout the game, crucial mistakes made in the infield along with Hagerty’s persistence resulted in a tough loss, but a valuable lesson.