Too few clutch hits. Too many stranded baserunners.
Orlando’s First Academy ended Bolles’ season with a 2-1 victory in the Class 3A state semifinals at CenturyLink Sports Complex in Fort Myers on Monday morning.
Bolles was the third area team to reach the state semifinal round this year. St. Johns Country Day (Class 2A) and Fleming Island (Class 6A) both lost in state championship games.
The last time an area team won a baseball crown was in 2017, when both Bolles (Class 5A) and Nease (Class 7A) won. The Bulldogs lost in the 2018 title game.
One inning did in the Bulldogs.
Bolles (25-5) gave up two runs in the bottom of the second, both of them unearned. Greg Pettay singled with two outs, pushing in both Royals runs. And that was enough for starter Isaac Sewell (15-0) to work with.
Bolles had its chances. It put two runners on base in the fourth inning with no outs but stalled out in an odd situation. Aidan Lynch singled to left field, but went down clutching his hip area in the batter’s box and couldn’t make it to first base.
Bolles stranded a runner in the fifth but had a prime chance the following inning.
Tanner Zellem doubled to lead off the inning and came home on Jaden Flowers single. But Bolles hit into a double play and then grounded out to let the Royals (29-1) escape.
Bolles ace Jackson Baumeister (9-3) had control issues early with hit batters but settled down quickly and finished his career with a sterling performance. Baumeister struck out 10, scattered six hits and walked just one. Both runs were unearned.
Flowers had a stellar day at the plate, going 3 for 3 with an RBI.