Ft. Myers —
The defending state champions didn't make it, neither did 40 other Class 1A teams that played FHSAA boys baseball this season. Only four teams advanced to the finals played at JetBlue Park in Ft. Myers for the second season.
Following the big win over Trenton High in the Regional Championship game last week, Lafayette High earned the right to play in the high school baseball version of the final four along with Chipley, Williston and Paxton High. Lafayette got the early 10 a.m. semifinal game on Monday against the Chipley High Tigers.
Prepared and ready, the Hornets sent sophomore ace pitcher Micah Byrd (10-2) to the mound. After a quick top half of the inning for the visiting Hornets, Chipley came to bat and led by Dallas Oliver (3-for-4, with three doubles), they got hot bats at the perfect time of the season. In the large expanses of JetBlue, spring training home to the Boston Red Sox, the hits found gaps and holes that couldn't be covered.
After the first inning was complete, the Tigers plated seven runs and never looked back. Lafayette broke-up the shutout in the third inning scoring one run, but the Tigers picked-up the deciding run in the bottom of the fifth inning to bring the score to 11-1 and ending the game with the 10 run rule.
Four Hornets batters recorded a hit in the game, Logan Hewett, Jacob Henderson, Mark Hoehn and Shane Harris. Byrd pitched the first three innings striking out two and allowing nine hits before being relieved by Mark Hoehn.
The young team will be back, graduating only two seniors, to contend for the district and regional titles and trip back to JetBlue Park to "finish it".