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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Friday, Jun. 9, 2017 3 years ago

Bishop Moore Hornets earn state runner-up honors 

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The Bishop Moore Catholic High School baseball team has a lot to be proud of after coming out as the runner up in the state championship.
by: Tim Freed Managing Editor

The Bishop Moore Catholic High School Hornets made it all the way to the state championship in baseball last week, coming out as the state runner-up after falling 7-2 to defending champions The Bolles School (Jacksonville). 

It was a tremendous season for the Hornets, who cruised through the postseason. They held their opponents scoreless in the two games leading up to the state championship, pulling off a 3-0 win over South Sumter High School in the regional finals and crushing Lemon Bay High School 8-0 in a state semifinal. 

The two games featured phenomenal pitching from workhorse starting pitcher and Bishop Moore senior Josh Bates. His work on the mound helped send his team to a game it missed last year after falling in the state semifinals. 

Bates pitched a no-hitter through six innings against Lemon Bay, just one inning away from a pitcher’s ultimate bragging right. 

“He’s matured tremendously in the last two-and-a-half months,” Bishop Moore coach Tony Mehlich said after the state semifinal win. “Offensively, I told the guys that if we score five, six, seven runs, we have a chance to beat anybody with Josh on the mound.” 

“They’ve been preaching to us, get ahead in the count so you can have fun and use other stuff,” Bates said regarding his pitching mix. “I really felt my fastball and my curveball was on, too.” 

However, things got out of hand early in the state championship game, played at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers. The varsity squad spotted Bolles five runs in the top of the first inning. 

It was also a game with significant delays. The start of the game was pushed back two hours because of inclement weather and stopped midway once again for about an hour. 

Connor Scheitzach doubled to left field and Fabian Escalante tripled to centerfield in the bottom of the fourth to bring the score to 6-2, but it wasn’t enough to complete the comeback. 

Escalante and Kyle Mock each finished 2-for-3 with a run scored. 

The Hornets finished the season with an overall record of 21-11. 

During Mehlich’s three years as head coach, Bishop Moore has finished as the regional runner up, regional champion and state runner up. They could remain competitive, as well. Two of their top players — Mock and Escalante — are only sophomores, and show a bright future ahead for the team. 

Escalante led the team with a batting average of .386 during the season up through the regional tournament championship. He also held the top spot for RBIs with 18. Mock held a team-leading 30 runs, along with three home runs and a .369 batting average. The sophomore is already a Troy commit, along with senior Bobby Spitulski, who led the team with 34 hits and posted a batting average of .374. 

Tim Freed was the managing editor for the West Orange Times & Observer and the Southwest Orange Observer. He previously spent six years covering the Winter Park/Maitland area and is a graduate of the University of Central Florida.

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