- March 17, 2015
The fact that Olympia currently is ranked as the No. 1 high school baseball program in all the land by both MaxPreps and USA Today doesn’t mean that the Titans haven’t had some close calls.
In fact, during spring break en route to a championship at the Florida League High School Invitational Showcase, Olympia (17-0) was pushed to the brink twice — on consecutive days, no less.
The Titans survived close calls at Sanford Memorial Stadium against Niceville and Florida Christian, winning both games by a final score of 3-2. The game against Niceville, in particular, saw Olympia escape after Cameron Montgomery’s walk-off single scored Dreniz Ozuna and Juan Hillman to complete a come-from-behind victory.
“We’re down 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh with one out — but my kids, they never quit,” Titans coach Chuck Schall said. “The good thing about our program is these guys have won a lot of baseball games, so they don’t panic and they’ve just got good chemistry. They think they’re going to win games — and you can’t teach that.”
The next day, after leading 3-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh, Olympia had to hold on for a 3-2 win after Florida Christian scored a pair of runs and had the tying and winning runs on base.
All-in-all, the Titans are not necessarily playing their best baseball lately; Schall suggested after the Florida Christian game that they have been in a bit of a rut. But that hasn’t stopped them from continuing to come out on top.
“We’re not really firing on all cylinders right now,” Schall said. “We’re kind of struggling a little bit right now, but we’re still finding a way to win a ballgame.”
Olympia defeated Pembroke Pines in the championship game on Saturday at Lake Brantley High School, 2-0.
Jake Senich, who recorded a three-inning save for Olympia as they held on for the win against Florida Christian, said the team has been able to stay on course thanks to the dynamic in the clubhouse.
“We work as a unit,” Senich said. “If someone’s down, we’re going to bring ‘em back up. We just all pull for each other.”
As for the rankings and the attention that comes with it, Schall said he and his players do their best to keep perspective on the team’s big-picture goals and to not get too caught up in any of the hype.
“We try not to think too much about the ranking; we just try to get better every day,” Schall said. “I tell the kids, ‘It really doesn’t matter where we’re ranked right now — we want to be ranked high at the end of the year.’ That’s what we’re shooting for. We’re not thinking about having an undefeated season or anything like that. We’re just going out there and trying to win a ball game.”