ALTAMONTE SPRINGS Doug Nikhazy and reliever Cole Beavin combined for seven innings of scoreless baseball Friday night and, when it was all said and done, the West Orange baseball team had locked up the top seed in the Class 9A, District 3 Tournament with a 5-0 victory over host Lake Brantley.
Nikhazy got the win, pitching 5.2 innings while striking out 11 hitters and Beavin came on to earn the four-out save for the Warriors (18-2, 6-0 district).
"(Nikhazy) has been doing well for us — like I've been saying all year, I feel like we've got three No. 1's," head coach Jesse Marlo said. "I've got confidence in any of those guys."
"I think it helps us just being the last team that will get to bat (in the district tournament). A lot of these games have come down to the last team up and that's probably what's going to happen in the district."
Jesse Marlo, West Orange baseball coach
With the win, West Orange secured the top seed in the 9A-3 tournament, which will take place beginning April 19 at Olympia. The Warriors have a pair of district games yet to play next week against the rival Titans, but — because no other team in the district has less than three losses —West Orange has locked up first place.
"I think it helps us just being the last team that will get to bat (in the district tournament)," Marlo said. "A lot of these games have come down to the last team up and that's probably what's going to happen in the district."
Ethan Jones continued to swing a hot bat at the plate, driving in three of the Warriors' five runs. Chris Seise and Bobby Head also drove in runs for West Orange.
The one blemish on an otherwise solid victory for the program was the ejection of senior leader Nate Schreckengost for tossing his bat after striking out in the top of the seventh inning. It remains to be determined how many games the Warriors' first baseman will miss as a result, but it could include both games against Olympia next week.
Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected].