WINTER GARDEN The West Orange baseball team has just two losses to its credit this spring.
Tomorrow, it will face one of the two teams that it was defeated by — this time, with its season on the line.
The Warriors (25-2) will host the Apopka Blue Darters (23-5) in the Class 9A Regional Semifinals Tuesday night at 7 p.m.
It is the fifth meeting between the two rivals this season, with West Orange entering the winner-takes-all affair with a 3-1 advantage in the season series.
The first four meetings between the Warriors and Blue Darters have seen West Orange exit as the victor every time but once.
After sweeping the Apopka in the teams' district series (2-1, March 2; 10-0, March 4), Apopka scored a win in the championship of the Central Florida Spring Break Slam — a high-profile event the two programs, along with Dr. Phillips, partner to host. That 7-6 win for the Blue Darters March 24 ended in a walk-off hit-by-pitch.
West Orange defeated Apopka in the Class 9A, District 3 Championship, 10-2.
Expect West Orange to start ace Tyler Baum, while Apopka is likely to start Cameron Stewart. This matchup would mark just the second time that each team has seen the other team's respective ace.
Stewart was effective for Apopka in the the Darters' 2-1 loss to the Warriors the first time the teams met March 2, allowing just the two runs (neither earned) and three hits.
Baum, meanwhile, allowed just three hits and no runs during a more lopsided affair March 4 that West Orange won 10-0 in six innings.
With the regional final scheduled for May 10 — one week after the semifinal — both coaches could go to their bullpen quickly if there are signs of trouble, with no fear of wasting an arm for the regional final.
The meetings between West Orange and Apopka this season have been no strangers to fireworks. The two teams have hit six home runs in the four contests (three for each team), with a combined 16 extra-base hits between them (11 for West Orange, five for Apopka).