Foundation baseball rolling with six straight W’s -- Observer Preps

The Lions have yet to lose in the month of April and are emerging as a contender for one of two playoff spots that will be awarded in Class 3A, District 3.

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  • | 11:45 a.m. April 20, 2017
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WINTER GARDEN Don’t look now, but the Foundation Academy baseball has won six consecutive games and is eyeing its first playoff berth since 2013.

The Lions (10-6) have been rolling since the beginning of the month, starting with a 6-3 win against Cornerstone Charter April 4 — the first of two wins against the Ducks. Foundation Academy also notched an extra-inning win over Real Life Christian Academy April 6 and won three games last week, sweeping Legacy Charter in a district series and topping Windermere Prep on Senior Night.

For first year head coach Derreck Santiago, the Lions’ success has been a product of actualizing potential that was there from the beginning of the season.

“We had all the pieces there, available to us (at the beginning of the season),” Santiago said. “It was just a matter of it happening.”

Over the stretch of more than two weeks, Santiago said his team has improved at the plate and at the mound.

“We’ve had strong pitching from other guys that generally aren’t starters. (On) different nights, there’s a different person getting valuable hits.”

— Derreck Santiago, coach

“The hitting has come, the pitching has come,” Santiago said. “We’ve had strong pitching from other guys that generally aren’t starters. (On) different nights, there’s a different person getting valuable hits.”

Senior Cory Rahman leads the team in hits (20), runs scored (21) and batting average (.385) while Tyler Kousaie, a sophomore, leads Foundation in RBIs (eight).

Evan Lawless, a senior, has been remarkably consistent on the mound for the Lions, getting the lion’s share of the workload while amassing an ERA of just 1.12 en route to four wins. Fellow senior Miguel Gonzalez also has been strong on the hill, with four wins to his credit.

Santiago said he was particularly impressed by his team’s win on its Senior Night against the Lakers. Against a good team and with a larger than usual crowd of friends and family present, the Lions held on for a 4-1 victory though Windermere Prep threatened to rally back several times.

“For them to do just enough to get the win — with everything going on — for them to produce and get the win to me was very strong for us,” Santiago said.

The Lions finished 11-10-1 in 2016 after sub-.500 seasons in 2014 and 2015. Their last playoff appearance was in 2013, when that team reached the regional championship in Class 2A. 

Now in Class 3A, Foundation Academy is eyeing the No. 2 seed in the Class 3A, District 3 Tournament that begins May 1. The Lions have a 7-3 record in district play and if they can advance to the district championship game, where they likely would face top-seeded The Master’s Academy (Oviedo), they would return to the state playoffs.


Contact Steven Ryzewsk at [email protected].


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