WINTER GARDEN — Jeslyn Whitehead’s huge day at the plate and on the mound helped lead the Olympia Titans past the West Orange Warriors 6-1.
With the win Friday evening, the Titans swept the season series against the Warriors, as they also topped West Orange 5-0 on April 11. Olympia (13-7, 5-3 district) also clinched the second seed for the upcoming district tournament with its victory, while West Orange will now be the third seed after going 4-4 in district play.
After both teams scored one run in the first inning, the Titans took the lead in the top of the second inning on an RBI triple from Chase Dunlap.
In the top of the fourth inning, Olympia extended its lead to 4-1 on a two-run single from Whitehead. Colin McMahon followed that up with an RBI single to give the Titans a four-run lead — and Whitehead's work on the mound did the rest.
Whitehead tossed a complete-game and struck out 12 hitters on the night.
“Outstanding,” Schall said of Whitehead’s performance. “Every time he goes out, that’s what he gives us. He threw a lot of breaking-balls early in the game, but once he started getting in a groove and started getting his fastball together, he’s tough.”
Offensively, the Titans totaled 10 hits and were led by Whitehead, who went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and one run scored. Dunlap, McMahon and Alexander Britton each had one RBI.
“We’ve been facing a lot of lefties, so that kind of helped us,” Olympia head coach Chuck Schall said on what led to his teams solid performance at the plate. “The kids did a good job of not trying to pull the ball, so we were hitting the ball the other way really well.”
Tanner Wood drove in the only run of the game for West Orange.
The game helped clear up the picture in District 9A-3.
Apopka (16-5, 7-1 district) had already secured the top seed, and with its pair of wins this week, the Titans avoided the possibility of being the No. 4 seed and having to play in the district's play-game. Instead, the Lake Brantley Patriots will take on the Wekiva Mustangs in the play-in game to see who plays the Blue Darters in one of the two district semifinals.
The district tournament will take place at Apopka, and the No. 2 Titans and No. 3 Warriors will do battle once more this season in the other district semifinal. The third meeting of the rivals will come with heightened stakes, as only the team that wins and advances to the district final will get to also advance to the regional playoffs.
“It’s nice to not have to play in the play-in game," Schall said. "It just makes us have to win one game, and we get another day of rest. We’re playing these guys (West Orange) in that game, and we’ll see (Doug) Nikhazy, and it’ll be a good game."