Off to a 4-1 start, Ocoee boasts a mix of old and new faces as it prepares to host West Orange on Thursday.
OCOEE Coach Bobby Brewer will be the first to tell you that it hasn’t been pretty, but his Ocoee Knights are off to a 4-1 start this spring after the Knights held on for a 6-4 win Saturday afternoon against Liberty.
“We are winning as ugly as you can win, but … they’re learning how to win around here,” Brewer said. “The kids play hard all the time — they practice hard all the time.”
Dylon Romano led Ocoee at the plate, going 2-for-4 with three RBI. Jordan Brong also had a pair of hits.
The victory was the second of a week in which the Knights defeated Dr. Phillips for the first time in program history, winning 7-5 Feb. 18. In that contest, senior Logan Cariglio drove in two runs, and freshman Hylan Hall went 1-for-3 with an important RBI.
“The (Dr. Phillips) game the other day was a big game for us,” Brewer said. “A lot of our parents who have had older kids in the program, they really appreciated it because, for a while now, we’ve not been on the same page with the West Oranges, and the DPs, and the Apopkas and the Olympias — but we’ve been knockin’ on the door against all of them the past few years.”
Just last season, Ocoee defeated West Orange for the first time (10-7 March 19, 2015) and played Olympia — then the No. 1 team in the nation — into extra innings before falling 4-3 in 10 innings March 6, 2015.
Although Brewer lost eight seniors from that team, which set a program-record for wins in a season (18), he has seen his lineup infused by a combination of program stalwarts — such as Cariglio and Noah Satterwhite — and new faces such as Apopka transfer Ryan Brewer (Bobby Brewer’s nephew) and freshmen Hall and Matthew Slaver.
Because the FHSAA moved baseball and softball to nine classifications for this season, Ocoee is no longer in the same district as West Orange, Apopka and Olympia, but the Knights will still get a shot at all three area powerhouses — starting Feb. 25 with a home game at 4 p.m. against the Warriors (4-1).
“Every time we play (West Orange), it’s just a big deal,” Brewer said. “We’ll have a lot of energy for them. They always have good players, they’re well-coached, and it’ll be a lot of fun.”
Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected].