By Josh Levine
Gateway High School junior Faruis Franco scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning to lead the Gators to a dramatic 5-4 victory over Waldorf in the Bay Counties League Central semifinals on Tuesday at Big Rec.
The Gators (10-5, 8-3) were up 3-1 after the first inning, but the Wolverines (7-15, 5-6) fought back and tied the game at 4-4 after four innings.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, with the bases loaded and two outs, Gateway senior Chris Johengen went up to bat against Waldorf pitcher Peter Schwarzenbach. On the first pitch, Schwarzenbach’s pitch was in the dirt and got past catcher Nick Zatopa.
“When I went up to pitch, all I could think about was throwing strikes,” said Schwarzenbach, referring to Johengen’s at bat. “Unfortunately, I didn’t and the ball went in the dirt. Today was a terrible game for me.”
Gateway starting pitcher Daniel Galvez only allowed two hits, struck out seven and gave up an earned run over five innings.
“My job was to go out there and throw strikes,” said Galvez. “Hopefully my fielders could come through and make some plays. It was frustrating [with the errors] but we fought through it and won.”
With the victory, the Gators advance to the championship game against top-seeded International (15-9. 10-0) which defeated Bay 10-0 in the other semifinal on Tuesday.
“We are going to be ready for them,” said Gators Head Coach Brandon Lemus. “It’s all about beating International.”
The Gators had five hits against Schwarzenbach, but none bigger than two singles in the seventh inning by Franco and Donald Phonseya. After walking Matt Kalkbroshy, Wolverines Head Coach Steven Griggs decided to leave in Schwarzenbach to finish the game.
“Peter has been our workhorse all year for us, when it comes down to it we want him on the mound,” said Griggs. “He really threw a great game for us, and we didn’t produce enough runs. We really should have had a couple more runs and really capitalized on their errors.”
Max Coles got the win for the Gators, pitching two scoreless innings and allowing only one hit. Schwarzenbach received the loss in a complete-game effort.