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With a 6-3 victory over top-ranked Lake Mary in the 2018 Regional Championship, Baseball makes a return trip to the Final Four for the first time since 1996

Pack the bags for Ft. Myers!
5/23/2018 1:41:00 AM

One month ago, sophomore Derek Arroyo wrapped up a monster season for JV Baseball, batting .478 with two home runs, ten doubles and 25 RBIs. Last night, Arroyo became a varsity star. With the Panthers trailing, 3-2, in the top of the sixth inning, Arroyo belted a 1-2 pitch to the left field fence for a two-run triple that scored Will Sullivan and CJ Cantwell with the tying and game-winning runs as Dr. Phillips defeated top-ranked Lake Mary, 6-3, to clinch their first Regional Championship in 22 years. DP (18-13), winners of five of their last six games, started strong, as they've done throughout the Regional Tournament. Hamzah Nobles led off the game with a double to left, his record-tying 11th of the season, advanced to third on a groundout, and scored on a wild pitch. Two batters later, junior first baseman Will Sullivan blasted a solo home run deep into the night to give DP a 2-0 lead.

Starting pitcher Cort Roedig, who has been rock solid since his mid-season return from injury, continued his dominance on the hill, allowing just three hits while striking out seven batters though five innings of work and was virtually untouchable in every inning but the second. Lake Mary tied the game on a two-run home run and took their only lead of the game after a hit batsman, a stolen base, a throwing error and a groundout. But that 3-2 lead lasted into the top of the sixth before the Panthers struck again. Unable to capitalize with the bases loaded an inning earlier, DP wasted no time getting a rally going in the sixth. Will Sullivan ripped a leadoff single back through the box and CJ Cantwell laid down a picture-perfect bunt with the intention of sacrificing Sullivan over to second with the tying run. Instead, Lake Mary threw to second and tried to cut down Sullivan but the junior slid in safely with Cantwell reaching first base on the infield hit. That brought Derek Arroyo to the plate and after fouling off two pitches, the sophomore hit a rocket to the left field fence that scored Sullivan and Cantwell for a 4-3 lead. With Arroyo at third and nobody out, DP was in danger of letting a golden scoring opportunity slip away after a groundout to second and a pop out to the catcher. But as he's done all season long, especially in the playoffs, junior Raymond Negron-Valero delivered another clutch hit. After working the count to 3-2, Negron-Valero punched a shot into center field for a base hit, Derek Arroyo trotted home, and the Panthers' lead stretched to 5-3.

In the bottom of the sixth, junior right hander Logan Bryan came on in relief for Cort Roedig and threw straight gas, striking out the first two batters and forcing a pop up to second to end the inning. DP came to the plate in the seventh inning unsatisfied with a two-run lead. With two outs, three straight walks to CJ Cantwell, Derek Arroyo and Diego Garcia-Chirinos loaded the bases for Jacob Hartman. After a Lake Mary pitching change, Hartman was hit in the side on a 1-1 pitch, scoring Cantwell to push the lead to 6-3 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning. With the DP crowd in a frenzy and Lake Mary down to their last at-bats, Logan Bryan struck out the first batter in four pitches, shrugged off a single, struck out the next batter and needed just three pitches to strike out the final batter to clinch the victory. Bryan fanned five of the final six outs to pick up the save that sends Dr. Phillips to the State Final Four down in Ft. Myers, a feat they had not accomplished since winning the State Championship in 1996.

DP will await the winner of Wednesday's game between Timber Creek and Vero Beach, taking on the winner Friday, June 1st, at 4:00 pm at Centurylink Sports Complex. Jupiter and Miami Columbus will meet at 7:00 pm in the second semifinal with the 9A State Championship game to be played Saturday, June 2nd, at 7:35 pm. Tickets for the games are $9.00 if purchased in advance online at https://gofan.co/app/school/FHSAA and $12.00 at the gate on the day of the game. Please also be aware that parking is $10.00.

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