Cypress Bay's Eric English tossed a complete-game shutout to lead the Lightning 3-0 past Lake Brantley on Friday, earning the team's first berth in the 6A championship.
English (10-0) was dominant early, recording all five strikeouts in the first four innings. The senior right-hander, who entered with 111 strikeouts in 64 innings, effectively set up his fastball with a wicked slider, but appeared to tire in the extreme heat.
"(English) was nasty early on," Lake Brantley catcher Brett Smith said. "But the last couple of innings we started feeling more comfortable at the plate."
The Patriots' (21-9) best scoring threat came in the fifth when they loaded the bases on two singles and a hit batter. Then Noah Smith hit a looping check-swing liner into shallow leftfield that appeared as if it would drop in for a hit. But Lightning (29-2) shortstop Rick Davis made a diving, over-the-shoulder grab to end the inning.
Cypress Bay got all the runs it needed in the third. Mitch Houck punched a two-run double on an 0-2 pitch into leftfield for a 2-0 lead.