TAMPA - A catcher's overthrow to second base. A failure to act quickly on stolen-base attempts. A few bad breaks, including a bunt right into the pitcher's hands.
The little things did not seem so little by the end of eight innings when Davie Nova defeated Alonso 2-1 in the Class 5A semifinal Friday night. While it appeared the Ravens had the Titans figured out for most of the game, holding them to one hit and one run in seven innings, missed opportunities made the difference.
"We didn't execute," Alonso coach Landy Faedo said. "Those (fundamentals) are things we do really well, but we didn't get it done today."
The Ravens had nine hits, the most Nova senior pitcher Anthony Swarzak has allowed since his freshman year, but only took advantage of one in the fourth inning. Gus Fernandez singled up the middle to score Neill Boyd for the first run of the game.
The Titans tied it in the next inning after designated hitter Richie Mohammed struck out but reached first when Ravens catcher Matt Freshcorn had the ball slip out of his hand. He threw over first baseman Chris Whelan's head and Mohammed got on base. Jordan Velez singled to score Sebastian Fomenko, the pinch-runner for Mohammed.
In the top of the eighth, Nova's top hitter, Warren McFadden (.570 batting average in the regular season) led off with a base hit, and Alonso pitcher Mike Harley (seven strikeouts, two hits, five walks) was pulled for Matt Stephenson.
McFadden went to second on a wild pitch and stole third before scoring on Bruster Sampson's sacrifice fly to centerfield.
Alonso couldn't scratch out an answer in the eighth. Harley led off with a walk, but Whelan's bunt popped high and into Swarzak's hands. Swarzak threw out Harley at second. Chris Harley followed with a base hit, but the game ended on Boyd's line to shortstop.
Nova coach Pat McQuaid gave credit to Alonso, especially to Harley for keeping the Titans pressured.
"We only hit the ball hard maybe four times all day," he said.
"For high school kids to play under that kind of pressure is a tribute to both teams.