TAMPA - The Nova Titans of Davie used speed, power and defense to turn back Jacksonville Wolfson 6-3 and claim the Class 5A championship.
It was the first state title for Nova, which lost in the semifinals in 1991 and 2000.
After two scoreless innings, the Titans broke through for two runs in each of the next three. In the third, centerfielder Warren McFadden (1-4, two RBIs) got all of a 2-1 slider with the bases loaded and hit the 408-foot mark in dead center on one bounce, chasing home two baserunners.
"He had gotten me in the first on a sweeping curve to strike me out," McFadden said. "So I really wanted to get a good cut with the bases loaded."
"He's a great hitter," Wolfson pitcher Billy Butler said of McFadden. "What can I say? He hit .571 during the season so I knew what I was up against. He just got all of it."
Nova added two runs in the fourth on two hits, two walks and two wild pitches. Then, in the fifth, Nova closed out scoring with two more tallies on two stolen bases, one hit, a hit batsman and a fielder's choice that allowed the runner to score ahead of the throw to the plate. The Titans sent 22 batters to the plate in innings three through five, scoring six on just four hits. The Titans stole six bases in as many attempts.
"It was our plan to run as often as we could today," coach Pat McQuaid said. "In high school baseball, you win by making things happen and that's what we tried to do."
Nova also played flawlessly in the field, committing no errors to Wolfson's two.
Pablo Lopez (13-1) got the win for Nova. He ran into trouble in the fifth when the Wolfpack opened the inning with three sharp singles, eventually scoring three runs. But Lopez got first baseman Richie Lucas to ground to first with two on to end the threat.
McQuaid, who has coached 30 years at Nova, where he also played, said the win was all about the players.
"I am not going to be a better coach tomorrow because I won a state title today. This is their day," he said.
"They deserved it, they went out there and got it, and they'll be talking about this championship when they're 60 years old."