tampabay.com

Canterbury speechless after plans for state upended

Crusaders suffer 6-2 loss to Sarasota Christian in the Class A region final.

By BOB PUTNAM
Published May 10, 2007


SARASOTA - For several minutes Wednesday no one moved, not a sound was uttered, except for a few Canterbury players taking off their cleats. Crusaders assistant coach John Lancaster went from player to player, issuing a comforting and paternal pat on the back following a 6-2 loss to Sarasota Christian in the Class A region final.

As the Canterbury players started to collect themselves, they tried their best to explain the sadness, the disbelief and pride that was still swirling in their hearts for a team many believed had a legitimate chance to advance to the state final.

"It hurts, " Canterbury catcher Brandon Hamilton said. "We had such high expectations entering this game."

Canterbury was ranked third in the latest Class A state poll and had beaten the Blazers twice during the regular season. That gave the Crusaders high hopes they could win a third time and get past the team that eliminated them in last season's region final.

But Canterbury, so close to advancing, was flattened by its archenemy.

Afterward, the Crusaders seemed to be in shock, the wind sucked out of them when Sarasota Christian crushed their state semifinal ambitions once again.

"It's hard to beat a team three times in the regular season, " Lancaster said. "For some reason, we just didn't hit the ball well enough."

Though the loss was tough, Canterbury can take solace in knowing it has a future together. Every starter is back next season.

"We'll have a solid lineup, " Lancaster said. "Teams are definitely going to have to go through us next season."

Bob Putnam can be reached at putnam@sptimes.com or at 727 445-4169.