By JOHN C. COTEY, FRANK PASTOR, SCOTT PURKS and MIKE READLING
© St. Petersburg Times, published May 17, 2001
Brian Nowotny, Tampa Catholic: The Crusader senior started a seventh-inning, come-from-behind rally with a single and ended it six runs later with the game-winning single up the middle as TC defeated Marianna.
Mario Lombardo, Bishop Moore: Lombardo went 2-for-4 with 2 doubles, 2 runs and 4 RBI. He also stole a base.
Steven Will, Seabreeze: Will hit a three-run triple to the rightfield wall to highlight a five-run fifth inning that brought the Sandcrabs back from a three-run deficit in a 6-4 win over Cape Coral.
"The first thing he said was, 'I thought this field didn't have bad hops."' -- ANTHONY CAMPANELLA, Seabreeze coach on third baseman Scott Blanford, who broke his nose trying to field a grounder during warmups.
If a private school from south Florida played in the state tournament the past four years, you can almost bet that Miami Gulliver Prep senior rightfielder Alex Suarez was on it.
Suarez played in his third state tournament for his third different team Wednesday, setting what is believed to be a state record.
As a freshman, Suarez played for Miami Westminster Christian, which won the Class 2A title in 1998. He transferred to Miami Pace for his sophomore and junior years, finishing second in 1999, and moved to Gulliver Prep this season. The Raiders lost in the semifinals.
Those are the names listed next to the "Errors" line in the Orlando Bishop Moore-Gulliver Prep game.
How does Tampa Catholic's comeback compare with others since the tournament moved to Tampa? Well, it's tough to beat. So we'll give the Crusaders No. 1, and here's the rest of our top 10:
2. Jesuit, 2000: With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, the Tigers manage three two-strike hits, including Greg Quatrino's game-winning double, to beat Royal Palm Beach 2-1 and advance to the 4A final.
3. Merritt Island, 2000: The Mustangs trailed 5-2 entering the bottom of the seventh, but come back to win the Class 5A title. 4. Florida Air Academy, 1998: Edgardo Salgado triples in the tying run and scores the game-winner on a wild pitch as the Falcons score twice in the seventh to beat Gulliver Prep and win the 3A championship.
5. Miami Northwest Christian, 1998: Northwest's 6-foot-5, 250-pound cleanup hitter, Jerry Nelson, executes a squeeze bunt in the seventh to give his team a 5-4 win over Malone in the Class A semifinals.
6. Daytona Beach Father Lopez, 1997: The Green Wave score once in the bottom of the eighth to stay alive and win it in the 10th as David Keesee's bases-loaded ground ball is thrown away in a 6-5 Class 2A semifinal.
7. Merritt Island, 2000: Once down 4-0, the Mustangs tie the semifinal and win it with two runs in the 10th inning. 8. South Miami, 2000: Two runs in the seventh give Dade County its first public school champion since 1985 as the Cobras beat Colonial 4-2 for the 6A title.
9. Gulliver Prep, 1998: The Raiders reach the 3A final with a 1-0 win over Jacksonville Bolles on Ryan Anania's eighth-inning hit.
10. Miami Brito, 1999: Arlington Country Day had a 5-3 lead in the top of the seventh, but dropped two fly balls as Brito scored four runs to win the Class A final 7-5.
TICKETS: $6 per two-game session and available at the gate. Parking is $2.
- Compiled by John C. Cotey, Frank Pastor, Scott Purks and Mike Readling.
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