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Northwest News

Rising Warriors baseball program wins district title

Special correspondent
Published:   |   Updated: May 8, 2013 at 01:25 PM
LUTZ -

First they made it to the district level; now it’s on to the state title. That’s the way the Steinbrenner High School baseball team sees its season and has no intention of shutting down anytime soon.

The Warriors won their first district title by beating Wiregrass Ranch last week, but there’s still a long way to go.

It’s been a steady progression for the Warriors, who played their first game only four years ago. Now the Warriors are ranked 19th in the nation, according to the latest MaxPreps poll.

The growing pains didn’t last long, as Steinbrenner raised eyebrows almost from the day the school opened. Sure, getting to Fort Myers, the site of the FHSAA baseball finals, wasn’t much more than a dream four years ago, but now it is a distinct possibility.

“We got over the hump,” said pitcher Logan LaPace, who fired a complete game shutout in the win over Wiregrass Ranch. “We can play with anyone now and we know it. We’re looking ahead, but we’re still concentrating on every game as they come along.”

Steinbrenner coach John Crumbley said that the team finally has its missing ingredient.

“We finally have a lot of experience,” Crumbley said. “We have learned a lot, but now it is time to go further. We have had great kids ever since we started, but we have kept progressing more and more. We used to be satisfied with just making the playoffs, but now we have more than 20 wins and we still aren’t satisfied.”

The Warriors are loaded with hitting — especially from Cole Gordon and Alex Hanson — and Gideon Dunn (9-0) and LaPace anchor a deep pitching staff.

Outfielder Brennan Garcia, who hit a key double that scored two runs from the ninth spot in the batting order against Wiregrass Ranch, said the Warriors aren’t taking anything for granted.

“We know we can play,” Garcia said. “We aren’t satisfied yet. We still have a long way to go.”

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