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Nova Walks Off St. Thomas Aquinas To Return To States

The Titans dogpile to celebrate their 4-3, walk-off win over St. Thomas Aquinas. [Photo courtesy of Tom Martinez]

Late Tuesday night Isaiah Goodman cemented his name into Nova Titans history forever. The junior outfielder drove an RBI single into center field to send home Taylor Mateo for the winning run, as Nova walked off to a 4-3 victory over St. Thomas Aquinas in the bottom of the twelfth inning of an 8A regional championship at Pat McQuaid Field at Doug Amos Stadium in Davie.

In perhaps the fiercest and most intense rivalry in Broward County, the heroes that emerge from these games are forever enshrined into the epic storyline. In recent years Nova had less fond memories in the rivalry, as the Titans last beat the rival Raiders on April 26th, 2012. Now Isaiah Goodman will always be remembered for his contributions on Tuesday night, which helped take down a fierce rival while also putting the Titans (24-3) back into the state tournament for the first time in 12 years.

Goodman was only five years old when the Titans last played in the state tournament, when Nova won the 2005 5A title while also capturing the National Championship that season. Now he and the rest of his Titan teammates will eagerly await the result of Friday’s 8A regional final between Tallahassee Lincoln and Tampa Wharton to see which opponent they will face in an 8A state semifinal next Friday, June 2nd, at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.

St. Thomas (22-6) opened with a 3-0 lead after three innings of play, before the Titans rallied to even things up and force extra innings. Kyle Benson drilled a triple and then scored on an RBI single from Cade Fergus, who then scored as well thanks to an RBI double from Aaron Antonini in the top of the second. An inning later Chris Ruckdeschel added an RBI single to center to drive in Chris Valencia for the three-run advantage.

Nova starter Trace Moore dug in after that to hold the rope and give Nova a chance for the comeback. The junior left-hander tossed six straight scoreless innings to close out his work on the mound, going nine full frames while allowing three earned runs on six hits and two walks. The southpaw struck out four.

Moore’s biggest contribution may have come at the plate, however. After Goodman got things going with an RBI double in the fourth, Jared Campbell helped bring Nova closer with a solo home run in the fifth. That put Moore in position to come through in a huge way with his club down to its final out. After Gabriel Paulson singled and stole second, Moore came up with two outs in the bottom of the seventh and delivered an RBI single to center field that tied things up and made the victory possible.

Julian Cendejas picked up the victory for Nova. The senior right-hander tossed three scoreless innings in relief, allowing one hit while striking out four on 38 total pitches.

The Raiders raced out to a 3-0 lead early, before Nova rallied to victory late. [Photo courtesy of Tom Martinez]

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