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Archbishop McCarthy Wins Thriller Over Rockledge In 9th

Juan Cerra had the game-winning hit in the ninth inning for the Mavericks.

Juan Cerra laced a double to center field with two outs in the top of the ninth inning and Stephen Joyce scored, to lift Archbishop McCarthy to a 5-4 extra-inning win over the Rockledge Raiders in a regional semifinal game on Friday. Joyce reached base with a one-out single and moved into scoring position on a fielder’s choice. That’s when Cerra provided what proved to be the game-winning hit for the Mavericks (15-14) in their upset of Rockledge (26-3), which came into the game ranked #1 in Space Coast.

The game went back and forth with Archbishop McCarthy taking a 2-0 lead in the third inning. Rockledge answered with a three-run fourth inning for a 3-2 lead. But the Mavericks regained the advantage, 4-3, with two more runs in the sixth, only to have the Raiders tie it in dramatic fashion with a run in the bottom of the seventh.

McCarthy broke a scoreless tie in the third inning on RBI-doubles from Danny Machado and Miguel Delgado.

But Rockledge answered an inning later when J.J. Silberzahn singled and eventually scored on a passed ball. Kaden Jones then delivered an RBI-single, and Ezra Fafard lifted a sacrifice fly, scoring Cayden Cross with the go-ahead run.

Momentum shifted back to Archbishop McCarthy in the sixth inning with RBI-singles from Bryan Arrieta and Greg Caban as the Mavericks regained a one-run advantage.

But Rockledge answered back. A sacrifice fly with one out in the seventh inning off the bat of Jonathan Matos scored Cross with the tying run and sent the game into extra innings. Although things could have been worse, as the winning runs were on the bases before the Mavericks got out of trouble.

“We end up getting out of a crazy, crazy jam by only giving up one run,” Vorachek said.

Nine different Mustangs collected 10 hits. Cerra had two and eight others added one apiece. Among them were Caden Coleman, Robert Kerns, and Michael Conger.

McCarthy pitching was also outstanding, beginning with starter Zach Tavarez, who worked the first six innings while striking out four and allowing just three hits and two walks. Jeff Vallejo pitched 1.1 innings of one-hit ball, and Nick Miller earned the win in relief with 1.2 innings of work. He allowed no hits and struck out one.

“Zach Tavarez, he’s a freshman, and he pitched excellent on the mound for six innings, gave up three runs. Honestly, he shouldn’t have given up any runs,” Vorachek said.

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