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Gibbons Returns To 4A Title Game For First Time Since 2019

Cardinal Gibbons Postgame Press Conference

It has been a whirlwind season so far for Cardinal Gibbons Manager Jason Hamilton and his Chiefs program. Back in October, Hamilton was inducted into the inaugural class of the HSBN South Florida Hall of Fame.

Then, come spring, his team started out 1-1-1, and Hamilton and Chiefs fans were wondering what would become of the 2024 Chiefs.

All they have done since then, is go 23-3-1, win district and regional titles, and now will be playing one game to become only the second Gibbons team in history to win a state title.

Gibbons followed a script on Tuesday that has been their blueprint the entire season. Get strong pitching performances, play great defense, and use situational and timely hitting to win close games.

Michael Kass and Jack Campbell took care of the mound work, combining to give up only one earned run, and six hits, in a 3-2 4A state semifinal win over Mulberry.

“This guy (Kass) had a pretty major injury that kept him out for over a year, so it was fitting to see him come back from that and go out there and do what he did today,” said Hamilton. “That is the type of player he is, and he represents what this entire group in 2024 is all about.”

Offensively, it was Eddie Marshall who gave the Chiefs the lead in the fourth inning with a two-RBI double. Marshall has been a one-man wrecking crew for Gibbons down the stretch, coming up with big hit after big hit for the Chiefs in their playoff run.

“All I can say is its nice to have him on our side, knowing that opposing teams have no idea how to pitch to him and get him out,” said Hamilton. “He is a leader for us not only offensively, but he controls the game for us behind the plate, and is a true leader.”

After Gibbons scored their two runs in the fourth, Mulberry immediately tied the game with two runs of their own in the top of the fifth. In the sixth, Gibbons scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch, and then they turned the ball over to Campbell to close out the final two innings.

Campbell gave up only a hit, while striking out three over those two innings. Campbell, as well as Kass and Hamilton, gave credit to an unlikely source. It is not too often coaches and players mention assistant coaches, but that is exactly what happened when all three spoke about pitching coach Tim Shields.

“I think it’s important to mention our pitching coach Tim Shields,” said Hamilton. “He does a tremendous job calling pitches, and with these guys during games.”

Kass and Campbell agreed.

“We trust everything that he calls,” said Kass. “He knows how to attack each hitter, and he mixes up the pitch selection. We couldn’t do what we do without him and how he calls a game.”

“We never have to worry about the wrong pitch being called, he knows all of us and knows how to go after each batter,” said Campbell.”

The win moves the Chiefs within one game of becoming only the second team in Gibbons history to win a state title. The only title the school has came back in 1987, when none of the current players were even born.

Hamilton, however, understands the history.

“When we lost in extra innings back in 2019 up here, I remember looking back out over the field after the game, and wondering if I would ever get back up here. As you get older as a coach you start to think of that stuff. We appreciate getting back up here, and its such a tight family at Cardinal Gibbons, we want to win this state title for all our coaches, fans, and the school.”

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