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Walk-Off Saves Day For Haines City Against Ridge

Angel Colon led the Haines City Hornets with a .440 batting average in 2016.

In Tuesday afternoon’s 9A-5 district semifinal against the Ridge Community Bolts he was 0-for-3. But that was before stepping to the plate in the bottom of the seventh with the score tied, the bases loaded and two away.

It was the kind of situation every hitter dreams of: the chance to deliver a heroic, walk-off hit in the playoffs.
Colon did just that, roping a single into left field to send his team to the title game and punching their ticket into the regional tournament.

After jumping out to a 2-0 lead courtesy of RBI singles by Drake Kasperick and Jose Calderon in the first inning, it may have been surprising for the Hornets to find themselves in such a pressure-cooker at the end. Their starting pitcher, Edwin Serrano, had blanked the Bolts through the first five innings, taking advantage of a couple of nicely-turned double plays to do so.

But the Bolts finally got to Haines City’s hurler in the sixth. A lead-off single by Angelo Irizarry turned into their first run when Andrew Baker doubled him home later in the inning. Baker then knotted things up when he scored on a single by Melvis Salcedo.

Baker, who made the start for the Bolts and racked up 11 strikeouts, then struck out the side in the bottom of the sixth to push the game into the decisive seventh frame.

This time, the Hornets had a bit more luck against the Bolts ace. Zed Burnham kicked the final frame off with a double, Tim Brown singled and Brian Larr drew an intentional walk to set the table for Colon’s magical walk-off.

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