After a tough start against the Jupiter Warriors (14-6), the Flanagan Falcons (16-6) bounced back on Thursday night for a 13-5 win.
The Warriors kicked things off immediately with a home run from shortstop Joey Urban, his second of the year and 26th overall win. A brace from Jesse Sullivan brought right fielder AJ Crespo for run no. 2, and designated hitter Chris Sorge scored 3-0 with a center single. The initial bleeding eventually stopped with a flyby to the center of the pitch which resulted in a third-place tag out for a double play.
It was a rough start for Flanagan’s Jaime Gonzalez, but the senior right pitcher settled down and went four innings with four strikeouts. Four races crossed under his watch but only three were earned.
“It was a difficult day at the beginning,” said Falcons manager Noel Figueroa. “They jumped at us 3-0, but I was confident our guys would hit. I just didn’t know if our launch would hold up. I was ready to throw Jaime Gonzalez in the first inning, and he passed it and begged me to get back out there. So, I let him go and when he came back I told him ‘live to throw another one’ and he continued until he ran out of gas in the fifth. “
The Falcons supported Gonzalez’s good launch with their three-pointers in the third, eliminating Warriors owner Jaden Koons from the game. Jesus Delgado broke the closure with a single RBI and Brayden Allison followed things up with a two-run single on the right field.
Flanagan also didn’t give up once he got to Jupiter’s bullpen. The Falcons jumped on Dylan Jeluso for two first singles in the lower part of the fourth before he beat a couple of batters to break the tie. Delgado got away with it again, this time in style. When the ball cleared the fence in the center left, the entire Falcons team came out to assault all four base runners turning the bags.
“That grand slam was kind of a nail in the coffin, so to speak,” he said. “The game was still close, more or less, but once (Delgado) scores that home run, it’s hard to bounce from that.”
The Warriors tried to answer at the top of the fifth, but at first only one point was scored on a mistake as the Falcons tried to spin a double game. Figueroa called to shoot Rodriguez in the middle of the inning and brought Delgado to finish things off. He would work for the rest of the night for Flanagan, giving up only one run that was traded for an elimination in the last play.
The lower part of the fifth saw another pitch change for the Warriors. This time around Mook chose to go with Joseph Domingos, who entered the game with an ERA of 1.11 across six working innings. He would have passed the fifth without too many problems, but the Falcons reached him in the sixth.
Catcher Daniel Perez, who had already walked three times in the game, lifted a ball over the left fielder’s head for a double RBI, and Delgado followed up with a grounded ball which gave some trouble on the pitch. Delgado ended the evening 2 out of 5 with five RBI. Davian Torres led both men with a pinch single on the right side for the score of 11-4. Second baseman Miguel Colmenares led another with a single and a brace from Tyler Venegas brought the game within a point of running rule.
Jaxon Inouye came in to finally get out of the inning, but there was little hope for a comeback at the top of the seventh with all the momentum in favor of the home side Falcons.
“We shot ourselves in the foot to stop the momentum early,” said Warriors manager Andy Mook. “We made a bad mistake in the base race trying to take third place when we had a chance to keep up the momentum. You’re trying to score that fourth point and put pressure on them and we got it all wrong and then things started to change. Suddenly, they took a little momentum and things started to get worse. This is baseball. “
Mook has decided to leave his team free on Friday and says Saturday’s free practice will be the most important of the Warriors’ season. With the end of the regular season, Jupiter has another tough week of three games ahead. They start the week with a couple of away games at Palm Beach Gardens (12-6) on Monday and Palm Beach Central (12-8) on Tuesday, then the Warriors head home for a showdown on Thursday with Jensen Beach (17- 2 ).
“On Saturday we will find out (whether the team is mentally prepared or not),” he said. “This team is tough enough. They have a lot of fighting in them. they grind it. I mean, we’ve been a little worn out in the past couple of weeks. It’s a long season and when things don’t go right it can ruin the mojo. Now, hopefully, we can get back on track. “
For Flanagan, this victory marks fifth place in a row after a disastrous defeat to West Broward (12-8-1) that ended with a shot. It was not lost to Figueroa that his team just beat a team that beat well over .300 in the year. Coming into the game, he told his team to prepare for a team similar to the Saint Thomas Aquinas, whom Flanagan beat 12-2 earlier this month.
The hope is that the Falcons can continue this hot play in the playoffs and senior shortstop Tyler Venegas has made it clear that his team is ready for the pressure.
“We have competed all year,” said Venegas. “Against West Broward, against St. Thomas, against these good teams, we fight and we love these great games. We just want to compete, that’s the only way I can tell. “