The Calvary Christian Warriors varsity baseball team celebrated its first district title in program history following a 6-2 win over crosstown rival CCC in the 4A-4 championship game on Friday, May 5, at Victory Field.
CLEARWATER – Good seasons come and go over the course of a high school program’s history, but undefeated seasons are extremely rare.
The Calvary Christian varsity baseball team got to experience that special feeling of never losing a game all season after the Warriors capped off an unblemished 2017 regular season campaign with its first district championship, a 6-2 home win over crosstown rival Clearwater Central Catholic in the 4A-4 title game on Friday, May 5.
While the victory permanently etched the 26-0 mark in the Warriors’ record book, head coach Greg Olsen and his players were ready to turn the page on the regular season and turn their focus toward the regionals as soon as they exited the handshake line with the Marauders.
“We’re so proud of our team. We’ve got such a great group of guys. They have so much fun with it, and that’s the best part about our team, they show up and work hard and play hard,” said Olsen, who came to the program from Seminole High in 2011 and has steadily built the Warriors into a legitimate state title contender. “We need to enjoy this, this is special, and then show up on Monday and go back to work. It was a heck of a year. But we’ve got to keep working hard and keep focused on the process of getting better.”
It’s hard to be any better than the Warriors (26-0, 10-0) have been this season. The team is loaded with young talent and veteran leaders, and it breezed through the schedule thanks to an explosive offense (.349 team batting average, 69 extra base hits) and a dominant pitching staff (1.19 team ERA, allowed two runs or fewer in 19 games).
“They pitch real well and they hit real well,” longtime CCC head coach Todd Vaughn, whose Marauders had finished ahead of the Warriors in the standings each of the last three years, said after the game.
In the district championship against CCC (15-8, 6-4), the Warriors showcased their offensive versatility, scoring four runs in the bottom of the first inning on three bunts and a sacrifice fly.
“I gave Graham (Hoffman) the option to bunt, and sure enough he laid it down perfect, and I told the same thing to the next three guys,” Olsen said. “That type of unselfish play from our seniors, the guys in the dugout take notice.”
In the bottom of the sixth, junior catcher Matt Nelson capped the scoring with some good old-fashioned power, drilling a line-drive home run to left, his fifth homer of the season.
“Coach Olsen said, all right if they leave you a curveball, I want you to pound it off the batter’s eye (over the fence), and he threw one right at my knees and, coincidentally enough, it happened,” Nelson, a Florida State commit, said afterwards.
As he took congratulatory hugs, handshakes and photos on the field, Nelson, like his coach, remained focused on the goal of winning a championship.
“This is the first (district championship) here at Calvary, my first as a junior, and it feels good,” he said. “But the undefeated record doesn’t matter anymore. It’s postseason now. Everything from this point on is single elimination. What we did in the past doesn’t matter now. It’s what we do have to do the next game.”
Calvary was scheduled to play at home against Trinity Prep in the 4A regional semifinals on Wednesday, May 10, at 7 p.m.
CCC is scheduled to travel to Orlando to play the First Academy in the 4A regional semifinals on Wednesday, May 10, at 7 p.m.