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Holiday fires one-hitter to send American Heritage in 5A baseball state semifinals

PLANTATION — With a chance to head to states, Talan Holiday wanted the ball in his hands.

The junior pitched a one-hitter, allowing just three base runners (also one walk and one hit batter), to lift American Heritage to a 2-0 win over Archbishop McCarthy and into the Class 5A state semifinals.

“I just try to go out there and play my game,” said Holiday. “I’m not trying to do too much, let them hit it and I know my defense has me,” said Holiday. “It all comes down to wanting to be in the moment. That’s why I play at Heritage is for these games and these moments.”

Holiday took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, where Bryan Arrieta led off the inning with an infield single. Archbishop McCarthy ended up with runners on first and third with two outs after Stephen Joyce walked, giving the Mustangs a serious threat to tie the game.

But Holiday got Danny Machado to foul out to third on a popup to end the threat. Holiday then pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning, sending the Patriots to Fort Myers for the state final four.

“Talan knows how to pitch. He gets people out. Tonight, was a little different than his games he’s had in the past. A lot of first-pitch swings and popups,” said Heritage coach Bruce Aven. “Because he was commanding the strike zone, it forced them to swing early.”

Lucas Ramirez provided most of the offense for the Patriots, going 3 for 3 with a double and a leadoff home run in the fourth inning.

“I saw a first-pitch fastball,” said Ramirez on the home run. “My first at-bat, he threw me a first-pitch baseball in the same location, and I took it. I faced him last game and he was throwing me a lot of fastballs, so I was ready for him.”

Heritage (20-10) scored their first run in the first inning after Sebastian Garavito’s RBI groundout scored RJ Machado.

“Our team has gradually gotten better. I knew it was going to be a tough game,” added Aven. “We were fortunate to come out on top. It could have gone either way, it was a pitchers duel, they kept us off balance. We just came up with a couple hits at the right moments and that was the difference in the game.

Joyce pitched a complete game for Archbishop McCarthy (15-15), going all six innings with six strikeouts.

“I told our guys, ‘Don’t hang your heads, be proud of your season.’ It was a hell of a rebuilding year to make it to a region championship game,” said McCarthy head coach Aaron Vorachek. “To me, this is the toughest region to get out of in 5A. You make it to here, you did something.”

According to FHSAA.com, the Patriots next will play the winner of the Tallahassee Lincoln-Green Cove Springs Clay regional final on Friday at 1 p.m.

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