Polk State came up two runs short today, falling to Miami Dade College 4-2 in the championship game of the NJCAA Gulf District/FCSAA state baseball tournament. Miami Dade advances to the JUCO World Series in Grand Junction, Colo.
Miami Dade scored in the top of the first on a triple and a sacrifice fly. Polk State answered in the bottom of the inning when Daniel Sweet hit a solo home run.
The Eagles held the lead until the top of the seventh when Miami Dade scored twice. A fine throw from Shane Gordon in left to catcher Casey Schroeder nailed a runner at the plate to end the inning.
Miami Dade got one more run in the top of the eighth.
Casey Kulina started for the Eagles and went six and two-third of an inning, allowing seven hits and three earned runs. He walked one and struck out four. Matt Pearce finished the game in relief, giving up three hits and one unearned run.
"Miami Dade had the best collection of arms we've seen all year," said head coach Al Corbeil. "The arms they brought in were outstanding, and it's hard to score runs off arms of that caliber.
"I'm incredibly proud of this group. They've been fighting back all year, and when you get into a tournament like this and you're facing the best team you have to play really good baseball. We had a couple of miscues, and we didn't capitalize on a couple of opportunities that we had, but it's been a phenomenal year. We have a ton of great guys, and I'm really proud of them, and I know they have bright futures ahead of them."
Schroeder walked twice and scored a run. Cole Ondrejka and JD Osborne each had a hit.