Springstead and Orlando-Edgewater had a game that would have been shown on ESPN Classic.
The Class 6A, Region II final was a true back-and-forth affair between two teams who left it all on the field for a trip to the Final Four.
However, in the end the game didn't matter. It was a ruling by the umpiring crew to end the game that set fans off in rage and left players stunned, and gave host Edgewater a 6-5 win.
In the fifth inning, with Springstead leading 5-2, staff ace Brandon Brosher seemed to lose control. After getting two quick outs thanks to shortstop Ryan Nicoll snagging a sinking liner and doubling the runner off first, it all went downhill.
A trio of walks loaded the bases for Edgewater's Zach Vandergrift, who led the team with 13 home runs this season.
After fouling fastballs back to the screen, the player Edgewater fans called “Vanderboom” did just that, launching an opposite-field grand slam that gave Edgewater its first lead.
For a team making its first regional final appearance Springstead answered the bell with the grit of a seasoned, veteran ballclub.
Trent Wyzykowski singled to open the top of the sixth, and pinch runner Jake Magnino was balked to second setting up Springstead with a chance to tie it.
Kyle Cottelletta singled to right putting runners on the corners with one out and bringing to the plate Nicoll, who was intentionally walked to load the bases.
Not to be outdone by Vandergrift, Brosher laced a triple off the right-field fence, and then scored on a passed ball to give himself and Springstead a 9-6 lead.
Then the heavy rains came. For 20 minutes it poured and flooded the field with two outs in the top of the sixth. When the rain stopped there were puddles throughout the infield.
The umpires huddled with coaches and that is when things got ugly. An already chippy crowd grew restless and obscenities were shouted toward officials and coaches.
As the tension rose between the fan bases, an already agitated Springstead fan launched a profanity laced monologue toward the Edgewater coach accusing him of stalling and not raking the water off quickly enough to make the field playable.
Police came and escorted fans and parents out, leaving only press, players and the officials. It was then announced that the game would be called and revert to the last completed inning.
Upon the announcement several Springstead players could be heard shouting profanity.
A similar situation came up last week, when an initially rain-shortened game between Plant City and Lakeland-George Jenkins was resumed two days later.
The FHSAA granted the resumption, citing a rule from the National Federation of State High School Associations.
The rule states that if five full innings have been played, the game reverts back to the last completed inning unless the home team has tied or taken the lead in the incomplete inning.
Because the home team, Jenkins, had tied the game up in the bottom of the seventh, that game was not complete. In this instance, it was the visiting team who had gone ahead.
Springstead jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first, when after Cottelletta walked to start the game Nicoll launched a mammoth home run to left that landed over the double-high fence and entered the football field.
Brosher would single, followed by a Will Perdomo walk. After a Nic Pasarela sacrifice bunt, Will Pagan plated a run with a single to center.
Edgewater would plate one in the bottom of the first when Riley Hogan reached and advanced to second on a Nicoll error, and was moved to third on a passed ball. He would score on a Jacob Sithong RBI groundout.
Springstead would tack on another run in the third when Pasarela struck out and Perdomo was caught walking to second base, but catcher John Balke's throw was wild allowing a run to score.
Edgewater refused to go away when in the bottom of the third, highly touted center fielder J.B. Woodman laced a RBI triple in the right-center field gap, scoring a run and cutting it to 4-2.
Sean Nascimento reached on an error to start the fourth and later scored when Nicoll nearly hit his second home run of the game, but would settle for a run-scoring double. That extended the lead to 5-2.
Brosher ended up with a complete game for Springstead finishing with a line of five innings, five walks, five hits, six runs allowed and only one strikeout.
After the game the teams were led out by police, and Springstead skipper Jim Diven was still visibly upset.
“(Edgewater) shouldn't be allowed to host a game like this here,” Diven said. “They don't have lights to wait for (the water) to dry, they don't have stuff to fix the field.”
Diven also went on to say Edgewater didn't attempt to cover the plate or mound with tarps when the storm came.
When asked for a rebuttal Edgewater head coach Keith Walsh said, “Nobody is happy when a game ends like this. It's not satisfaction for me or my ballclub.
“They have a right to be angry,” Walsh said. “I personally would like to finish the game and I think everyone would want it to end that way, but it is what it is.”
Orlando-Edgewater 6, Springstead 5 (5 inn.)
SPG – Brosher and Wyzykowski.
EDW – Kolb, Hamner (3) and Balke
W – Hamner. L – Brosher (5-3).
2B – Nicoll (SPG).
3B – Woodman (EDW).
HR – Nicoll (SPG); Vandergrift (EDW).
Records – Orlando-Edgewater (23-5), Springstead (19-9).
Class 6A, Region II recaps
Springstead 13, Gainesville 3
Citrus 8, Ocala-Lake Weir 5
Melbourne 9, Daytona Beach-Seabreeze 2
Orlando-Edgewater 9, Palm Bay-Bayside 3
Springstead 9, Citrus 3
Edgewater 11, Melbourne 5
Edgewater 6, Springstead 5 (called after five innings due to rain)