Calvary Christian Takes Third Place At NHSI
CARY, N.C.—A dominating performance from starting pitcher Andrew Painter led Calvary Christian Academy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) past John Curtis Christian (River Ridge, LA.), 3-0, in the third-place game of the 2018 NHSI on Saturday morning at USA Baseball's National Training Complex.
A freshman, Painter carried a no-hitter into the seventh and final inning against John Curtis, before third baseman Will Ripoll broke up the no-hit bid with a single to lead off the final frame.
“I was kind of hoping I could finish things off with no hits," Painter said. "But, i mean, after that one hit I still got to go out and finish things off."
The 2021 Florida commit did just that, recording three straight outs to finish the game following Ripoll's bloop single. The righthander threw just 92 pitches to complete the one-hit shutout, striking out seven while pitching off of a fastball that sat in the mid-80s.
The Calvary Christian bats did not disappoint, either, providing quality hits to go along with smart base running in a solid all-around performance.
Tied 0-0 entering the fourth, third baseman Robert Pena led off the inning with a walk for Calvary Christian. Two batters later, with first baseman Christian Scott at the plate, Pena attempted to steal second and then kept running to third on a well-executed hit and run. Scott's hit dribbled through the left side of the infield, allowing Pena to round third and touch home for the first run of the day.
Yet it was Calvary Christian shortstop Raynel Delgado whose bat was most impressive. In the fifth inning, Delgado smacked a double to left field, scoring catcher Ben Rozenblum on the play. Delgado later scored in the inning, giving the Eagles their third and final run of the day.
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Delgado's play was nothing new, as the Florida International commit impressed all tournament long with his quick bat speed, strong contact and phenomenal defensive play at shortstop—consistently making tricky plays look routine.
“Early in the year I think Ray was pressing a little bit,” head coach Alan Kunkel said. “He came out this week and defended this week the way we know he can defend. Going back even to yesterday’s Orange (Calif.) Lutheran game, I can’t tell you how many times he saved us from big innings.
"He made some really good plays, kept balls in the infield, turned some double plays, had some big swings this week, some of those balls got run down. The great thing about Rey is not only does he love playing the game, but he keeps everybody loose.”
Delgado is one of the leaders on a formidable Calvary Christian squad that will return to Florida after a strong 3-1 showing at the NHSI. Painter was another bright spot in the tournament and he believes the experience will help his team moving forward.
“It was a great experience, coming out and playing some of the best players in the country,” Painter said. “I think it will really boost our confidence and let us finish off the season strong.”