A sixth inning that won’t soon be forgotten pushed the Jupiter High baseball team to a come-from-behind victory in a Class 9A state semifinal game Saturday and vindicated junior outfielder Mikey Robinson.
The Warriors batted around and scored eight runs — highlighted by Robinson’s go-ahead three-run triple — in the sixth to turn a 4-1 deficit into a 9-4 victory over Miami Columbus at Hammond Stadium at CenturyLink Sports Complex.
Robinson slipped on two different occasions and misplayed a fly ball each time while playing left field in the first three innings. Those misplays helped Columbus score the game’s first three runs.
“I was just trying to make up for my mistakes, honestly,” Robinson said. “I’ve never played outfield that bad before. I was just trying to get our team back in the game.”
Jupiter (19-11) trailed 4-1 entering the bottom of the sixth before Mitch Hartigan ripped an RBI double to left field to make the score 4-2. After a walk to first baseman Peter Cowley that chased Explorers starting pitcher Anthony Arguelles, the Warriors loaded the bases for Robinson with nobody out on a bunt single by designated hitter Peyton Moon.
Robinson’s line-drive over the head of Columbus center fielder Carlos Linares easily cleared the bases to give Jupiter its first lead at 5-4 as Robinson, standing on third base, took off his helmet and screamed with joy at his teammates in the dugout.
“I knew we were going to win the game (after that),” Robinson said. “The motivation we had and everything. I knew we were going to win the game.”
The Warriors did not stop there, however, as Logan Etherton had an RBI sacrifice bunt, Dakota Gaillard had an RBI triple, Robby Stone had an RBI infield single and Hartigan collected his second RBI hit of the inning when his single scored Stone for the ninth and final run.
The victory puts the Warriors into the Class 9A state championship game Saturday night at 8 p.m. against Orlando Timber Creek.
The semifinal game was originally scheduled to be played Friday night but was rescheduled for Saturday morning because of severe weather in the area near the spring training home of the Minnesota Twins.
“(We were) resilient,” Jupiter coach Andy Mook said. “We made a couple mistakes we don’t normally make … We just kept fighting and we kept doing the small things.”
Jake Garland started the game on the mound for the Warriors and threw five innings and kept the Explorers in check, as he allowed just three hits and three earned runs. He struck out seven.
Gavin Scott earned the win in relief, striking out three and allowing one run in two innings.
Hartigan is expected to get the start on the mound late Saturday as Jupiter goes for its first state baseball championship in school history.