Benjamin baseball advances to States for the first time

Benjamin's Paul Lanoce. (WPEC)

After having its state title hopes dashed in a 12-run loss to American Heritage-Delray last year, Benjamin earned redemption this time around.

In a rematch of last year’s Class 4A regional final, the Bucs topped the Stallions, 3-0, to advance to the state baseball tournament for the first time in school history. Benjamin will play the winner of Calvary Christian and Florida Christian in the semifinals on Wednesday, May 23 in Fort Myers.

“I kind of saw this day right in the beginning of the season even though it kind of started off a little bit tough,” Benjamin coach Jack Armstrong said. “We had all the talent. We had the pitching depth. It was just a matter of bringing it all together and playing as a team and get the right mojo going.”

Senior Paul Lanoce picked up the win for Benjamin, pitching five scoreless innings. Tyler Judge notched the save, tossing two innings in relief.

Tuesday’s matinee was the fourth matchup of the season between the two Palm Beach County private schools. After splitting the two regular-season games, the Bucs edged American Heritage-Delray, 2-1, in the district championship to earn home field advantage in the playoffs.

After falling, 12-0, to the Stallions in last year’s regional final, Benjamin (25-4) stormed out of the gate Tuesday afternoon, scoring a run in each of the first three innings.

After the Bucs retired the side in the top of the fifth inning, the lighting alarm went off at Jacobs Field, setting off a 41-minute delay.

Isaiah Thomas opened up the scoring, crossing the plate on a sacrifice fly. Later in the second inning, Benjamin senior Matt Lopes scored on a passed ball to push the lead to, 2-0. The Bucs tacked on their third run off a RBI double from Aaron Steinhart.

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