The First Academy Royals Varsity Baseball team capped off a 30-1 season by winning the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) Class 3A State Championship, defeating Miami’s Westminster Christian Warriors 3-0 at Hammond Stadium at CenturyLink Sports Complex in Fort Myers, FL.
Both teams dueled to a scoreless tie through 6 innings, but crucial at-bats from TFA’s shortstop Greg Pettay and Ben Barrett pushed first baseman Trent Kelly, second baseman Matthew Perez, and Pettay across the plate to score 3 in the top half of the 7th. After a strikeout and a fly out to left field, Junior right-hander Ben Barrett struck out the final batter looking as the Royals held the Warriors in the bottom half of the 7th and claimed the Championship with a final score of 3-0. Barrett closed out the 2021 Baseball season pitching a 7 inning complete game. He allowed just 4 hits, 0 runs, and struck out 7 batters.
In his eighth season as the Royals Head Coach, Scott Grove led the team to the title game defeating The Bolles School out of Jacksonville 2-1 on Monday. Junior left-handed pitcher Isaac Sewell pitched all 7 innings while only allowing 5 hits and 1 earned run. He also struck out 7 Bulldog batters. For the 12th time in his coaching career and 8th time at TFA, Coach Grove was named the 2021 FACA Class 3A Coach of the Year.
Tuesday’s championship win was the Royals first state title and second trip to the Final Four in school history and first since 1997. Along the path to their 30-1 season, TFA defeated Trinity Prep 15-0 for the Class 3A District 6 Championship and went on the road to Berkeley Prep in Tampa for a 7-1 victory in the Class 3A Region 2 Championship.
The Royals graduated three seniors in the 2021 season, who have all signed to play baseball in college: third baseman Tyler Hopkins-Loyola University New Orleans, right fielder Khadin Bastian-Thomas University, and center/left fielder Brendan Ryan-Rollins College.
TFA will enter the 2021-2022 season with 11 juniors, including University of Central Florida commits Pettay and catcher Riley Parker, Florida State University commit Barrett, and Virginia Tech commit Sewell.
The Baseball State Championship is not the only gold the Royals earned this year. Earlier in May, Junior Will Richards took home the FHSAA State Title in Track and Field for the Boys Long Jump with a jump of 7.23 meters (23 feet, 8 and 3/4 inches).
During the Fall Season, the Varsity Girls Golf team won the FHSAA Class 1A State Championships with a score of 581 (5 over par). Boys Varsity Golf placed 2nd in the FHSAA Class 1A State Championships and Junior Mohit Balaji was the individual FHSAA Class 1A State Champion. Senior Diver Blair Isenhour was runner-up in the FHSAA Class 1A State Championships.
The entire TFA Family gives a big congratulations to the Royals for their hard work on and off the field!