Columbia falls in state semifinals


The Columbia baseball team advanced to its second straight state semifinal last week with a win at Clay (Green Cove Springs) in the region final.

However, once again the No. 2 seed Tigers had their season come to an end in the state semifinals.

American Heritage (Plantation) broke a 1-1 tie with two runs in the top of the fifth inning and held on for a 5-2 win in the Class 5A state semifinals against No. 2 seed Columbia on Monday morning at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.

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Sophomore Talan Holiday limited the Tigers to just one earned run on four hits with no walks and nine strikeouts in 6.1 innings of work, while Mateo Serna’s 2-RBI single in the fifth proved to be the difference.

Josh Fernald, who threw five innings and allowed three runs on five hits with three walks and seven strikeouts, made it 3-2 with an RBI ground out in the bottom of the sixth.

An error helped open the door for American Heritage, which scored two unearned runs in the seventh inning off of reliever Hayden Gustavson.

Gustavson (2-for-3, HR) led Columbia at the plate with two of their four hits.

The No. 3 seed Patriots (20-6) advance to Wednesday’s 5A Final against defending state champion Jesuit (Tampa), which defeated No. 4 seed Sebring, 3-1, in the other semifinal.

Columbia’s season ended at 24-6.

Last year, the Tigers lost to Eau Gallie (Melbourne), 6-0 in the state semifinals round.

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