The ODA baseball season came to a close Monday afternoon at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.
The Thunder (20-9) lost 5-2 to North Florida Christian (22-5) in a Florida High School Athletic Association Class 2A state semifinal. ODA outhit the Eagles 5-3, but mistakes from the Thunder pitching staff let North Florida keep a consistent lead.
ODA senior Josh Cone started the game and had an easy first inning before walking the first four batters of the second inning, giving the Eagles a 1-0 lead. Two other runs would score before Cone got out of the jam. In the fourth inning, Cone misfired on a pickoff attempt at first base, allowing a runner to score from third. Cone would then be replaced by junior Luke Geske, who got out of the fourth unscathed, but made the same mistake in the fifth inning, throwing wide on a pickoff attempt and letting another Eagle on third base to jog home.
The Thunder offense had chances to mount a comeback, but could never find its rhythm. Its best chance for a big inning came in the fifth, when ODA loaded the bases for junior Jack Hobson with two outs. Hobson, the team's biggest power threat, smashed a line drive — right into the glove of Eagles sophomore third baseman Noah Miller.
ODA would not get a baserunner in the sixth or seventh inning.
The Thunder got their two runs on RBI singles from junior Luca Marino, in the fourth inning, and senior Aidan Marino, in the fifth.
"They (North Florida) took advantage of the opportunities they had," ODA Coach Mike Matthews said. "Unfortunately, we were not able to create many opportunities for ourselves. That is the way the game went. That's baseball sometimes.
"I'm proud of my guys for the way they fought. It was a great season. We just came up a little short."