Metcalf wins Nos. 800, 801 as Sailors take title
Written by Dennis Maffezzoli on April 5, 2014 | Herald-Tribune
SARASOTA, Fla. - Hall of fame Sarasota (Fla.) High School baseball coach Clyde Metcalf heard the distant rumblings of thunder and studied the ominous storm clouds building just to the east of City of Palms Park early Monday afternoon, and put on his meteorologist cap.
Little did Clyde Metcalf know when he began coaching the Sarasota High baseball team that his 800th career coaching victory would come on a back field at the JetBlue Park complex against IMG Academy in front of a handful of fans.
Truth be told, that is just the way he wanted it: low-keyed.
For weeks, Metcalf has been reminded he is nearing another milestone in his storied coaching career.
For weeks, he has down played the entire situation, preferring to focus on the task at hand: winning games for the Sarasota High baseball team, not adding to his personal ledger.
Thanks to a rally in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Sailors not only provided Metcalf with a trip to the Perfect Game Showdown final, but also with another historic victory.
Sarasota’s 6-5 victory in the semifinal round Saturday morning over the Ascenders pushed Sarasota into the final and moved Metcalf’s record to an amazing 800-206 in the 32nd season for the legendary coach.
It was not long thereafter when Metcalf picked up win No. 801 and his team the Perfect Game Showdown championship trophy.
The Sailors scored four runs in the second inning and went on to a 4-2 victory over DeSoto Central (Miss.) in the title game Saturday afternoon at JetBlue Park.
“If we come out and get beat in the second game, it’s the second game we are going to remember,” Metcalf said.
“It’s nice to win this tournament. There was some really talented individuals in this tournament. To come out as a first place team, it means a great deal to us.”
Junior Jordan Gubelman made it more memorable. The 6-foot-4, 225- pounder, who was celebrating his birthday, pitched his first complete game of the season with a season-high 10 strikeouts and one walk. He scattered eight hits.
“I could tell I didn’t have all my velocity today, but everything was working,” Gubelman said after being named the top pitcher in the three-day event. “I put the two-seam in and out and pounded the zone.”
“He stayed strong,” Metcalf said. “He continued to make good pitches. He continued to make the pitches he needed to make. We had guys loose, but it was his game. It was a pretty gritty performance.”
DeSoto Central (12-5) placed the potential tying run on base after getting two hits in the seventh. The Jaguars had their hottest hitter Keegan James, who was 3-for-3 with two doubles, at the plate.
“We took a different approach and went with a changeup and got the ground ball,” said Metcalf on James, who grounded into a force out to end the game.
Sarasota broke the title game open with four runs on one hit in the second inning. After loading the bases with a hit batter and two walks, No. 9 hitter Sam Carillo pulled a two-run single to right field. The other two runs came around on errors, giving Carillo a “Little League grand slam.”
The Sailors (17-2) collected only three hits in the game. After losing a no-hitter to open the event, Sarasota won three straight in the tournament to take the title. Sarasota catcher Brandon Chapman, who hit three doubles and knocked in four runs Friday, was named the top hitter in the tournament.
“A great day,” Gubelman said as he rolled up the Perfect Game Showdown championship banner.
But it went back to Metcalf winning 800 and 801 on the same day.
“There is a reason why he is a Hall of Fame coach,” Gubelman said. And Metcalf does not plan to slow down.
“That’s quite a career he’s had there,” Venice coach Craig Faulkner said. “I take my hat off to him. He’s done it right. He’s done quite a job with Sarasota High School. That school is lucky to have a guy like that for that long. It’s hard to coach high school baseball for two or three years, much less the years he’s put in there. The influence he’s had in that community is pretty special.”