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Melbourne Central Catholic Continues Winning Streak

The Hustlers have now won five straight to improve to 8-3 on the season, with an eye on many more wins ahead. Photo by @MelbourneCenralCatholicHighSchool.

Things are clicking for the Melbourne Central Catholic Hustlers.

Coming off a strong 2023 season that still left the team out of the state playoff picture, the Hustlers have continued that form into the 2024 campaign. On Monday afternoon they earned perhaps their biggest win of the season, as they walked off with a 3-2 decision over their local rival Melbourne Bulldogs.

With things all tied up in the final inning, the Hustlers (8-3) rallied to victory. Austen Hester led off with a walk, and Thomas Gonnella pushed him into scoring position when he worked the count full on seven pitches and also drew a walk. Ryder Widick then dropped down a bunt that went for his third hit of the game and also loaded up the bases for senior Caden Simcox.

Caden Simcox answered the moment and drove in Hester with the winning run by lining a base hit into left field that sent his club as walk-off winners. It is their first victory over the Bulldogs (7-4) since the 2021 season, and also provides a nice quality victory over a Class 6A opponent that improves their playoff chances.

Photo by @MelbourneCenralCatholicHighSchool.

Melbourne Central Catholic has now won five straight games, since a shutout loss to Merritt Island dropped the team to a .500 record back on March 5th. Since then, the Hustlers posted shutout victories over Space Coast, City of Life and Bayside, and also earned a walk-off win in eight innings over the Holy Trinity Tigers (8-4).

Pitching certainly has been a key cog to their success. Led by Simcox and junior Thomas Chiuchiolo, the club currently boasts a 2.49 ERA in 68 innings of play. Pitching behind a defense that traditionally has always been a strong point, the Hustler hurlers specialize on getting the ball put into play and letting that defense do their job. Chiuchiolo leads the team with 15 strikeouts, and has gone 2-1 with a 0.81 ERA.

On the offensive side, Ryder Widick has been a breakout player so far to provide a constant spark. Following Monday’s big performance, the freshman now leads the ball club with 16 hits in only 26 at bats for a .615 batting average. He has also drawn 10 walks to boast a .725 on base percentage. Junior outfielder Matthew Garza has also gotten off to a great start, hitting .424 on 14-for-33 batting thus far.

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