Apopka knocks off nation’s No. 1 high school baseball team

WINTER GARDEN, Fla. – The No. 1 high school baseball team in the nation fell from the ranks of the unbeaten Friday as Orlando Olympia was crushed 8-4 by Apopka in the Class 8A, District 3 title game.

The loss means the Titans (25-1-1) go on the road in the opening round of the region playoffs. Apopka, which lost two games to Olympia each by 2-0 margins, starts the postseason at home with a potential rematch looming in the second round.

Olympia went 29-0 in 2012 before losing in the region championship game.

On Friday Apopka right-hander Nick Barber pieced together an impressive game on the mound until Olympia began rallying in the final inning while down 8-1. A double by Kirk Sidwell, single by Drenis Ozuna and 2-RBI triple by Juan Hillman was not enough though as Barber finished with eight strikeouts against six hits.

(Read more about Apopka’s 8-4 win over Olympia at Orlando Sentinel)

Barber yielded three singles in the fourth inning after working three up and three down over the first three innings. He also finished 2-for-4 at the plate with a double and RBI.

Olympia entered the game atop the USA Today and MaxPreps rankings but allowed more than three runs in a game for just the third time this season.

Michael Byrne, the ace of the rotation and University of Florida commit, struggled mightily against the Blue Darters as he left in the top of the fifth after allowing four runs on eight hits while striking out six.

Apopka loaded the bases in the first and fourth innings but managed just a 2-1 lead entering the fifth as Evan Harold pushed a shot through the middle of the infield to score both Michael Monson and Bernard Gilot.

The Blue Darters began piling on the runs an inning later by batting through the lineup, getting six runs on three hits and three walks.

Francis Villaman went 2-for-4 for Olympia and scored a run in the fourth on a single by Jordan Morrow. Garrett Evans finished 2-for-4 with an RBI for Apopka, who eliminated Olympia last year on the region semifinals.

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