North Marion wins Class 4A state baseball championship
Karson Lindsey tosses shutout to lead Colts past Bishop Kenny
North Marion senior left-hander Karson Lindsey allowed one hit in a complete-game shutout, and Rowan Quartararo had two hits and drove in a run to lead the Colts to a 4-0 win over Bishop Kenny in Saturday night’s FHSAA Class 4A state championship game at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.
The win improved North Marion to 27-5 on the season and earned the Colts the first baseball state championship in school history. The victory also avenged a loss in the state championship game in 2021.
“It’s really hard to describe how much it means to win this state championship,” said veteran North Marion coach Dale Hall. “We worked extremely hard for this, and we had some balls bounce our way, but the pitching performance of Karson Lindsey and the defense that we played behind him is the reason we’re state champions.”
Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) ends the season with a record of 19-11.
North Marion got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third inning as Troy Guynn and Quartararo singled and Guynn advanced to third on a sacrifice fly to right field by Cooper Jones. Bishop Kenny starting pitcher Garrett Corbett was called for a balk allowing Guynn to score and Quartararo to advance to second base. Jake Tompkins followed with a one-out single to right field to plate Quartararo to give the Colts a 2-0 lead.
Lindsey, who allowed only an infield single in the second inning, cruised through the Bishop Kenny lineup with ease by combining his fastball with a devastating curveball.
North Marion, the No. 1 seed, tacked on a run in the bottom of the fourth inning when senior catcher Bobby Gottuso put down a bunt and reached on an error. Pinch runner Karson Smith was sacrificed to second by Tucker Jones and raced home on a run-scoring single to left field by Quartararo to put the Colts on top by a score of 3-0.
Lindsey, who struck out three and issued a pair of walks and hit a batter, was never in any real trouble and retired the Crusaders in order in the sixth inning.
“Karson was in complete control, he had all his pitches working and Bishop Kenny never got comfortable against him,” coach Hall said.
North Marion, which had nine hits, plated an insurance run in the bottom of the frame as Quartararo reached on a two-out outfield error and scored on a double down the right-field line by Cooper Jones off Crusaders reliever Michael Leonard to make it 4-0.
Bishop Kenny, the No. 2 seed, went down quietly in its final at-bat as Lindsey, a South Georgia State College commit, got a ground ball to first for the final out to seal the state championship.
North Marion players and coaches celebrated the historic victory on the field and received the state championship trophy and medals in a post-game ceremony in front of a large contingent of fans who made the long trip to support the Colts in their successful quest for a state title.
“To win it all you have to get some close calls go your way and balls that find some holes,” coach Hall said. “Everything went our way tonight.”