Furious fourth-quarter rally falls just short as Tropics fall to Baltimore, 7-6

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND – A furious fourth-quarter rally fell just short Friday night on SYKES Field at the RP Funding Center as the Baltimore Blast held on for a 7-6 win over the Florida Tropics SC.

Baltimore had leads of 6-2 and 7-3 in the final frame, before the Tropics got goals from Richard Schlemper, Freddy Moojen and Anthony Arico with 2:26 to play to set up a frenzied finish.

Blast netminder William Vanzela robbed Florida's Lucas Coutinho in the final minute with a save-from no more than 10 feet out to preserve the win. The Tropics outshot Baltimore 36-22.

Ricardo Diegues had two goals in the first quarter to pace the Florida offense, while Baltimore was led by both Lucas Roque and Tony Donatelli who each scored twice.

Adriano Dos Santos got a shorthanded goal for the Blast just 13 seconds into the third quarter to give the visitors a 5-2 lead, and Andrew Hoxie made it 6-2 2:13 into the final frame.

That prompted Tropics coach Clay Roberts to go to a sixth-attacker, which sparked the Florida offense. All four of the Tropics goals came with the extra man.

The win improved Baltimore's slate to 6-1, extending their lead to 2.5 games over the second-place Tropics who fell to 4-4. Florida is in action next on Saturday, Dec. 23 when they host the Harrisburg Heat. Baltimore plays in Harrisburg tomorrow night. All games are broadcast live at www.masl.tv.

For ticket information, visit www.fltropics.com, or call the team offices at 863-240-0101.