ST. PETERSBURG — Canterbury had reached a point with Cambridge where the Crusaders felt like they were the kid in school always being bullied.
On Thursday, Canterbury struck back in resounding fashion and ended an 11-game losing streak — that traversed four season — with a 6-1 victory to claim the Class A-9 district title.
“We were just tired of losing to them,” said Crusaders junior DaSean Thomas, who went 2-for-4 and holds a county-leading .509 batting average.
“We had seen their starter once this year and we were on our game today. After the first time through (the batting order), we figured out he was attacking with first-pitch fastballs for strikes.”
Thomas scored the first run in the fifth inning off left-hander Matt Mullins after he reached on a leadoff single, advanced to third on a double by Harrison Hall and scored on a single by Cory Rudorf.
Playing on their home field as the lower seed, the Crusaders (17-9) broke the contest open in the sixth with four runs highlighted by a two-run homer from Dalton Hughes. Canterbury added an insurance run in the top half of the seventh before Cambridge (14-13) tacked on a run against starter Jake Holsinger.
“The cushion (of a lead) helped a lot because I was able to throw fastballs and keep my command intact,” said Holsinger (5-1), who scattered five hits over seven innings while striking out nine.
“It’s nice for us (to get a win) because it keeps us off the road for the first part of the regionals and we can play at home where we know the field, the mound and where we’re comfortable.”