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SEMINOLE — Osceola is heading back to the 4A playoffs for the third year in a row after defeating rival Palmetto 3-1 Wednesday night in a game that featured outstanding pitching by both teams.
Palmetto (10-16) pitcher Granden Goetzman teed off and hammered a home run to leftfield in the first inning, but that’s all the offense the Tigers would be able to muster.
“He put a good swing on it and I don’t know how far it went, but I think it’s still going,” Osceola starter Taylor Layner said.
Layner was untouchable after the first, striking out the side in the second and finishing with 12 strikeouts and the one earned run in a complete-game effort.
“This is my senior year, and before the game I was as nervous as can be,” Layner said. “When I’m on the mound the team feels good about us winning, and I like that feeling.”
Osceola’s bats came alive in the third. Goetzman walked the leadoff batter followed by a sacrifice bunt and an RBI single by Mike Bouribon.
With two runners in scoring position, Evan Hock lined a two-run single to right-centerfield to put Osceola (21-4) up 3-1.
“(Palmetto’s) a good ball club and they have some quality players over there,” Osceola coach Stefan Futch said.
The Warriors will face Lakewood Ranch for the 4A-10 district title Friday.
“We beat Lakewood Ranch when they played down here, and we were swinging the bats pretty good that night and we’ll have to do more of the same if we’re going to win,” Futch said.