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PINELLAS PARK — Before Wednesday night’s game, Pinellas Park coach Shane DeMartino urged his players to be aware of the arcing lobs by Largo pitcher Taylor Webber.
The Patriots obviously heeded his advice, scoring 10 runs in the first three innings on the way to a 12-3 victory over the Packers to reach the 5A-12 district finals.
They will take on Northeast on Friday at 7 p.m.
Pinellas Park (17-8) put up four in the bottom of the second inning. After her triple, Courtney Lonardo scored on a pitch that went past the catcher. A bases-loaded walk then drove in Kelly Pierce, and a double by Samantha Martin pushed two more across the plate.
After Webber retired the first two batters, misplays by the Packers helped the Patriots tack on six more runs the next inning. A fielding error at third and an overthrow to home allowed Pierce and Jazmyne Torres to score on a hit by Jordan Bennett. Bennett came home on a hit by Summer Giberson that was also misplayed at third base. Taylor Klinesmith and Martin each doubled to tack on two more, and Tatum McDowell singled in the final run of the inning.
The Packers (2-14) responded with three runs in the fourth off starter McKenzie Campbell. A double by Lauren D’Angelo drove in Darbie Napieralski and Raven Moseley, who had both reached on infield hits. Webber then helped her effort by slapping the ball through the middle to score D’Angelo.
Haley Ledford’s base hit added two more runs in the fifth, putting the Patriots up by nine. With the game on the line, bases loaded and nobody out, the Packers and Webber showed their grit. Webber followed Hayley Nygren’s fly out to center by striking out Bridgette Duffy. Conner Harris then hit a comebacker that Webber turned into a force at home.
The Vikings notched a 3-1 victory over Boca Ciega. Both teams scored all of their runs in the first inning.