CLEARWATER — Countryside junior pitcher Charlie Skantze needed some help Wednesday if he was going to get a win in his first start of the season. Skantze had just completed seven strong innings against Dunedin but the score was tied at 2 in the bottom of the seventh.
He got the help he needed from his little brother, Jack.
With one out and a runner on third, Jack Skantze laced a line drive to rightfield that scored pinch-runner Kevin Rosinski to give the Cougars a 3-2 win.
“I was so pumped up,” Charlie Skantze said. “I was so happy for my little brother to get the base hit that won the game. It was heartwarming. I’ve never seen him do that at any level before.”
Countryside (4-0) has yet to give up an earned run.
Coach Kemo O’Sullivan said starting Charlie Skantze was just a hunch.
“I didn’t know who I was starting until about 3 o’clock,” he said. “I just thought this was the best matchup. He throws a good breaking ball and for Dunedin’s pull hitters I thought it would be a tough matchup.”
The heroics were set up in the bottom of the seventh when Zach Taylor opened with a walk. After a failed bunt attempt Christian Townsend then grounded to pitcher Alex Hart.
Hart wheeled to second and threw to shortstop Kellen Brown for the out. But Brown’s subsequent throw to first baseman Eric Sexton was off the mark and Townsend advanced to second.
Rosinski came in as a pinch runner and moved to third on a wild pitch. On a 3-1 count, Skantze lined his base hit.
Both starting pitchers were effective. Hart and Skantze gave up only three hits each.
Jack Skantze, a freshman, said he couldn’t remember the last time he had a walkoff hit. But he won’t soon forget the night his hit gave his older brother a win over Dunedin.
“I was just trying to kill the ball,” Jack Skantze said. “I knew a fastball was coming and I just wanted to hit it hard. It’s a very special night for us.”
Skantze ran into trouble first when he gave up two unearned runs in the second. Justin Glover reached on a fielder’s choice and later scored on a passed ball. Jack Hamrick then hit an RBI double with two out that scored T.J. Alman.
In the fourth, the Cougars tied it on Bobby Krayer’s triple that scored Charlie Skantze and a fielder’s choice groundball to first by Jake Mielock that scored Skantze.
Dunedin (2-4) has lost all four games by one run.
“You can’t score just two runs in one inning in a high school game and win,” Falcons coach Tom Hilbert said. “We still should’ve, but that’s the way it’s been for us so far.”