Baseball: CCC, Osceola reach Dunedin final



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Fri. March 28, 2014 | Rodney Page | Email

DUNEDIN — After two days of spraying the ball all over the Englebert Complex, Clearwater Central Catholic cooled down in the semifinals of the Dunedin Spring Tournament against Inspiration Academy of Bradenton. But a cooled down CCC is still pretty good.

The Marauders scattered five hits, walked six times and got solid starting pitching from Tyler Simmons to defeat the Lions 5-1. CCC plays Osceola in the final at 8 p.m. Saturday.

“I’m real proud about how we went about our business,” CCC coach Todd Vaughan said. “We weren’t the sharpest we’ve ever been, but we got some timely hits and played some decent defense. I can’t ask any more from them.”

In the first two games of the tournament, CCC outscored its opponents 27-6 and didn’t play into the seventh inning in either. Thursday’s game was much closer.

It was scoreless after the first two innings, but CCC got on the board in the third. Brenden Overton drew a one-out walk, and David Paul followed with a single. Zuriel Collins then hit a groundout to third that drove in Overton. Paul scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-0.

Paul came through again in the fourth with a two-out single to right that drove in Derek Gibree and Overton to make it 4-0.

Inspiration Academy got one run back in the bottom of the fourth when Cesar Bernal singled with one out to drive in Sam Spier. After that, the Lions (14-4) managed only two hits off Simmons and reliever Joe Messina.

CCC’s final run came on a sixth-inning sacrifice fly that scored Britton Araujo.

Simmons earned the win by pitching five innings and allowing three hits and four walks.

CCC (15-0) looks to win its first Dunedin tournament since 2011.

“We come into these things with the thinking that we want to play four really good games,” Vaughan said. “If the goal is to advance down the road (in regions), then this is what we have to do. We have to put game after game after game together.”

Pitchers’ duel goes Osceola’s way

DUNEDIN — Aaron Turman was good. Keith Weisenberg was a little bit better.

In the second semifinal of the Dunedin Spring Classic, Weisenberg and Osceola created just enough offense to topple Turman and Dunedin 2-0.

“This was a well-played game on both sides of the field,” Warriors coach Stefan Futch said. “(Turman) was fantastic, and both teams battled right to the end.”

Turman was a model of efficiency for the Falcons (10-6), scattering six hits with a pair of strikeouts in a 71-pitch (50 strikes) complete game.

“Definitely, absolutely that was my best game this season,” the senior said. “If I can do this every time, we’ll be in every game.”

But even Turman knew he was facing special competition — as if the dozen radar gun-toting scouts charting Weisenberg’s every pitch wasn’t a telltale sign.

“I didn’t really notice (the scouts) until the second or third inning, but I didn’t want to pay attention,” Turman said. “I knew I had to stick with my game plan.”

It took smart plays by Osceola (13-3) to score.

Moving to third on a grounder to shortstop allowed leadoff man Joey Coca (single) to score in the first inning on Mike Kleinman’s two-out base hit. And in the fifth, Luke Hains (single) beat a throw to third after another infield out and scored on Coca’s pitching-wedge double to shallow rightfield, also with two outs.

That was all Weisenberg, a Stanford commit with a 92 mph fastball, needed. The 6-foot-4 senior gave up only two hits, struck out nine and walked one. He retired 13 of the last 14 batters he faced.

“Kids like Keith don’t come along every day. He’s a coach’s dream,” Futch said. “Keith is one of the best draftable players in Pinellas County, and this was the best game he’s thrown.”

Turman noticed as well.

“I thought we played well enough to win,” he said. “But (Weisenberg) was phenomenal.”

Times correspondent Chuck Frye contributed to this report.


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