DUNEDIN — It has been more than a month since Clearwater Central Catholic dropped its season opener to Lakewood. Since then, the Marauders have won baseball games again.
On Tuesday, CCC’s streak reached record levels in a 12-2 victory over Fivay at the Dunedin Invitational that was called after six innings because of the mercy rule.
The Marauders have won 16 straight games, tying a school record that was set in 2002 when they won a state title. That year, CCC had a pair of 16-game win streaks sandwiched between a loss to Dunedin in this tournament.
Tonight, the Marauders can break the school record when they play East Lake in the semifinals.
“I thought we had a chance to be good this season,” CCC coach Todd Vaughan said. “But I didn’t think we’d have this kind of record. We’re just playing really well and these kids are real scrappy.”
Against Fivay, the Marauders got off to a quick start, scoring nine runs in the first two innings. CCC did it by staying patient at the plate, drawing four walks in the first inning that led to five runs. Benny Mendizabal and Andrew Mink each had two hits for the Marauders.
The run support was more than enough for Michael Del Monte, who allowed three hits.
CCC’s streak will be tested by the Eagles, who escaped with a 3-2 victory over Countryside.
Ryan Wall pitched six innings and allowed one walk and three hits. Tyler Gardner picked up the save and struck out the final batter to seal the win. Troy Strominger had a triple and two RBIs to lead East Lake’s offense.
East Lake has beaten the Marauders the past two seasons. CCC also might be taxed as far as pitchers after playing in a tournament in Miami this past weekend before heading into the tournament.
“It’s going to be tough,” Vaughan said. “East Lake seems to have our number. We’ll just have to find a way to keep it going.”
Dunedin 5, Pasco 0: After starting 2-4, the Falcons have won nine in a row, a streak attributed to better hitting.
“We were just losing a lot of one-run games early on,” Dunedin coach Tom Hilbert said. “It was frustrating, but we knew it would come around and it’s starting to show at the plate.”
Alex Hart and Trevor Jensen each had two hits to lead the Falcons. Aaron Chesson allowed five hits and improved to 3-1.
Dunedin plays Lynn Haven Mosley in tonight’s semifinals. Mosley beat Calvary Christian 16-4 Tuesday.
Osceola 5, River Ridge 0: Starting for just the second time in his career, Joey Favetta earned his first high school win, throwing a three-hit shutout and striking out six. Keith Weisenburg was 2-for-3 with a run and a stolen base.
“We’ve had it tough at the start of the year, but we’re starting to put it together,” said Warriors coach Stefan Futch, whose team is 7-7.