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Tue. April 2, 2013 | Bob Putnam | Email

CLEARWATER — The monthlong stretch of wins was over. After tying a school record with 16 straight victories, Clearwater Central Catholic lost a one-run game last week to East Lake.

The Marauders, though, shrugged off that defeat. To them it was an aberration on the momentum that was already established this season.

It didn’t take long for CCC to start winning again. On Tuesday, the Marauders beat Countryside 7-4, CCC’s second straight win since its streak was snapped.

“The biggest thing for us was we needed to go back out after that loss to East Lake and prove that we can hang with anyone,” Marauders pitcher David Paul said. “It didn’t matter how much bigger the teams were, we feel like we can compete with anyone.”

Paul was a big factor in beating the Cougars. He kept hitters off balance by using a variety of speeds and had a two-hit shutout through six.

“I was able to get ahead of hitters, which really helped,” Paul said. “I used my changeup a lot and hit my spots.”

About the only thing Paul was unable to do was finish the game. In the seventh, he walked two batters with one out before being pulled.

“I would have liked to have had a complete game,” said Paul, who improved to 7-0. “But I understand why the coaches did it. I was getting pretty tired out there.”

Paul had plenty of support on offense as CCC (18-2) built a 7-0 lead in the seventh inning. Andrew Mink had two hits for the Marauders, including a double.

The Cougars (12-7) rallied with four runs in the seventh but could not get any closer.

“I think we’ve done a real good job of bouncing back,” Paul said. “We were so close to having that win streak still going at 19 right now. But I don’t feel like we ever really lost our momentum. We played well in that East Lake game. We just came up short.

“We’ve kept our heads up and got back to winning again.”

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