CLEARWATER — Starting pitcher Colyn O’Connell didn’t get the win Tuesday night, but he made sure his team did.
The senior doubled in the bottom of the eighth inning then came around to score on three walks as Dunedin eked out an extra-inning 2-1 victory over archrival Seminole at Jack Russell Stadium.
As far as anti-climatic victories in the series between rivals Seminole and Dunedin, the one the Falcons pulled off has to rank near the top. The bases-loaded walk drew almost no reaction from the crowd, which quietly packed up and headed for the exits.
Then again, they’ve seen this before. Last year, the teams split 1-0 games, with Dunedin winning on a wild pitch and Seminole winning on a two-out infield single. None of the three runs scored Tuesday came on hits.
There was, however, a big hit by Dunedin (6-4) that helped decide the latest meeting.
With one out in the last inning, O’Connell drove a pitch from Stephen Nobles to the wall in left-center — against a stiff wind that may have prevented it from leaving the park.
After an intentional walk and a pop out, Falcons Aaron Chesson and Will Priest didn’t need to swing at any of the next eight pitches, as each was called a ball, the last one forcing in the winning run.
“That was a big win for us,” said O’Connell, who was 2-for-4. “You could tell it boosted the team’s spirit right away.”
O’Connell was staked to a 1-0 lead when Mac LeBoeuf singled and was moved around and scored on three wild pitches in the second inning. Seminole tied it in the on a bases-loaded walk in the fifth.
Seminole’s Alex McGathey allowed three hits in six innings and struck out six, but the Warhawks (8-3) never delivered the big hit in support.
They loaded the bases in the seventh but Falcons junior Alex Hart got two strikeouts and a groundout to work out of the jam, and McGathey singled and stole second in the top of the eighth but got no further.
Seminole had nine hits, but stranded 14, eight in scoring position.