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TAMPA — East Lake rolled into Jesuit on Thursday night with an 8-0 record and impressive pitching and hitting statistics.
The Tigers, ranked second nationally by MaxPreps, were not intimidated.
Jesuit pounded out 15 hits, scored early and late and defeated the Eagles 12-2 in six innings. It was the eighth time in 10 games the Tigers have won by the 10-run mercy rule. They have outscored opponents 120-11.
“Anytime you can put 15 hits and 12 runs on the board against a quality team you know your offense is really clicking,” Jesuit coach Richie Warren said. “We have quality baseball players. They know how to execute the plan.
“It’s one thing to have a plan; we have guys who can physically execute it.”
East Lake’s plan was to get off to a good start. But Jesuit had a say in that.
After Jesuit starter John Kilichowski struck out the first three batters, the Tigers put up four runs in the first inning aided by a balk, an error and an infield base hit. Spencer Trayner got a one-out single off Eagles starter Brad Deppermann. Deppermann then hit No. 3 hitter Vincent Miniet to put runners at first and second.
A double steal advanced the runners. Then Deppermann was called for a balk, scoring Trayner. Ricky Caldevilla’s two-out infield single scored Miniet. An East Lake error added another run and Leland Saile drove in the fourth run of the inning with a solid single.
“We had a couple of errors and some chop base hits that hurt us in that first inning,” East Lake coach Dan Genna said. “That’s going to keep me awake. If we just could’ve gotten out of that.”
Jesuit (10-0) tacked on two more runs in the second thanks to a two-RBI single by Ryan McCullers. East Lake settled down in the middle innings courtesy of four-plus innings of scoreless relief by Dante Valenti.
East Lake’s runs came in the third when Doug Rovello scorched a double to left-centerfield that scored Andrew Prozzillo. Grant Hodges followed with an RBI single.
Things got away from East Lake in the sixth when Jesuit scored six runs to end the game. The big blow was a three-RBI double with the bases loaded by Daniel Portales.
“That’s not a good hitting team, it’s a great hitting team,” Genna said. “That’s a tough lineup for anyone to face.”
Kilichowski and Ronnie Ramirez combined to give up six hits. Kilichowski struck out seven in three innings.
“I don’t think that score really represents the game at all,” East Lake’s Troy Strominger said. “We gave up some runs early but we fought back.”