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ST. PETERSBURG — Largo won an unlikely game from an unlikely source Wednesday in the consolation game of the Northeast Spring Tournament.
Not only did the Packers face their potential final strike of the game, but they also had to rally from a five-run deficit after the top of the first inning.
The hero was Tyler Short, a freshman who snapped out of a five-game hitting streak with the decisive blow. With Largo trailing 5-4 with two out in the bottom of the seventh inning, Short hit a two-run homer that lifted the Packers to a 6-5 victory over Lakewood.
As the ball sailed over the left-centerfield wall, Short jogged around the bases, igniting a wild celebration at home plate as Largo players came roaring out of the dugout to mob their teammate.
It was Short’s first home run in high school.
“I knew it was gone as soon as I hit it,” Short said. “I started jogging around the bases. It was a full count so I knew the pitcher was going to come with a fastball. It was up high and I just had a good swing.
“It’s a great feeling to hit my first home run and help my team out like that.”
The Packers fell behind quickly as the Spartans batted around in the first inning to build a 5-0 lead. Lakewood scored on a two-run double by Cornelius Copeland and a three-run homer by Donovan Pink.
Largo slowly chipped away at the deficit, scoring a run each in the first and second innings. In the sixth inning, the Packers got a break, scoring two runs off a passed ball and a throwing error to cut it to 5-4.
That set up Short’s heroics.
“I’m so glad I was able to do that,” Short said of his home run. “I was in such a slump. I couldn’t get a hit at all the past few games. I got out of it in a big way.”
The championship game did not provide the same dramatics, at least for Dixie Hollins.
The Rebels, who were playing in their first tournament final in years, couldn’t put together much offensively in a 4-0 loss to Cypress Creek.
Joey Simmons and Nick Stanney had Dixie Hollins’ only hits, both singles. Cypress Creek scored three runs in the second and added another in the third.
All-tournament team: Brooks-DeBartolo – Jose Lopez; Clearwater – Dillon Stone; Cypress Creek – C.J. Cordeus, Kevin Reyes, Corey Rivas; Dixie Hollins – John Hollis, Ray Lanners, Joey Simmons; Lakewood – Cornelius Copeland, Donovan Pink; Largo – Chris D’Angelo, Nick Mason; Northeast – Johnny Gray, Michael Wiley; Shorecrest – Marc Brakeman, Jason Kiracofe