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SEMINOLE — East Lake and Seminole no longer compete for district supremacy, but emotions still run high between the squads.
The Eagles defeated their crosstown rival 3-1 in eight innings Friday, but the victory was for more than just bragging rights. Shortstop Nick Mazzoni played with heartbreak, and his teammates were there to pick him up.
“There’s a lot of emotion here tonight because one of my players, a relative passed away, and he’s heavy-hearted and we kind of did it for him,” East Lake coach Dan Genna said. “We wanted to go hard and show him that we care for him because we’re a big family here.”
East Lake (16-6) got on board early, scoring a run on Nathan Montano’s sacrifice fly to centerfield.
Pitcher Eric Hanhold kept Seminole off balance, going six innings and striking out four. Warhawks pitcher Jordan Doyle (5-2) was also solid, striking out 10 on 95 efficient pitches.
Seminole (20-4) didn’t have trouble getting baserunners, but miscues kept them from crossing home. Brett Phillips gave the Warhawks a chance to score but was caught leaning in the third.
With one on and one out in the fifth, Seminole coach Jeff Pincus had a hit-and-run set to perfection. Stephen Nobles reached third before the throw but overslid, getting tagged in the process, stopping momentum.
“We squandered opportunities,” Pincus said. “Baserunning killed us tonight.”
The Warhawks’ Nick Nolan tied the game in the sixth on a fielder’s choice, allowing Michael Mann to cross home.
Relief pitcher Tyler Ramsey (6-3) kept the damage to a minimum, striking out the final four batters.
“It’s always going to be a big game between us, and I hope it stays that way,” Ramsey said.
Grant Hodges scored on a suicide squeeze in the eighth followed by Troy Strominger stealing home during a double steal.