PINELLAS PARK — In his last start, Pinellas Park right-hander Brandon Grigsby had a forgettable outing against Osceola in the Dunedin Spring tournament. He only lasted two innings in an 11-4 loss to the Warriors.
Grigsby and his fellow Patriots were much better against East Lake on Tuesday night in a Class 7A, District 9 showdown.
The Patriots jumped out to an early lead, played stellar defense and Grigsby scattered three hits in a 4-0 win. Pinellas Park (12-8, 5-3) keeps its slim hopes of a No. 1 seed alive. East Lake (12-6, 5-3) needs help to catch the Patriots and district leader Northeast.
“We knew it would be a battle against a good team like East Lake,” Grigsby said. “Once we scored we didn’t give up. …And our defense was tremendous. I knew I could throw inside and get ground balls and they were going to make plays.”
The Patriots put up a run in the first inning against East Lake starter Cameron Churchill. Ryan Griffith hit a one-out triple to right, and Derek Jaar followed with a ground out to third that scored Griffith.
In the third inning Pinellas Park scored two more runs. Zach Roberts got a one-out walk and moved to third base on a perfect hit-and-run single to right by Griffith. One out later, Triston Allen singled home Roberts, and Grigsby followed with an RBI single of his own to make it 3-0.
Grigsby cruised through the first three innings, facing the minimum thanks to a double play in the first. East Lake pushed runners to second and third in the fourth with two outs. But Grigsby got a strike out of Nick DeSantis to end the threat.
Brett Shavers scored the final run in the fourth inning thanks to an infield error.
“I lit them up after the Osceola game,” coach Pat Russo said. “I talked to them for an hour and a half and told them we were going to forget everything that’s happened up to tonight. …We’ve just got to believe. They’re from the Park and they don’t believe. But when they get it, watch out.”