CLEARWATER — The showdown between Class 7A, District 10 rivals Countryside and Seminole quickly turned into a one-sided affair.
The Warhawks scored two runs in the first inning Tuesday then added 10 more in the second en route to a 12-2 win. Seminole (11-3) pounded out 12 hits off four Countryside pitchers.
It also snapped a 10-game win streak for Countryside (12-2), which is ranked No. 1 in the Times’ Super Seven, one spot ahead of Seminole.
“They took our No. 1 spot and we wanted that back,” said starting pitcher Alex McGathey, who allowed two hits and was 2-for-3 with two RBIs. “We take pride in that. We want to be the best team we can be. It motivated us.”
Seminole came out smoking and didn’t let up on Cougars starter Eric Russell. Brett Phillips led off the game with a single, McGathey walked and Scott Withrow singled to drive in Phillips. Michael Mann also had an RBI single in the inning to make it 2-0.
The second inning started with an out. But the next six straight batters reached, the big blow a double by Adam Atkinson that scored two runs. Stephen Nobles also had an RBI double and Phillips tripled to score another run. It was 12-0 before Countryside’s Christian Townsend and Caleb Feibus were able to get the third out.
“Our mental approach was great tonight,” said Mann, who had three hits and an RBI. “It was the best all season. We were swinging at a lot of first-pitch fastballs and staying away from the stuff in the dirt. We were just swinging at better pitches.”
Countryside scored twice in the third with its only two hits off McGathey. The Cougars were unable to get a hit in the final two innings.
“Maybe we needed that,” Countryside coach Kemo O’Sullivan said. “We haven’t been in this situation before, so let’s see how we battle back. Hats off to those guys. We got beat by the better team.”