SEMINOLE — Michael Mann had a chip on his shoulder as he stood at home plate in the bottom of the fourth inning Tuesday of Seminole’s game against rival Osceola. Actually, it was a bruise the size of a baseball.
On the previous pitch, Mann was hit on the right shoulder as he checked his swing. But the umpire ruled the ball first ticked off his bat, so he was not awarded first base.
Mann got mad and got even.
On the next pitch, he laced a double to centerfield that tied the game. Tylor Craft followed with an RBI single and the Warhawks never looked back in a 4-2 win. Mann added an RBI double in the sixth and was 3-for-3 with two RBIs.
“It didn’t hit the bat so I was fired up,” Mann said. “And the catcher was saying some stuff, so that made me mad. I was just focused on seeing a fastball and driving it. The next pitch was a fastball. I’m kind of glad that they said it hit the bat.”
Starting pitcher Keith Weisenberg set down the Warhawks in the first three innings and Osceola (8-1) scored first in the top of the third. Evan Hock came through with a two-out single that scored Abi Jimenez. Justin Kremer followed with an RBI single to make it 2-0.
That was the third straight hit, and fourth of the inning, off Seminole starter Alex McGathey. Overall, Osceola had 10 hits off McGathey, who was making his first start on the mound. McGathey was suspended for two weeks because of an ejection, but returned Friday and earned a save against Pinellas Park.
The second time around against Weisenberg was better for Seminole (6-1). In the fourth, Jordan Doyle had a hit-and-run single, and when rightfielder Rickey Whiteman’s throw sailed over third base, pinch-runner Cody Miller scored Seminole’s first run. Then Mann and Craft came through to give the Warhawks the lead for good.
“I knew the second time around they’d get better looks at him,” Seminole coach Jeff Pincus said. “They made the adjustments and got some big hits. It was a huge inning by the guys who lead this team.”
Osceola got a runner to third in the fifth but was unable to capitalize. Seminole’s Stephen Nobles worked the seventh to earn the save.
Before the game, Seminole held a ceremony for former player Nate Richardson, one of four youths killed in a car accident in April 2009. A plaque was presented and will hang at the field’s concession stand. Richardson, who would have been a senior shortstop, was listed in the starting lineup. Shortstop was left vacant for the first pitch of the game.