GULFPORT — Bradenton Bayshore broke open a tight game with a six-run sixth inning Friday to beat Boca Ciega 7-1 in the Class 5A, District 10 final.
After four scoreless innings the Bruins (13-14) broke through in the fifth as Justin Lakin scored on pitcher Tully Allen’s balk.
Allen avoided more damage in that inning but Bayshore chased him in the sixth, when eight of the nine batters he faced got on. Julian Valdivia, Lakin and Jayson Clayton all had RBI singles.
“We’re a team that’s still struggling at the plate so we can’t afford to go down by five or six runs because it’s going to be tough for us to catch up,” Boca Ciega coach Ralph Rogers said. “We had some opportunities early and they made great plays to get out of innings.”
Rogers said the balk was not the deciding factor.
“We would have needed to score anyway. The balk made the game 1-0 and that was something we could have recovered from,” Rogers added.
The Pirates had two runners on in the fifth but Tanner Watkins grounded out to end the threat. Boca Ciega loaded the bases in the sixth but Christopher Williams was robbed of an extra-base hit on Andrew Kurutz’s diving catch in leftfield. Allen scored when Daniel Capellan was hit by a pitch.
“Had we scored in the fifth maybe the atmosphere of the game would have changed,” Rogers added. “We scored a lot Wednesday and probably could have saved some of those runs for this afternoon.”
Boca Ciega (10-12) plays Wednesday at Jesuit in the region quarterfinals.
“It’s going to be a tough game but we’re looking forward to the challenge,” Rogers said. “No one is going to give us a chance but that’s all right. They didn’t give us a chance when we played Tampa Catholic and we surprised some people."