PALM HARBOR — Sarasota Riverview’s Sean Labsan brought Palm Harbor University’s season to an abrupt end Tuesday. Not only did Labsan hit the first grand slam of his life, he threw a no-hitter to single-handedly help the Rams to a 10-0 win in the Class 8A, District 8 semifinal.
Riverview (10-14) will play East Lake for the district championship at 6 p.m. Thursday at Riverview. The Eagles defeated North Port 8-3.
“It was a pretty good day,” said Labsan, who lost the first time he faced PHU this season. “I’ve never hit a grand slam before. And I was just trying to keep throwing strikes. There were some times where I had to settle down because I was overthrowing.”
While Labsan was unhittable, he and his teammates were busy getting hits at the plate. The Rams scored two runs in the first inning when Labsan doubled home two runners. PHU starter Brent Horton settled down and got out of the inning.
But Labsan struck again in the third. With the bases loaded, Labsan sent Horton’s first pitch over the right-centerfield fence to make it 7-0.
That put the game out of reach for PHU. The only drama was whether Laban would get the no-hitter. The closest call came in the fourth inning when Jordan Pendleton hit a grounder to the shortstop. The ball was clearly bobbled and ruled an error.
Otherwise, PHU’s bats were pretty silent. Labsan struck out seven, five of those looking.
“Their great player played a great game,” PHU coach Joel Slawinski said. “Our guys battled to the end. I’m proud of the way our kids never gave up. They’ve played that way all season.”
6A-10: Spongers’ bats lively in shutout
NEW PORT RICHEY — Tarpon Springs ace Michael Dunnigan wasn’t going to take Sunlake for granted.
The senior watched the Seahawks upset River Ridge 1-0 Monday and he wasn’t going allow anything to stop the Spongers from making consecutive regional appearances.
But Dunnigan didn’t have to do it by himself. The Tarpon bats exploded Tuesday, earning 13 hits while defeating Sunlake 13-0 in five innings to advance to the Class 6A, District 10 final.
“I didn’t think we were going to put up 13 runs because (Sunlake) played so tough defensively last night (against River Ridge),” Dunnigan said, who is 8-1. “I just wanted to come out here and shut them down if we got a couple of runs.”
Dunnigan finished with six strikeouts on 35 pitches. Tarpon coach Dickie Hart pulled him after the third to potentially use Dunnigan in the title game.
Tarpon (22-4) did most of its damage to Sunlake (10-16) in the second inning, sending 10 up to bat with seven crossing the plate. David Miklavcic blasted a two-run double followed by a two-run home run to leftfield by Anthony Bariso.
“Our pitching has been consistent all year and we’ve been swinging the ball really well the last two-thirds of the year,” Hart said. “We’re playing good baseball right now.”
Class 2A, District 9: Canterbury got only six hits but still managed to beat Keswick Christian 8-3 in a semifinal game at Canterbury. The Crusaders will play Sarasota Christian, which beat Manatee HEAT 18-6 in the other semifinal game, in the district final. Harrison Hall had two hits to lead Canterbury. “We’re happy to be moving on, but we didn’t play all that well,” Canterbury coach Dave Smith said.
Class 3A, District 9: Shorecrest’s Marc Brakeman had a no-hitter against Calvary Christian with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning. But Nate Reed spoiled the no-hitter, and the game, for the Chargers with an RBI single that scored Matt Piatt for a 2-1 walkoff win. The Warriors scored a run in the first without getting a hit. Calvary Christian’s Zach Wolfe allowed five hits to get the win. Shorecrest, which advanced to the third round of the postseason last year, is out of the playoffs. Calvary Christian will play Indian Rocks Christian at 4 p.m. today in the semifinals.
A look at some of the top performers from Tuesday night.
Robby Coursel, Northeast: In the biggest game of the season , Coursel threw a three-hitter to help beat Pinellas Park 4-0 and keep regional hopes alive. He struck out nine and had a hit and two RBIs.
Brody Ryan, Indian Rocks Christian: The junior pitcher threw 61/3 innings and scattered five hits in a 2-1 win over Clearwater Central Catholic. He also had a double.
By the numbers
1 Times Indian Rocks Christian has beaten Clearwater Central Catholic in baseball, after Tuesday night’s 2-1 win. Not only did Brody Ryan have a big night, but Brad Miller got a save and hit a home run, his first of the season. Austin Corrao had two doubles and stole home in the second inning for what turned out to the be the winning run.
Times correspondent Basil Spyridakos contributed to this report.