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PINELLAS PARK — The offense was opportunistic Wednesday, but that has been the case a lot lately.
Seminole scored key runs early and got contributions from everyone. Add pitching that was effective, if not spectacular, and you have a 2-1 victory over St. Petersburg from a team that no longer resembles the bunch that lost three straight two weeks ago.
The Warhawks got the big win when it mattered most, beating the Green Devils for the first time this season in the Class 7A, District 10 semifinals. Seminole (15-7), the No. 3 seed, advances to play top seed Countryside in tonight’s final at 7.
The Cougars (19-5) secured a playoff berth with a 9-0 victory over Northeast in the other semifinal.
“We came out with a little more urgency and confidence,” Warhawks coach Mark DeRuzzo said. “We got on top early and put the pressure on them.”
In the first inning, Brooke Ours led off with a single, advanced to second on a ground out by Nicolette Myers and came home on a double by Jennie Sittloh to give Seminole a 1-0 lead.
Ours led off the third inning with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Myers and scored on a single by Sittloh to make it 2-0.
Sittloh, who started on the mound, retired eight of the first nine batters.
“(St. Petersburg) beat us twice so we were determined to win this game,” Sittloh said. “We just wanted to keep getting people on base, and my defense played great behind me.”
The Green Devils rallied in the fourth inning when Haleigh Reddick singled, moved to second on Carly Danner’s bunt and scored on a double by Katie Rieth to cut the deficit to 2-1. Bree Setree-Malone followed with a single by Rieth was held at third. Sittloh ended the threat by getting the next two batters out.
“We stayed loose,” DeRuzzo said. “The pressure was on St. Petersburg. They beat us twice. We have girls who are starting to believe in themselves. They came out and made the plays.”
In the other semifinal, the Cougars made steady contact and scored consistently against the Vikings. Countryside did not have a batter strike out. The big hitter was Erin Jankiewicz, who went 4-for-4.
6A-12: Easy outing for Osceola
Osceola cruised to an 11-1 semifinal victory over Palmetto that was called after five innings because of the mercy rule.
The Warriors, who secured a playoff berth after missing out last year, play top seed and host Lakewood Ranch in the final.
The big inning for Osceola came in the second when it scored five runs. Kara Oberer and Kaitlyn Newman each had two hits. Kaitlyn Romaine allowed three hits to pick up the win.
After struggling midway through the season, Osceola has won three straight and four of its past five, including victories against Canterbury, Countryside and Seminole in the past two weeks.
5A-12: Boca Ciega gets big hits in eighth
ST. PETERSBURG — In an error-filled Class 5A, District 12 semifinal, it was two solid hits by Boca Ciega that decided the game. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Amanda Douglas singled and Kaylyn Munroe drove her in with a double to rightfield to give the Pirates a 7-6 win over Lakewood at Dixie Hollins.
Boca Ciega advanced to the region tournament with the win.
“Last time we played them I did almost the same thing, hit one right down the rightfield line,” Munroe said. “When it got past the rightfielder I knew it was going to score the run.”
For most of the game it looked like the Pirates wouldn’t need extra innings. Boca Ciega scored first with two runs in the third inning. Brittany Price’s infield single scored Asmara Goodwin. Price then scored when a throw to first base on a dropped third strike sailed into the outfield.
In the other semifinal, host Dunedin beat Bradenton Southeast 8-0.
The Falcons (15-7) scored two runs each in the first and third innings and four runs in the fifth. Tiona Hill and Abbie Sexton each had two hits and two RBIs for Dunedin.
Samantha Silver came up with some big plays at second base to help preserve the shutout.
Lakewood took its first lead in the fifth inning with three unearned runs. Marisa Rivera scored from third when a throw to first was dropped. Another infield error off a grounder to shortstop by Mariah Watts scored Limia Hinton and Haley Michalski.
Boca Ciega appeared to blow the game open in the sixth with four runs to make it 6-3. But Lakewood battled back in the top of the seventh to tie the game, thanks to three straight one-out hits and another infield error.
That led to Munroe’s eighth-inning heroics. Her hit off Watts just landed inside the first-base line and scooted into foul territory. Douglas was able to score without a throw to the plate.
“They were throwing me outside pitches because I think they knew I have trouble with that pitch,” Munroe said. “I had to hit it to the right side because I’m not able to pull that pitch.”
Staff writer Rodney Page contributed to this report.