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Region baseball: Extra-inning thriller for Bosnic, Berkeley Prep

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Tue. May 6, 2014 | Kelly Parsons

TAMPA — It was supposed to happen exactly how it did. 

Berkeley Prep hadn’t used the play yet this season, coach Justin Houston said. But trailing Tampa Catholic by a run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning of Tuesday’s Class 4A region semifinal, it was now or never. 

With Dante Bosnic on third and Nick Kavouklis on second, Kavouklis took a walking lead toward second, attempting to distract A.J. Chacon on the mound. It worked.

As Chacon swiveled around to pick off Kavouklis, it gave Bosnic just enough time to take off for the tying score. “I had a free line to home,” Bosnic said.

Bosnic’s big night wasn’t over, though, as the Brown signee hit a walk-off single in the 11th inning to deliver the 5-4 win to the Bucs.

“He’s our horse. He’s our leader and our captain,” Houston said. “He’s the guy we’ve leaned on all year.”

Berkeley batted around in the first inning, scoring on a bases-loaded hit by pitch and back-to-back RBI singles from Casey Keller and Spencer Myers.

With Bosnic on the mound for the first 6 1/3 innings, the Berkeley Prep defense held the Crusaders to just a single run, scored on a sac bunt, through five.

But in the sixth, Tampa Catholic finally began stringing hits together, and the Crusaders scored on a fielder’s choice and a Berkeley Prep throwing error before plating the go-ahead run on a Jordan Santos RBI single. 

Bosnic, who, along with Danny Brackman went 3-for-6, executed the game-saving play to keep his Bucs (17-12) alive in the seventh. But for the next three-and-a-half frames, neither team could make a move. 

Chacon, who pitched 5 2/3 innings for the Crusaders (17-10), didn’t allow a single hit in the eighth, ninth or 10th innings, striking out three in the process. But in the 11th, when Michael Murphy came in to pitch, Gordon Stetson had a leadoff single — the Bucs’ ninth hit of the game — and Brackman followed with one of his own.

Then Bosnic stepped up and saved his team once more.

The senior’s hit to leftfield brought Stetson home, ending a game that, for a while, didn’t seem to have an end in sight. The Bucs advance to their second region final in three years, where it will look for its first state semifinal berth since 2000. 

After the game, Bosnic acknowledged he had a good night. But, his mind on what’s to come, Bosnic was quick to shrug it off. 

“It was huge,” he said. “But we’re not done yet.”

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