SEMINOLE — King and Osceola took the unconventional route into Tuesday’s Class 6A region semifinals. The Warriors knocked off district champ Jefferson, and the Lions downed district champ Mitchell.
Both teams like to put pressure on the bases. So something had to give and it was the Osceola defense. The Warriors gave up six unearned runs on six errors, falling 10-3 to the visiting Lions.
“We’ve had people do it to us (pressure runners on the bases),” King coach Jim Macaluso said. “We like to run and bunt and move runners and everybody knows that, but when you start to think about it (making plays in the infield) too much, it affects your execution.”
Warriors starting pitcher Buddy Dougherty went a strong 4 1/3 innings, fanning five and walking two. But the fielding errors started in the second and by the time the hook came it the fifth for Dougherty, it was 5-0 with only one run earned.
The Lions were stingy and intuitive on defense, twice picking off runners trying to steal without even a throw home, while the pitcher still had the ball.
“I talked to about five coaches that had played (Osceola) and they all said they like to run,” Macaluso said. “So we had a signal if the runner was leading off too much, we would just give the signal and the pitcher would go (make the throw) to first.”
Macaluso said it was actually starting catcher Jose Lopez that made the signals to try and pick the runners. Lopez was 1-for-2 with two walks and an RBI at the plate. The Lions got just enough hitting, another couple RBIs from Bubby Terp and Ethan Thomas.
The Lions were 6-for-6 stealing bases against the Warriors, who mounted a short rally in the sixth but ground out with the bases loaded to keep it 10-3. Tyeler Checkley (10-1) struck out seven in five innings for King.