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There is nothing anyone can say to make Osceola feel better about last year’s Class 4A region quarterfinal.
It’s no use noting the Warriors were in the playoffs for the second straight season and rallied to tie powerful Jesuit.
That’s because Osceola lost 4-3 in the seventh inning when ace Taylor Layner gave up a home run.
Tonight, the Warriors get their chance at redemption when they host the Tigers again in the 4A region quarterfinals.
Both teams are back at the same spot after similar outcomes in district tournaments. Osceola cruised through Class 4A-10 while Jesuit was upset by Jefferson in the 4A-9 final.
Layner will start for the Warriors and will most likely face Tigers ace Lance McCullers. For Osceola, it’s the final opportunity for the senior class to advance in the playoffs after making it a school-record three straight seasons.
Tuesday night, all games at 7; Admission: $6
At stake: Winners advance to Friday’s region semifinals
Countryside (19-9) at Plant (18-7): Cougars will rely on their bevy of arms in hopes of making their first playoff appearance since 2001 last more than one game.
Largo (9-19) at East Lake (18-8): Playing small ball, the Eagles shocked Dunedin and knocked off Tarpon Springs to win the 5A-11 district tournament. For the second straight season, the Packers made the playoffs by knocking off Northeast in the 5A-12 semifinals.
But Largo’s run should end against an East Lake team that is playing its best baseball at the right time.
Tarpon Springs (18-11) at Pinellas Park (8-14): The Spongers are one of the county’s hottest teams, winning 13 of their past 17 games. But they will have to figure out a way to get past the Patriots, who won the regular season between the schools thanks to a dominating performance by Donny Norris, the likely starter for Pinellas Park tonight.
Jesuit (23-6) at Osceola (22-4): The premier matchup between teams that are ranked in the top 10 in 4A according to MaxPreps. The Warriors hold the top spot, though they lost to the Tigers in the first round last year. Taylor Layner is pitching despite throwing in two district games last week.
Avon Park (8-9) at CC Catholic (18-9): The Marauders survived a high-scoring game to beat rival Tampa Catholic for the second straight season in the 3A-10 district final. CCC should be able to get by in the first round to set up another showdown with the Crusaders in the region semifinals.
Shorecrest (20-10) at Fort Myers Evangelical Chr. (20-7): Offense deserted the Chargers in a loss to Sarasota Out-of-Door in the 2A-11 district final. Now the Chargers have to go on the road to get back to the 2A state final.
Sarasota Chr. (8-13) at Canterbury (16-9): After beating nemesis Cambridge in the A-9 final, the Crusaders have to guard against not looking past the first round in order to set up a possible rematch with the Lancers.