SPRING HILL — For the first time in the school’s 34-year history, Springstead will be heading to the second round of the state playoffs.
In Wednesday’s Class 6A region quarterfinal, the Eagles played through an at-times heavy downpour to defeat Gainesville 13-3 by mercy rule in five innings.
Throwing a wet ball, Springstead ace Brandon Brosher toughed through a difficult first two innings by striking out the side twice. However, Gainesville (9-19) got on the scoreboard first when a flurry of singles and walks led to two runs in the first inning.
After a 20-minute rain delay after the top of the second, the Eagles (17-8) exploded offensively. Trent Wyzykowski started the scoring with a two-run double, which the Gainesville outfielders lost in the sky because of the falling raindrops. Ryan Nicoll then pushed the score to 4-2 with an infield single. Brosher (2-for-2, three RBIs, walk) slammed a two-run triple to cap the scoring at six runs in the frame.
In the third, Will Pagan added to the total with an RBI groundout. The Hurricanes got one back in the top of the fourth when a rain-aided wild pitch made it 7-3.
The fifth-inning downpour was the hits raining down on the Gainesville defense, not the precipitation. Wyzykowski doubled in two more runs in the bottom of the fifth to make it 9-3. An error by the Hurricanes’ shortstop allowed the last two runs to cross the plate and clinch the victory.
With Citrus beating Lake Weir 8-5 in Ocala on Wednesday, Springstead clinches homefield for its region semifinal Tuesday.