SHADY HILLS — Bishop McLaughlin had to be confident going into Tuesday night’s Class 3A region semifinal after coming off of a victory over Tampa Prep in the district championship game.
A rematch in the second round of the state playoffs did not go the same way as the Terrapins took advantage of Hurricane miscues, leading to an 8-3 win.
“This was good revenge,” Tampa Prep coach A.J. Hendrix said, “but the most important thing is that we’re moving on.”
Bishop McLaughlin (18-8) was only 2-1 against its district rival during the regular season, but after coming away with a the district title, the Hurricanes felt good.
Watson Ransom, whom the Terrapins (19-10) had on the mound in the district final, started the region semifinal as well, and he had redemption on his mind. Although Ransom went five innings without allowing an earned run in the previous matchup, the Hurricanes made good contact.
“Considering that they beat us in the district final, this was a big win,” Ransom said. “I thought that I pitched well in that game, but the defense wasn’t as good as it has been.”
It was Bishop McLaughlin’s pitching that ended up being the difference early.
Carson Ragsdale (5-5) walked five batters and threw 54 pitches in only 1 2/3 innings before being pulled. He surrendered four runs in the second inning, all unearned. Of the eight runs to cross the plate for Tampa Prep, only two were actually earned thanks to crucial two-out errors in both the second and fourth innings.
Ransom (7-3) answered the call from there. Staked to a 4-0 lead, the senior was masterful. He threw 108 pitches in a complete-game win, giving up one earned run, striking out four and walking only one. It was a good bounce-back outing following the district final.
“That’s the way high school pitching is,” Hendrix said. “You have to throw strikes to be successful.”
Matt Hodges (2-for-2, two runs, two RBIs, two walks) was the leader at the plate for Tampa Prep. His two-out two-run single in the second is what opened things up.
This is the third consecutive region final for the Terrapins, including a state semifinal berth in 2012.