TAMPA — A funny thing happened on the way to Tampa Prep being blown out by Bishop McLauhglin Catholic.
The Terrapins had a seven-run, seventh-inning rally Thursday night to turn that blowout into a close game. And Tampa Prep had fun — even though Bishop McLaughlin hung on for a 9-7 win in the Class 2A, District 10 championship game.
"That was fun," said Tampa Prep coach A.J. Hendrix after the game's wild ending. "That's the great thing about this team. They don't give up. Already knowing we were moving on (to region play), they could have quit. They didn't give up."
Starting their last at-bat, Tampa Prep trailed 9-0, had just four hits and was struggling against pitcher David Heintz.
But suddenly, their bats came alive.
The Terrapins (14-11) sent 11 batters to the plate and had six hits, including a grand slam from Wes Jarrell. Heintz managed to end the Tampa Prep rally by striking out the game's last batter, his eighth of the night.
In addition to cruising through all but one inning on the mound, Heintz also collected three hits, including a double, knocked in a run and scored three times.
The Hurricanes (18-9) jumped on Tampa Prep starting pitcher Robby Daisley for three runs in the opening inning. He was gone by the third inning but Bishop McLaughlin kept scoring, punctuated by a two-run home run to right centerfield in the sixth inning by Cy Beermann.
Still, Hendrix said Thursday's ending could benefit his club as it starts region play Tuesday on the road.
"We didn't come out well early on and in high school baseball, walks and errors will kill you," he said. "But we showed a lot in the end and that can carry over. And who knows? We could see them (Bishop McLaughlin) again. Maybe this (performance) put a little something in their mind."