SPRING HILL — An offensive outburst in the late innings provided plenty of ammunition for Tampa Prep to walk away with its second consecutive Class 2A, District 9 title 10-3.
Bishop McLaughlin, which hosted the tournament, fell short despite a promising start Thursday.
The Hurricanes (11-13) had been cruising behind starter Brian Holland for the first four innings. Ahead 3-1 going into the fifth, Holland began to tire and struggled immediately. Terrapins batters went 6-for-6 to start the inning and scored five to knock out the Hurricanes pitcher.
"When Brian's on, he's getting the ball down," Bishop McLaughlin coach Nick Rodriguez said. "Once he started getting the ball up, (Tampa Prep) started hitting line drives and scoring runs."
Senior leadoff hitter Matt George continued to be a key for Tampa Prep (15-12). After a strong semifinal performance at the plate, the Terps centerfielder went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. He went 4-for-8 with five runs scored for the tournament.
"We have a good group of senior leaders on this team," Tampa Prep coach A.J. Hendrix said. "We won quite a few games because of how we turned things around offensively. We were hitting .250 as a team early in the season and now our average is up to around .330."
Tampa Prep outscored opponents in the tournament 21-6. After starting the season 3-9, the district champs went 12-3 to end the season and will host a Class 2A region quarterfinal Tuesday.
3A-11: TC gets it done with offense
ST. PETERSBURG — Shane Rowland hit two home runs to lead an impressive offensive outburst from Tampa Catholic as the Crusaders defeated St. Petersburg Catholic 11-1.
The Crusaders scored six runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and invoked the 10-run rule when Eddie Fuentes' RBI double scored Cameron Alford.
"We were able to open up and swing the bats well this afternoon," Tampa Catholic coach Rich Arena said. "We have been real aggressive at the plate lately and it's been paying off."
Tampa Catholic jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning behind RBI hits from Rowland and Fuentes and increased the lead to 3-0 when Hank McCloud blasted an offering from Barons pitcher Tim McKay over the centerfield wall.
The Barons had a serious threat in the top of the third when Jake Foerster's double scored Connor Obrochta and left runners on second and third with one out. But Tampa Catholic pitcher Trent Stoker buckled down and struck out the next two batters to retire the side.
Corey Long, Times correspondent