ST. PETERSBURG — What looked like a blowout victory for Shorecrest after six innings in Friday's Class 2A region semifinal quickly became a roller-coaster ride.
The Chargers led 8-0 in the top of the seventh when starter Marc Brakeman gave way to Tyler Larson. Fourteen batters, two home runs and eight scores later, Northside Christian had roared back to tie.
But a calm, collected Chargers lineup rebounded by loading the bases with no outs, bringing sophomore Andrew Roy to the plate. He lined a base hit over the heads of a drawn-in Mustangs infield, driving in his third run in two innings and leading his team to victory 9-8.
"It was a tough inning," Roy said. "We knew they were going to start hitting the ball, and they just turned it on in the last inning. We kept in close so we could win in the last half."
Seniors Robbie Williams and Kyle Turner led the Mustangs' late-game rally, connecting on back-to-back home runs and driving in five in the inning.
"Probably 'what if,' " said Mustangs coach Raul Hernandez of his team's reaction to the loss. "If we come out in the seventh and get three up, three down …you can point out the fact that they just hit the ball and we didn't. But obviously when you mount a comeback like that …and lose it in the end, it's heartbreaking."
Brakeman returned with two outs in the inning. Mixing speeds and throwing his curveball, Brakeman pitched out of a bases-loaded jam.
"Marc was tired, and his pitch count was up there. …We went back to him and fortunately he got us out of the inning," coach Don Reed said.