ST. PETERSBURG — Pinellas Park struggled to score early in the Class 5A, District 12 championship game Friday night.
Fortunately for the Patriots, starting pitcher Justin Warren was busy making it appear that Largo left the bats on the bus.
Warren pitched seven shutout innings en route to a 4-0 victory over the Packers. He allowed one hit while striking out seven. Only four Largo batters reached base.
"I go out there and just take it one pitch at a time, one inning at a time," Warren said. "I couldn't ask for a better team. They did a very good job (Friday night)."
Warren's run support eventually materialized in the fourth inning.
Back-to-back hits with two outs by Cody Arnold and Andy Lockery put the first run on the scoreboard.
After tacking on a run in the fifth, the Patriots used the running game in the sixth to put the matchup further out of reach. The team stole three bases in the inning, scoring twice. Two swipes were by pinch-runner James Amlaw, who scored on a throwing error after stealing third.
"All the credit goes to the players," Pinellas Park coach Bill Ruttencutter said. "Justin threw a great game. We hustled. Hopefully we can keep playing hard. We'll see what happens."
Largo pitcher Brad Miller went six innings and allowed six hits and three earned runs while striking out three.
The Packers' only hit was by shortstop Robert Clark in the top of the fourth inning.