SARASOTA — Dunedin has been controlled on occasion — for a few minutes, maybe a couple of innings.
Then things seem to explode.
Baseballs start finding their way into the gaps and out of the yard. The offense becomes unhinged — No. 1 hitter, No. 9 hitter, it doesn't matter.
Suddenly, the frenzy is on and every at-bat seemingly produces a score. It's like an adding machine gone wild and a tight game becomes a blowout.
It happened again in Wednesday's Class 5A state semifinals against Brandon.
The Falcons were down 2-0 after the first inning. A half-inning later, they were up 6-2. The runs kept coming as Dunedin won 16-3 to advance to the state championship game against Stuart South Fork at 7 tonight.
Dunedin (24-6) is playing in the state final for the first time in 11 seasons and for its first state title since 1964.
"(A state title) is what we've all been talking about since we were freshmen," senior pitcher Max Kreuter said. "It's amazing to be this close."
In the bottom of the first, the Eagles (25-7) scored twice off two errors.
It didn't faze the Falcons.
"We're used to playing in big yards and we're capable of putting up big numbers," Dunedin coach Tom Hilbert said.
The Falcons did in the second inning. Kreuter hit a three-run homer and Jake Rogers added a two-run shot. In all, the Falcons batted around and scored six runs.
"We needed something to get us started after falling behind," Rogers said. "We knew we could score some runs.
"But we didn't think we would put that many runs in the second and beat them by more than 10 runs."
The big lead helped Kreuter settle down on the mound. After allowing three runs — none earned — and three hits the first two innings, Kreuter allowed three hits in four scoreless innings the rest of the night.
"It gave me a lot of confidence to work with that kind of lead," said Kreuter, who improved to 13-0 on the season.
Dunedin scored two runs each in the fifth and sixth innings and added six more in the seventh. Clay Kollenbaum came up big with a two-run homer in the sixth and a three-run double in the seventh.
"That six runs we scored in the second was the difference," Kollenbaum said. "It's what led to the final score. Without that lead, it might have been a different ballgame."
Bob Putnam can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4169.