BROOKSVILLE — On the brink of the 100-pitch mark and a complete game, Central senior left-hander Ryan Garrity entered the bottom of the seventh inning Thursday at Hernando on 25 minutes' rest.
It was to no avail. During his nearly half-hour of inactivity, Garrity's arm got a bit cold, even as his teammates' bats kept smoldering.
The Bears (6-5), suddenly one of the North Suncoast's most prolific offensive teams, collected five of their 16 hits in an eight-run seventh that capped a 16-4 embarrassment of the Leopards (3-7).
Perhaps the most astounding image of that half-inning, more than Central batting around or the Leopards kicking it around (three errors in the seventh), was the sight of Garrity throwing to the side — between his two at-bats during the inning — in an effort to stay loose.
"(His arm) was probably cold," said coach Mike Ellison, whose club has won six of its past seven, "and it got sore from that."
No matter on this night. While Garrity (61/3 innings, five hits, 10 strikeouts, three walks) just missed going the distance, he and the rest of the Bears hitters enjoyed about as complete of a game as an offense can.
Picking up where they left off from Tuesday's 14-1 rout of Wesley Chapel, eight of Central's nine batters got at least one hit.
"They're making contact," Ellison said. "The pitchers are keeping us close and the bats have come alive. I can't say enough about our pitchers."
Or the hitters. Leadoff man Mike Ogren (3-for-5, three RBIs, three runs) hit a two-run homer and came a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. Designated hitter Kevin Gibbemeyer and leftfielder Ryan Beaton each collected three singles and a pair of RBIs.
"The guys hit when they needed to hit," said Garrity, who struck out the side in the first. "The key thing was hitting behind the runner. That's what we practice every day."