Clearwater jumped to a quick lead Tuesday night, scoring four runs in the first inning and holding onto that lead throughout the contest, defeating Tarpon Springs 6-3.
With Clearwater up 1-0 in the top of the first inning, Jabe Molinaro blasted the ball to right-centerfield for a two-run triple. He later scored to put the Tornadoes (8-3, 2-2) up 4-0.
Tyler O'Brien was spectacular, extending his season record to 3-1 by throwing 130 pitches, striking out seven and allowing three runs in a complete game.
"Defense did a nice job and (O'Brien) pitched a great game," Clearwater coach Ken Clawson said. "We knew we were going to be in a fight. Dunedin and Seminole are certainly strong, but you can't look past Tarpon."
Tarpon Springs (4-5, 1-3) struggled to advance runners and couldn't find that timely hit, leaving seven men in scoring position — which O'Brien had a hand in.
With the Spongers down 5-2 with runners on second and third, rightfielder Shane Ludlow hit a bomb to leftfield, but it was caught by Brett Gilman for the final out of the fourth inning.
"Every time we had guys on second or third with two outs we couldn't get a hit, and they did," Tarpon coach Dickie Hart said. "They put the ball in play and we didn't."
Tarpon scored once more in the fifth on an RBI double by Caleb Koulianos. O'Brien made quick work of it in the seventh, striking out the final batter for the win.
"I wasn't on top of my game today, but I still got it done," O'Brien said. "I felt like I had better stuff than they did. I shut them down when I needed to."