CLEARWATER — Clearwater Central Catholic scored early then survived a late scare to defeat Class 3A, District 10 rival Tampa Catholic 7-5 Wednesday.
The Crusaders scored in the top of the first inning on a first-and-third double steal, with Nick Perez sliding home.
But Tampa Catholic starter Nick Sucarichi was shaky, throwing 56 pitches through 2 1/3 innings, allowing five earned runs on four hits with five walks.
After back-to-back walks in the second inning, CCC's Steven Arrango and Eric Simone followed with RBI singles.
"We were opportunistic on offense, and we got the hits when we needed it," CCC coach Todd Vaughan said. "We had the opportunities to score more runs and we didn't do that, and that's something we need to improve on."
CCC (13-7, 4-2) widened its lead to 5-1 on Carter Cashman's three-run homer to leftfield.
"I was looking fastball and he threw me fastball, so I crushed it," Cashman said.
Tampa Catholic (8-10, 3-2) scored once in the fourth, but CCC's Jeff Campbell drove in two with a bases-loaded double in the bottom half of the inning.
Campbell was solid on the mound, going four innings and allowing three earned runs on six hits with only one walk.
"I don't like to walk people, and it's kind of Coach's thing where he doesn't like walks," Campbell said.
The Crusaders scored twice in the fifth and once more in the seventh. With two outs and the tying run at the plate, reliever Charlie Lamar struck out Gio Marrero to preserve the victory.