SEMINOLE — The last time Seminole faced Clearwater, the Warhawks were admittedly unabashed about the talent they possessed after outscoring opponents 38-11 in five consecutive wins to start the season.
But that cockiness quickly waned as Clearwater senior Kasey Coffin tossed a gem and held the Warhawks to two runs in the Tornadoes' 3-2 win. Seminole then lost to Dunedin in its next game and the shine had dimmed on a stellar start to the season.
"It was definitely a learning experience," Seminole coach Greg Olsen said.
The scenario was eerily similar on Tuesday as the Warhawks entered the rematch against the Tornadoes with four straight wins in which they had a 27-5 run advantage.
The Warhawks, though, demonstrated how much they had learned in a relatively easy 5-0 victory in which they scored two runs in the fourth inning, two in the fifth and one in the fifth, all against their nemesis, Coffin.
"We had our minds on Dunedin (in the previous meeting) and we weren't about to let that happen again," said Alex McGathey, who surrendered two hits over seven scoreless innings. "We got a little ahead of ourselves the last time and we've grown because of it.
"We understand the importance of taking care of the task at hand game in and game out. Now we can move on to Dunedin."
Seminole (10-3, 5-2) faces Dunedin (12-1, 5-1) in a huge road district game Friday.
The Warhawks hit Coffin hard early in Tuesday's meeting but couldn't break through until Scottie Withrow broke the scoreless deadlock in the fourth inning with a homer. Barrett Pluskat added an RBI single later in the inning, but enough damage had been done for McGathey, who allowed just one runner to reach second base.
Withrow, who entered the game in a slump, came up with a run-scoring single in the fifth inning and came around to score later in the frame to put Seminole up 5-0.
"Sometimes all you need is one good hit to get things going for you," Withrow said. "It felt good to knock one out, and I think it's the type of confidence boost I needed."