WESLEY CHAPEL — Wiregrass Ranch cleanup hitter Joel Marin came up twice with runners in scoring position and the score tied Thursday against Hernando. He was called out looking at strike three in the bottom of the fifth inning.
The second time, he ended the game in a pivotal Class 4A, District 8 matchup.
Marin lined a bases-loaded single to centerfield that scored Chris Kluender in the bottom of the seventh, lifting the host Bulls to a 6-5 win.
"It's what you should do when you're in the 4 hole," Wiregrass Ranch coach Jeff Swymer said. "He's clutch."
Marin's clutch hit came one pitch after he fouled a ball off his left foot. He hobbled around home plate for a few seconds before gingerly stepping back into the batter's box.
The district rivals were tied three times with Wiregrass Ranch (12-5, 6-4) snapping a tie at 4 with a run in the sixth and Hernando knotting it at 5 by scoring once in the seventh.
"Hernando can swing it, we can swing it," Swymer said. "We figured out our approach at the plate."
Trailing 5-4 in the seventh, Hernando (11-2, 8-2) got a leadoff triple from Ian Townsend, who scored on Brett Maggard's double. Reliever John Woll then worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam for the Bulls.
Hernando turned a 3-0 deficit into a one-run lead with four in the third, highlighted by Townsend's two-run single.
Wiregrass Ranch got a run in the fourth to tie the game at 4. Ryan Madden walked with two outs and Michael Barrone singled. Madden scored on an errant pick-off throw and Barrone went to second.