ST. PETERSBURG — There is always an optimistic feeling in Clearwater Central Catholic's dugout during big games. The Marauders do not share any specific words or special handshakes if they are trailing.
But CCC players share the belief that the beginning of a comeback is one pitch away.
The surge may start with a single, a home run or an error. The pieces of the rally differ, but the belief never wavers.
On Friday, the Marauders once again displayed resilience in the middle and late innings of a district game. They rallied from a two-run deficit to beat rival St. Petersburg Catholic 4-2 to stay in the hunt for the top seed in Class 3A, District 10.
It is the second time in three district games CCC has come back to win.
"We're taking advantage of the few opportunities that have been given to us," Marauders coach Todd Vaughan said.
Early on, the Barons were in control. They had at least two runners reach base in each of the first three innings and were ahead 1-0. SPC (7-5) added to its lead in the fourth inning when Corey Baptist hit a home run to make it 2-0.
Held hitless through four innings, CCC (6-1) started to rebound. The Marauders scored once in the fifth, then tied it on a homer by James Petika.
In the seventh inning, CCC loaded the bases for Petika, who hit a deep fly ball to drive in what would be the winning run. The Marauders added another for insurance.
"I was just sitting on a first-pitch fastball on the home run," Petika said. "We needed someone to step up at that point and was lucky enough to be that guy. That's how it's been all season. We've had guys come through at the right time."
Bob Putnam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.