PUNTA GORDA — Osceola's exhilarating run through the Class 5A playoffs ended Friday.
This time, there was no breathtaking, last-gasp comeback. The Warriors rallied but went out quietly. The "bigger, deeper, stronger" warning they had overcome through the region tournament caught up with them as they fell 9-2 against a Punta Gorda Charlotte team than punctured too many holes for Osceola to plug.
"That's just baseball," Osceola's Winston Rivas said. "Things didn't go our way for some reason."
Rivas, who took the mound as the starter, induced nearly every Charlotte batter to ground out through two scoreless innings. Then in the third, he allowed two runs off two hits, and the Warriors fell behind 2-0.
Osceola (21-7) rallied in the top of the fourth, scoring twice to tie it. Taylor Layner led off with a walk, stole second then scored on a single by TJ Glessner, who later scored on a single by Craig Schafer.
"At that point, I felt good about our chances," Warriors coach Kevin Mullins said. "I thought we had gained the momentum."
And then it was lost.
The Tarpons scored four in the bottom of the fourth. It was a tough inning for Rivas, who walked one batter, hit another and was called for three balks.
"I can understand one balk, but three in one inning was a little much," Mullins said.
Osceola never got in a rhythm on offense, managing three hits, and Mullins was ejected in the fifth inning for arguing a call.
Charlotte added four runs in the sixth inning to put it away.
"It was a great season," Mullins said. "It's disappointing to end the season this way, but these guys have nothing to hang their head about."