SPRING HILL — After a one-year absence, Bishop McLaughlin is headed back to the region playoffs. The berth comes after the Hurricanes defeated Carrollwood Day 5-3 Tuesday night in the Class 3A, District 7 semifinals.
The Patriots (13-10) seemed to have things under control after jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first. Bryce Benedict, who singled, and Colin Campbell, who reached on a walk, scored when a wild pitch got by Bishop McLaughlin catcher Dillon Morton, then a throwing error got by starting pitcher Carson Ragsdale.
"It was a tough game for (Ragsdale), but he'll bounce back in his next start," Bishop McLaughlin coach Jeff Swymer said. "Frankie (German) did a great job, and (Will) Potosky was very good, too."
Ragsdale (two earned runs, two strikeouts) struggled with control for the Hurricanes (16-7), walking six and throwing three wild pitches over his three innings of work before being pulled for reliever German.
"It was intense," German said. "We all just really wanted to get back to playoffs, and that was our goal all along."
In the bottom of the third, the Bishop McLaughlin offense finally got to Benedict (3-5), the Carrollwood starter on the mound. Four consecutive hits to start the frame, including two doubles, tied the score. The go-ahead fourth run scored when Paul Coumoulos knocked in R.J. Perciavalle on a routine ground out.
That would be all German and Potosky, who got his third save with one inning in relief, needed. Over the next four innings, neither surrendered a hit with only one walk and two strikeouts. German (3-2) picked up the victory.
In the nightcap, Tampa Prep bested Seffner Christian 10-0 in six innings to advance to the district title game Thursday.
"Sam Martin was great on the mound," Terrapins coach A.J. Hendrix said. "Hopefully, we can keep it up on Thursday against Bishop McLaughlin."
Martin tossed a complete-game, one-hit shutout to dominate the Crusaders (12-12). The Terrapins (17-9) overwhelmed from the start, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first and added another four runs in the third.
8A-8: 'Home' field suits Green Devils
ST. PETERSBURG — When given the choice of playing Tuesday's Class 8A, District 8 semifinal against Palm Harbor University at either Gibbs or spacious Huggins-Stengel Field, St. Petersburg players unanimously chose the latter.
It was clearly a good decision. The Green Devils know how to play at Huggins-Stengel.
Using small ball on the large field, St. Petersburg stole home for one run and had a fielder's-choice ground out for another. That proved to be enough in a 2-0 win over the Hurricanes.
The Green Devils (17-8) advance to Thursday's district final against Sarasota Riverview. The win also guarantees a region playoff game next week.
Left-hander David Sockol scattered five hits and did not allow a PHU runner to reach third base. PHU's Brian Auerbach also pitched well, but was done in by the runs in the first and fouth innings.
In the first inning, Richie Rivera led off with a walk. He reached second on a passed ball and got to third on a one-out sacrifice. With two outs, Rivera took off from third base and slid head first for the game's first run.
"I told Coach (Travis Phelps) that I'm going to go for it," Rivera said. "The pitcher had a slow wind-up and I knew I could make it. I've done it twice before this season. I got a good jump and made it."
That gave Sockol some much needed confidence.
"When something like that happens it gives everyone some extra energy," Sockol said. "Now I knew I had one run to play with. We've got a little cushion."
St. Petersburg scratched another run across in the fourth inning.
Aaron Haughton led off with a double to right-centerfield. Keegan Galloway pinch ran for Haughton and he scored the second run on an infield ground out by Dylan Mlotkowski. From there, Sockol pitched to contact and allowed his defense to make plays.
4A-6: Locals KO'ed
A day after picking up its first district win of the season, beating Ridgewood 13-9, Hudson didn't have the same magic in the semifinals against the top seed. Ocala Trinity Catholic shut out the Cobras 12-0 in five innings at Ridgewood.
2A-7: AATL ousted
Cambridge Christian beat Academy at the Lakes 14-2 in its district semifinal, earning the right to play Bayshore Christian for the district title Thursday.
Sophomore catcher Devin Lopez led the Lancers, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs, two doubles and two runs scored. Six of nine Cambridge Christian starters recorded at least one hit, and the Lancers combined for seven.
Bayshore Christian and Cambridge Christian split when the teams met in the regular season, with the Faith Warriors taking the first game 10-5 and the Lancers winning the second, 8-7.
2A-8: Lions reach playoffs for first time
ST. PETERSBURG — Lakeside Christian earned its first region tournament berth with a 6-2 semifinal win over Keswick Christian at Canterbury.
Both teams scored in the first inning, but Lakeside (14-8) got two runs in the fourth and one in the fifth to take a 4-1 lead. Keswick (8-10) cut the lead to 4-2 with a run in the top of the sixth, but the Lions broke the game open in the bottom of the inning.
Lakeside Christian loaded the bases with two outs. Bryan Lopez then doubled home two runs to make it 6-2. Noah Brunk got the final three outs to earn the save. Christian Michener pitched the first five innings to earn the win.
"We don't hit the ball too well so we usually have to rely on pitching and defense to get us through," Lakeside Christian coach James Coffman said. "We got the key hits today, and Christian and Noah pitched well."
Lakeside Christian faces top seed Canterbury on Thursday at 6 p.m. for the district championship.
Staff writers Rodney Page and Kelly Parsons contributed to this report.