DUNEDIN — Through six innings Friday, Clearwater Central Catholic had the momentum and the lead against one of its fiercest rivals.
Then it all came apart.
Tampa Catholic rallied with four runs in the top of the seventh to win 7-4 in the championship game of the Dunedin Spring Invitational.
It is the third time the Crusaders have beaten the Marauders this season.
"We always seem to find a way to win," Tampa Catholic coach Rich Arena said. "The guys just kept plugging away."
CCC was a depleted bunch entering the game. The Marauders lost Cody Slaughter earlier this season to a torn ACL and were playing without leadoff hitter James Dowdell, who has a strained tendon in his right foot.
Still, CCC, the defending tournament champion, made it a game. Trailing 3-0, the Marauders scored once in the second inning and twice in the third to tie the game.
Then CCC went ahead 4-3 when Jeff Campbell singled and scored on an error.
In the top of the seventh, Tampa Catholic's Brandon Mendoza doubled and Hank McCloud and J.D. Diaz each walked to load the bases. Dominic Millan followed with a two-run single. Two more runs scored on a throwing error.
The Crusaders' Trent Stoker preserved the lead by striking out the side in the bottom of the seventh.
"I can't ask for anything from my team," CCC coach Todd Vaughan said. "We're starting to move up the ladder. We've just got to find a way to come through in a tight ball game."
Tarpon Springs 2, River Ridge 1 (11 inn.): The Spongers had four pitchers — Alex Young, Tommy Organ, Brett Foster and Junior Robinson — combine on a no-hitter in 11 innings.
Foster pitched the last five innings for the win. Robinson had two hits, including the game-winning single.
Countryside 5, Dunedin 3: The Cougars beat the host Falcons by rallying with four runs in the sixth inning. Andrew Brodbeck's two-run double was the winning hit.
The final two games of the Shorecrest Rally Tournament were postponed until today. Gibbs and Largo will play each other at 11 a.m., and host Shorecrest takes on Lakewood at 1.
At the Georgiadis tournament in Seminole, Boca Ciega had only six players so it forfeited its consolation game against Northside Christian. Clearwater plays Pendleton in the championship tonight at 7.
All tournament team
Tournament MVP — Brandon Mendoza (Tampa Catholic); Hitting award — Spencer Wilson (Countryside); Pitching award — Justin Warren (Pinellas Park); Pitchers — Alex Young (Tarpon Springs), Justin Tedder (St. Petersburg Catholic), Tim McKay (St. Petersburg Catholic), Justin Warren (Pinellas Park), Zach Olson (Clearwater Central Catholic); Catchers — Shane Rowland (Tampa Catholic), Todd Haskel (Dunedin); Infielders — Stephen Tsagaris (Countryside), Spencer Wilson (Countryside), Casey Turgeon (Dunedin), Alex Norris (Dunedin), Preston Packrall (Clearwater Central Catholic), Brandon Mendoza (Tampa Catholic); Outfielders — Matt Sheets (River Ridge), Junior Robinson (Tarpon Springs), Hank McCloud (Tampa Catholic), James Dowdell (Clearwater Central Catholic), J.D. Diaz (Tampa Catholic); Utility — Chris Frey (Countryside), Patrick Camporini (Clearwater Central Catholic), Andrew Brodbeck (Countryside)