ST. PETERSBURG — There was an air of inevitability to the Pinellas County Athletic Conference baseball championship game Friday.
For the third time in the past five seasons, Dunedin and St. Petersburg met in the final.
The result was familiar, too.
The Falcons won their fifth straight conference title with a 12-2 victory over the host Green Devils. It was the fifth time Dunedin beat St. Petersburg in the title game in Tom Hilbert's 13 seasons as Falcons coach.
"St. Petersburg is a great team, and they've been playing really good baseball lately," Hilbert said. "We just happened to have a good day at the plate."
The Falcons were expected to be here. They had just three losses entering Friday's game and had wrapped up the PCAC north division weeks ago. The Green Devils scrambled to get here, winning their past eight games, including an upset of Osceola this week that clinched the south.
But whatever momentum St. Petersburg had was lost in the first two innings against Dunedin. The Falcons got off to a hot start in the first inning, scoring three runs thanks to an inside-the-park home run by Casey Turgeon.
"It's a big field here," Turgeon said. "I hit the ball down the line and the fielder slipped. I wasn't expecting a home run, but I just kept running and running."
In the second inning, Dunedin (21-3) added to its lead, scoring four more to go up 7-0.
The Green Devils (16-9) managed six hits and scored their two runs in the third inning. But they couldn't get any closer, leaving six men on base.
The Falcons continued to click on offense with a run each in the third and fourth innings, then sealing the rout with three runs in the sixth.
Jordan Savinon went 4-for-4 and Mike Clarkson was 3-for-4 to lead Dunedin. In all, the Falcons had 14 hits with eight of nine players recording at least one.
"For whatever reason we've been able to get off to a fast start and put up some big numbers early in games," said Hilbert, who won his ninth conference title in 13 seasons. "It helps because it changes the tempo of the game."
The Falcons have scored more than 10 runs in each of their past five games and have big wins over Osceola and Sarasota in the past week.
"Everything is starting to come together for us," Turgeon said.
Bob Putnam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org