DUNEDIN — There were two games played at the same time Thursday at the 40th annual Dunedin Spring Invitational, and both ended with their own dramatic points.
On Field 4 of the Englebert Complex, Pinellas Park junior Justin Warren made his first start of the season against Palm Harbor University and no-hit the Hurricanes over five innings of the Patriots' 10-0 mercy-rule win.
Over on Field 2, St. Petersburg rallied from a 7-1 deficit to pull out an 8-7 victory in eight innings over St. Petersburg Catholic, as Mark Denny scored from third when a pickoff throw by Barons catcher Timothy McKay sailed into leftfield.
In Pinellas Park's win, Warren, inserted into the starter's role because the Patriots had used all their starters in the tournament, was brilliant on the mound and at the plate. Typically the starting catcher, Warren retired the side then smacked the first pitch he saw from PHU starter Robert Oestreicher over the leftfield fence.
"I've thrown out a few runners at second before in a game, but this is by far the best game I've ever had," said Warren, who had seven strikeouts in his third appearance of the year on the mound.
The Patriots (10-9) broke open the game in the second inning with four runs, highlighted by a two-run single by Richie Wisniewski, then added two runs in the fourth, highlighted by Cody Arnold's run-scoring triple.
"We've had plenty of close games over the past couple of weeks so it was nice to get our offense going and get a win in this tournament," Pinellas Park coach Bill Ruttencutter said.
Wisniewski finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs and one run for the Patriots.
In St. Petersburg's win, the Green Devils followed a four-run inning in the fifth with two runs in the seventh to come from behind to tie the game. Dylan Benedict had a run-scoring double to start the comeback in the fifth. St. Petersburg Catholic then fell victim to the windy elements in the seventh as two flyballs to the outfield got away from the Barons' outfielders.
After Clarence Wilson reached on an error, Brandon Moll smacked a line drive to rightfield that sailed to the fences. Moll raced all the way around the bases for an inside-the-park home run.
In the eighth, the Barons threatened to reclaim the lead when Zander Devlin tried to score from second with two outs on Justin Tedder's single to left, but St. Petersburg leftfielder Tyler Moll threw a strike to home to record the final out of the inning.
Denny had a leadoff single in the bottom half of the inning and advanced to second on a bunt single by Dakota McLean. The runners moved up on a sacrifice by Chris Davis. Following an intentional walk to Kyle Chavez, Denny scored during Benedict's at-bat.
"We have a young team and we needed a comeback win like that," St. Petersburg coach Danny Breece said. "This whole season has been tough for us and we just talked about not giving up. Finally, hopefully, we've turned that corner."