SEMINOLE — For six innings Monday, Berkeley Prep matched Osceola run for run in first-round action at the 22nd annual Steve Georgiadis Holiday Tournament hosted by Seminole High.
Then, the floodgates opened in the seventh, and Osceola turned a nail-biter into a runaway.
Osceola won 12-3 to advance to Thursday's semifinal against today's Boca Ciega/Pendleton winner, but the game was a lot closer than the score would indicate.
Tied at 3 going into the seventh, Osceola (14-1) loaded the bases. With one out, Craig Schafer laid down a perfect squeeze bunt to score Taylor Layner with the winning run.
"(Schafer) missed the first one," Layner said. "But he didn't miss the second one. That was big."
Danny Sarine followed with a suicide squeeze that fell between diving Berkeley Prep players to make it 5-3
Josh Townsend singled home two more before Layner laced a triple to deep centerfield with the bases loaded to put the Warriors ahead 10-3.
"It took us a while to get started, but in the seventh we finally came through and started hitting the baseball," Layner said. "We should have hit earlier, but all that matters is the final score."
Berkeley Prep (7-7) opened a 2-0 lead in the third inning after Speros Theofilos lifted a two-RBI double to the gap in left-centerfield. Osceola tied the game in the top of the fourth thanks to two Buccaneers errors and an RBI groundout from Scott Schlapinski.
Destin Nichols regained the lead for the Buccaneers with an RBI double in the bottom half of the inning. Osceola again answered right away after Townsend led off the fifth with a triple and scored on Adam Lewis' run-scoring single.
"We have battled back from some deficits this year," Osceola coach Kevin Mullins said. "The kids have not given up and that's a big asset for us."
Tyler Brown (2-0) pitched three innings of shutout relief for Osceola to earn the victory. He struck out six.
Clearwater defeats North Port by forfeit
Clearwater was awarded a forfeit win after North Port failed to show for its opening game.
The Tornadoes will face the Seminole/Northside Christian winner in the tournament semifinal at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Pendleton vs. Boca Ciega, 4 p.m.
Northside Christian vs. Seminole, 7 p.m.