SEMINOLE — Scott Withrow is a freshman for one of the best baseball programs in the bay area, so when he gets his chances to shine he tries to make the most of them.
Take Friday night, for example.
Pinch-hitting in a blowout, Withrow looked at one pitch and then hit the only other one he saw for a long home run, the first of his high school career to propel Seminole to a 14-6 win over Orlando First Academy in the Steve Georgiadis Memorial Tournament semifinals.
The Warhawks (13-3) averted a spring break disaster — a potential all-Orlando finale in their own tournament — by taking out the Royals and setting up tonight's championship against Orlando Dr. Phillips, an 8-2 winner over Lakewood in the other semifinal.
Alex McGathey's two-run single in the second inning and a third inning in which the Warhawks sent 11 to the plate set the stage for Withrow, who came in to hit for Brett Phillips with Seminole leading 8-1 in the fourth inning.
After looking at a curveball in the dirt, Withrow — who said he has had about 15 at-bats this season — was sitting on a fastball and got it. Though it was his first prep homer, hitting the long ball is nothing new for Withrow. As a 12-year-old, he hit 22 homers in one Little League season. Last year, he hit five during Pony ball season.
"I was just thinking, 'Drive it somewhere in the outfield,' " he said.
And once it left his bat?
"I said, 'That's gone.' "
Withrow's three-run homer made it 11-1, and the Warhawks had to get only three more outs in the fifth to seal a 10-run rule victory.
But the Royals, coached by former Northside Christian coach Darrell Don, strung together six straight hits in the inning, scoring five runs to keep the game going.
The Warhawks took advantage of the extra innings, scoring a few more times and capping their offensive outburst with a Joey Krehbiel homer that probably landed a few feet farther than Withrow's blast. They finished with 10 hits and drew 10 walks, and five of their runs were scored by players who drew free passes.
Tyler Griffith, who put down the Royals' offensive uprising in the fifth by striking out leadoff hitter Cam Lawrence with two runners on, retired the last seven hitters for the Warhawks.