SEMINOLE — It's hard to believe Osceola can play much better. But according to the Warriors, a key piece is missing.
Surprisingly, that piece is hitting.
Despite recording a relatively easy 7-1 victory over Lakewood on Tuesday, junior Taylor Layner spoke of "getting the bats going." This comes after the Warriors have scored five runs or more in eight of 11 games since their last lost, a 10-0 defeat to Clearwater Central Catholic a little more than a month ago.
"We're still waiting for our bats to come together," said Layner, who improved to 6-0 as a pitcher but went 0-for-4 from the plate. "We have the pitching and defense, but we've got to have better at-bats in run situations.
"Once our bats come around, we're going to be really good."
The antithesis of Osceola's timely hitting came in the first and third innings. After failing to score in the first with bases loaded and one out, the Warriors (16-2) batted around in the third against Lakewood starter Jimmy Lynch, scoring six runs highlighted by a three-run double from Adam Lewis.
"If you put that many runs on the board for Taylor, I feel real good with him on the mound," Osceola coach Kevin Mullins said. "I told the guys that pitching and defense wins games.
"But if we put it all together with our bats, then we could have a better shot than the last (year in which Osceola lost in the region semifinals)."
The Warriors wrapped up the top seed in 4A-10 with one district game remaining. With a win over Bayshore on Friday, Osceola will finish 6-0 in the district and one step closer to its ultimate goal.
"We believe we can make it to the final four," Layner said. "We just need the bats to wake up."
A potent Warriors offense to go along with pitching and defense is a scary thought.