LARGO — Northeast and Osceola continued steamrolling toward a potential matchup in the championship game of the Osceola Spring Invitational with blowout wins.
Only a pair of out-of-town teams stand in the way of a replay of their game two weeks ago, when Taylor Layner struck out 17 in a complete-game 8-1 Osceola victory.
On Tuesday, Osceola recorded its second mercy-rule victory of the tournament in two tries by blasting Paintsville, Ky., 13-3 in five innings.
Through two games, the Warriors (13-2) have 30 hits and have scored 27 runs.
"We're finally starting to hit the ball," coach Kevin Mullins said. "We've been winning by our pitching. … It seems now like we're coming along. I'm happy with the way we're swinging the bat."
Osceola scored in all five innings against Paintsville. Scott Schlapinski got the Warriors on the scoreboard in the first inning with a two-RBI single, and Mike Boriboun's bloop single in the second gave Osceola a 3-0 lead. The Warriors pushed their advantage to 6-0 in the third inning, Brock Jensen singling home a run and Evan Hock doubling home another.
Paintsville cut the lead with three runs in the fourth against starter David Chapman (2-0), but the Warriors continued distancing themselves. Layner, Schlapinski, Jensen and Tyler Brown laced consecutive RBI hits in the fifth to end the contest early.
Layner, Schlapinski and Jensen all went 3-for-4 .
Earlier, Northeast had eight extra-base hits and 13 hits total in a 13-1, five-inning victory over Dixie Hollins.
The Vikings (12-3) opened a 2-0 advantage on Shawn Delmontagne's two-run home run to right-centerfield in the first inning.
Phil Woods extended Northeast's lead in the second inning with a two-RBI double. In the third, Colin Shumake had a run-scoring single and Noel Thomas doubled home a run for a 7-0 lead.
"We've worked hard on shortening our swing down and getting out of the big home run swing," Northeast coach Rob Stanifer said. "We're taking some better swings and have a better approach."
Woods went 3-for-4 with two doubles. Delmontagne was 2-for-2.
Northeast starter Donald Grimm threw five complete innings and allowed just one run — that coming on Jody Odom's RBI double in the fourth — on six hits to earn the victory.
Matt Harris was 2-for-2 with a double in a losing effort for Dixie Hollins (4-10).
Battlefield (va.) 9, Clearwater 3: Scheduled Clearwater starting pitcher Kraig Richmond was a late scratch due to a tightening back. In a pinch, Tyler O'Brien went five full innings and filled in admirably but wasn't able to stop the Tornadoes' losing skid, which now stands at seven games.
Clearwater (5-9) took a 3-2 lead in the third inning on a two-RBI double by O'Brien down the rightfield line and Clay Gilman's sacrifice fly.
Battlefield (5-2) answered with a run in the fourth and went ahead for good with four more in the fifth.
Battlefield is 2-0 and remains alive for a spot in the final; Clearwater is 0-2.
Tates Creek (ky.) 7, Lakeland Tenoroc 3: Behind two doubles from Travis Murray, Tates Creek improved to 2-0 in the tournament and can advance to Thursday's championship with a win today.