BROOKSVILLE — It became obvious within a couple of innings that Thursday night would be a face-off between pitchers. One had three strikeouts by the end of the second, and the other had four.
Then Central's batters started hitting in the third, and the game changed.
The Bears routed Springstead, 4-0, to reach tonight's championship game in the Pasco-Hernando Classic. Central faces Pasco on the Bears' home field.
"We're executing out there, playing a good game," Central coach Al Sorrentino said. "This is the way our defense is supposed to look."
Central returns many players from last season, in which the Bears set a school record in fielding percentage.
Bears left-hander Trevor McKenna wound up with six strikeouts and just two hits against, allowing one walk.
Springstead left-hander Noah Siem pitched the first three innings with a game-high six strikeouts and three walks. Right-handed reliever Will Pagan had a strikeout and allowed two hits and a walk.
When several lights went out in the middle of the fourth, the game stalled for more than half an hour. Sorrentino worried about McKenna. He threw a few pitches to stay warmed up, but Sorrentino said he tries to keep the pitch count down.
The Bears' offensive breakout came in the third inning. Zach Sorrentino galvanized his teammates when he stole third, then ran on a catcher error to reach home plate.
Thomas Sorrentino drove CJ Martinez and Matt Clark home shortly after. Scott Dwyer hit a single that allowed Thomas Sorrentino to score the game's final run.
Wiregrass Ranch won the first game Central hosted Thursday. The Bulls defeated Bishop McLaughlin, 8-4.