It is baseball's timeless truism. Dominant pitching wins. An honest-to-goodness ace can make even a small lead seem insurmountable. And having arms aplenty can vault a team to a title. ¶ Most of the contenders at the county's three spring tournaments have strong rotations and go in confident that the formula will still work. ¶ A look at a few of the staffs:
JoJo Hess has started the tough games and came through with a two-hitter against Shorecrest this week. The Mustangs use Robbie Williams and Kevin Burkett as well.
The Packers are stocked with Tony Floyd, Jordan Wellander and Spencer Ashworth.
The Warriors use Taylor Laynor, Mike Boriboun, Winston Rivas and Jared Blydenburg.
Dunedin Spring Invitational at Englebert
County contenders: Dunedin, Clearwater Central Catholic, Canterbury, St. Petersburg
Schedule: Saturday — River Ridge vs. Tarpon Springs, 5; St. Petersburg vs. Pinellas Park, 8; Palm Harbor U.
vs. CCC, 8; Monday — East Lake vs. Canterbury, 5; loser's bracket game, 5; Lakeland Christian vs. Tates Creek, 5; Northeast vs. TBA, 8; Countryside vs. Florida Chr., 8; Tuesday-Thursday — games at 5 and 8;
April 4 (at Englebert) — consolation game, 5; April 4 (at Dunedin Stadium) — final, 7:30
The Falcons have two frontline, college-bound starters in Max Kreuter (Tampa) and Clay Kollenbaum (Jacksonville). And they have more arms, including plenty who are left-handed, than any team in the tournament. That makes them one of the favorites.
Clearwater central Cath.
The Marauders have a bona fide ace in Ryan Weber, the Times'
all-county and all-Suncoast pitcher of the year last season. And they have Zach Olsen, Joe McLemore and Trevor Campbell.
The Crusaders have a strong rotation with Brandon Hamilton, Joey Cuda, John Lancaster and James Gray.
Steve Georgiadis Tournament at Seminole
County contenders: Seminole, Shorecrest, Boca Ciega
Schedule: Monday — Northport vs. Paintsville, 4; Bradenton Pendelton vs. Braden River, 7; Tuesday — Berkeley Prep vs. Boca Ciega, 4; Seminole vs. Shorecrest, 7; Wednesday-April 4 — games at 4 and 7;
April 5 — consolation game, 4; final, 7
The Warhawks are loaded with Patrick Eckelbarger, Craig Smith and Nash Reling the top three starters. Tim Lamoureux is one of the county's best closers.
The Chargers can count on Robby Thigpen, Jeff Reynolds and Chris Kinter to give them quality starts.
The Pirates don't have the same type of numbers, but they have a solid 1-2 punch with Travis Aipel and Brad McAllister.
County contenders: Northside Christian, Largo, Osceola
Schedule: Saturday — Dixie Hollins vs. Northside Christian, 10 a.m.; Lakewood vs. St Petersburg Catholic, 1; Sarasota Cardinal Mooney vs. Largo, 4; Gibbs vs. Osceola, 7; Monday-Wednesday — games at 4 and 7; Thursday: consolation, 4; final, 7