Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Sports

Region baseball: Bosnic, Berkeley Prep shut out Lakeland McKeel

TAMPA — When Berkeley Prep senior Dante Bosnic reflects on his prep career, he is certain to replay the fifth inning from Thursday night's 7-0 victory against Lakeland McKeel in the Class 4A region quarterfinals.

Nine pitches, three strikeouts.

It was the apex of a standout performance from the Buccaneers' right-hander.

Bosnic combined with Casey Keller on a two-hit shutout, and Berkeley Prep (16-12) parlayed five infield errors by McKeel (11-17) into five unearned runs to advance to Tuesday's matchup against Tampa Catholic.

"This late in the year — the whole year for that matter — you have to take advantage of other teams' mistakes," Berkeley Prep coach Justin Houston said. "We were able to do that (Thursday).

Berkeley Prep got the only run it needed in the first on an error by the McKeel shortstop. The Bucs broke the game open with a four-run third, ignited by a Bosnic triple. Anthony Pellegrino followed with an RBI single, and the other runs scored on the McKeel second baseman's error.

But the night belonged to Bosnic (6-3), a Brown commit who pitched the first five innings. After allowing back-to-back singles with one out in the first, Bosnic retired his final 14 batters. He threw only 47 pitches, 37 for strikes. Of the 17 batters he faced, Bosnic threw 14 first-pitch strikes, including ones to the final 11 Wildcats he faced.

His final inning was the talk of the dugout.

"We were laughing about that," Bosnic said. "That is the first time I've ever done that."

More 4A: Joseph Burruezo had an RBI double in the third inning to break the region quarterfinal between Tampa Catholic and Avon Park wide open, and the Crusaders cruised to a 5-1 win.

Tampa Catholic (17-9) scored a run in the first inning before plating two in each of the third and fourth frames. Meanwhile, Crusaders' left-hander AJ Chacon struck out eight in six innings, giving up just one earned run on a solo homer in the fifth inning.

Class 2A: In the season opener, Bayshore Christian dropped a 4-2 decision to Lakeside Christian. The Faith Warriors have come a long way since.

Bayshore Christian held a 6-3 lead late in a rematch, then broke open the game with six runs in the sixth inning for a 12-4 victory at Interbay Little League.

"We're definitely a different team than we were the first game of the season," first-year coach Corey Thomas said. "No doubt about that, we've gotten better."

The win is the first playoff victory for the baseball program.

Bayshore Christian right-hander Evan Holland threw a complete game and struck out seven batters. After giving up a two-run home run to Christian Michener in the third inning that gave the Lions (14-10) a 2-1 lead, Holland settled into a groove, giving up only two more runs the rest of the way.

"(The home run) didn't faze me," Holland said. "I left it up, and he's their best hitter. …After that I was fine."

Trailing 3-1 in the fourth, Bayshore Christian (11-4) grabbed the lead for good with five runs, all coming with two outs. Michener, Lakeside's starter, walked the bases loaded, and Jordan Martin came through with a two RBI single. Another run came home when the Lakeside catcher couldn't find the ball on a play at the plate.

Evan Courtney doubled off reliever Noah Brunk to plate a fifth run, and Conner Brown, who made several spectacular plays at shortstop, laced a run-scoring single for a 6-3 Bayshore lead.

Holland struck out the side in the fifth and worked a 1-2-3 sixth.

More 2A: Cambridge Christian and host Canterbury each scored a run in the first inning. But for the next four, neither team could make a move. Eager to finally put the game away, the Lancers scored two runs in the six and four more in the seventh to beat the Crusaders 7-1.

Tyler House, who owns a .462 batting average, came up big for the Lancers (14-7), going 1-for-3 with a double, two RBIs and three runs scored. Ryan Block picked up the win on the mound, striking out five and giving up just three hits in six innings.

Times staff writer Kelly Parsons and correspondent Bryan Burns contributed to this report.

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