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Region baseball: Extra-inning thriller for Bosnic, Berkeley Prep

TAMPA — It was supposed to happen exactly how it did.

Berkeley Prep hadn't used the play yet this season, coach Justin Houston said. But trailing Tampa Catholic by a run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning of Tuesday's Class 4A region semifinal, it was now or never.

With Dante Bosnic on third and Nick Kavouklis on second, Kavouklis took a walking lead toward second, attempting to distract A.J. Chacon on the mound. It worked.

As Chacon swiveled around to pick off Kavouklis, it gave Bosnic just enough time to take off for the tying score. "I had a free line to home," Bosnic said.

Bosnic's big night wasn't over, though, as the Brown signee hit a walk-off single in the 11th inning to deliver the 5-4 win to the Bucs.

"He's our horse. He's our leader and our captain," Houston said. "He's the guy we've leaned on all year."

Berkeley batted around in the first inning, scoring on a bases-loaded hit by pitch and back-to-back RBI singles from Casey Keller and Spencer Myers.

With Bosnic on the mound for the first 6 1/3 innings, the Berkeley Prep defense held the Crusaders to just a single run, scored on a sac bunt, through five.

But in the sixth, Tampa Catholic finally began stringing hits together, and the Crusaders scored on a fielder's choice and a Berkeley Prep throwing error before plating the go-ahead run on a Jordan Santos RBI single.

Bosnic, who, along with Danny Brackman went 3-for-6, executed the game-saving play to keep his Bucs (17-12) alive in the seventh. But for the next three-and-a-half frames, neither team could make a move.

Chacon, who pitched the final 6 2/3 innings for the Crusaders (17-10), didn't allow a single hit in the eighth, ninth or 10th innings, striking out three in the process. But in the 11th, Gordon Stetson had a leadoff single — the Bucs' ninth hit of the game — and Brackman followed with one of his own.

Then Bosnic stepped up and saved his team once more.

The senior's hit to leftfield brought Stetson home, ending a game that, for a while, didn't seem to have an end in sight. The Bucs advance to their second region final in three years, where it will look for its first state semifinal berth since 2000.

After the game, Bosnic acknowledged he had a good night. But, his mind on what's to come, Bosnic was quick to shrug it off.

"It was huge," he said. "But we're not done yet."

2A: Walkoff for the win

TAMPA — Bayshore Christian first baseman Jordan Martin stood in the on deck circle, his team trailing Cambridge Christian 5-3 with one out in the seventh inning of a Class 2A, Region 2 semifinal at Interbay Little League, as he hoped for one more chance at bat.

After watching Evan Courtney walk with the bases loaded to trim the deficit to one run, Martin got his moment.

With two strikes and facing Cambridge reliever Henry Mesa, the Lancers' third pitcher of the game, Martin knocked a fastball to the gap in left centerfield to score two runs and send Bayshore to the region final with a dramatic 6-5 walkoff win.

"My dad always said, 'Sit on a fastball, adjust to the curveball,' " Martin said. "So, I was sitting on a fastball thinking about taking it the other way with two strikes, and it worked out."

Bayshore (14-4) entered the seventh trailing 5-3 and struggling against reliever Ryan Block, who retired the Faith Warriors in order in the fifth and struck out the side in the sixth. Thomas Lake reached after a hard-hit grounder to first base wasn't handled to lead off the inning, and Johnathan Gonzalez walked — sandwiched around a strikeout — to chase Block. Evan Holland, who pitched seven innings, walked to load the bases. Courtney's walk then set up Martin's winner.

"(Martin's) one of the headiest guys on the team," Bayshore coach Corey Thomas said. "He doesn't let a lot rattle him."

Cambridge (14-8) surrendered three runs in the first, but after scoring a run in the second and another in the third, the Lancers took a 5-3 lead in the sixth on a RBI double by Devin Lopez followed by a two-run double from Tyler House.

Martin and Conner Brown had RBI singles for Bayshore in the first, and Martin beat a throw home on a fielder's choice for a 3-0 advantage.

3A: Revenge for Terps

SHADY HILLS — Bishop McLaughlin played its 3A region semifinal against a team it had beaten in the district final, Tampa Prep.

But Tuesday, the Terrapins took advantage of Hurricane miscues, leading to an 8-3 win.

Watson Ransom, who pitched for the Terrapins (19-10) in the district final, started the region semifinal as well.

"Considering that they beat us in the district final, this was a big win," Ransom said. "I thought that I pitched well in that game, but the defense wasn't as good as it has been."

This time Bishop McLaughlin's pitching was the difference early. Carson Ragsdale (5-5) walked five batters and threw 54 pitches in only 12/3 innings before being pulled for Bishop McLaughlin (18-8). He surrendered four runs in the second inning, all unearned.

Ransom (7-3), a senior staked to a 4-0 lead, threw 108 pitches in a complete-game win, giving up one earned run, striking out four and walking only one.

Matt Hodges (2-for-2, two runs, two RBIs, two walks) was the leader at the plate for Tampa Prep. His two-out two-run single in the second is what opened things up.

Times correspondents Bryan Burns and Derek J. Lariviere contributed to this report.

Region baseball: Extra-inning thriller for Bosnic, Berkeley Prep 05/06/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 6, 2014 11:52pm]

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