SEMINOLE — Seminole sent a message to anybody who might have doubted the Warhawks' legitimacy as the top-ranked Class 5A team in the latest state poll released Tuesday.
All nine batters in the Seminole lineup had at least one hit — they strung together 13 in all — as the Warhawks pounded Shorecrest 15-1 in a five-inning game at the 21st annual Steve Georgiadis Holiday Tournament. The host school advances to Thursday's semifinal against North Port.
"I think we have a solid one through nine (batting lineup)," coach Greg Olsen said. "This year it's been a different guy stepping up every night. It just so happened that tonight we put a complete offensive game together."
Seminole (18-0), one of three unbeaten teams in the state, led 6-1 before exploding for nine runs in the fourth. The Warhawks took advantage of five hits, three walks and three Shorecrest (10-7) errors while sending 14 batters to the plate in the inning.
"It gives me so much confidence going out there knowing that my hitters are going to put up a bunch of runs," said Seminole starting pitcher Patrick Eckelbarger (5-0), who threw four complete innings and gave up a single run on two hits with five strikeouts.
The Warhawks, who found out about their lofty ranking before the game, are No. 1 for the first time since the 2001 national championship team.
"We've got to keep that in perspective," Olsen said. "It doesn't really mean much come district tournament time. We still have a lot of season left. We don't really pay attention to that too much."
Berkeley Prep 4, Boca Ciega 3, 8 innings
Grant Sittig's walkoff single against a drawn-in infield gave the Buccaneers a victory over Boca Ciega (8-7). Berkeley Prep will play Pendleton in a semifinal Thursday.
With the score tied at 3, Berkeley (7-11) led off the eighth with a walk, and the runner moved to second on a passed ball. A base hit to leftfield put runners at the corners with one out, and Sittig delivered with the winning hit.