SEMINOLE — So this is what King was playing for last week: the right to face Tim Lamoureux.
Or Spencer Heirman.
Or Jordan Doyle.
Or Alex McGathey.
Or Joey Krehbiel.
Seminole (24-5) still believes in the old aphorism that good pitching beats good hitting. And with a premium on good arms, the Warhawks have stacked their deck with more aces than any other county team.
Seminole's abundance of pitching has the potential to give the Lions an abundance of trouble. The Warhawks have at least five pitchers they can turn to at any point in a game. Better still, Seminole's staff can stifle hitters by throwing from all sorts of angles, whether it's over the top, sidearm or submarine.
"They're tough to face," said Dunedin coach Tom Hilbert, whose team lost to the Warhawks 11-5 in last week's Class 5A region semifinal.
"They come at you in a lot of ways, and they have confidence in every guy. They're not afraid of going to anyone of them."
The victory against Dunedin was just the latest example of the Warhawks' ample arm strength. Heirman started and kept the Falcons' vaunted offense off-balance for much of the night. Heirman was eventually replaced by Lamoureux, who gave way to Doyle at the end.
Two weeks ago in the district semifinals, Lamoureux pitched a complete-game two-hit shutout in a duel with Clearwater ace Kraig Richmond, who entered with a 27-inning scoreless streak.
"We're known for our pitching," Lamoureux said after the Clearwater game. "We're pretty deep there and think we can do big things."
Heirman and Lamoureux, the two seniors, are the cornerstones of the staff. But Doyle, a sophomore, and McGathey, a freshman, have come through in clutch situations.
Krehbiel, a junior, has been dominant as a closer.
"We're really focused this season," said Krehbiel after the Dunedin game. "We think we can go all the way."
Lamoureux will get the start tonight. But with a week in between games, the Warhawks have rested arms they can rely on throughout the game.
"The depth of our pitching has really been key," Seminole coach Greg Olsen said. "We knew that was something that was going to keep us in every game. We do a lot of work on matchups and figuring out who we decide to go with."
As an added bonus, the offense is coming around at the right time, giving the staff plenty of run support. Last week against Dunedin, the Warhawks had 18 hits, including 10 in the first two innings.
"I really liked our approach at the plate," Olsen said. "It's encouraging and does a lot for the confidence of our pitchers. We grinded out a lot of at-bats; went up there and fouled off a lot of pitches and made the other team's pitchers work hard.
"Hopefully, we can continue to do that."
Bob Putnam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.