CLEARWATER — Clearwater Central Catholic lived up to its No. 1 ranking in Class 3A, defeating Tampa Catholic 5-0 on Friday night.
Though the Mauraders had the top seed in District 11 sewn up, CCC coach Todd Vaughan went with top pitcher Ryan Weber.
"He's our ace, and he gave me what I was looking for," Vaughan said. "He made all the pitches when he needed them."
Weber pitched all seven innings, giving up three hits and two walks while striking out 10.
"All of my pitches were working, and I could throw them in any count," Weber said. "My defense played well and allowed me not to have to try to strike everyone out."
The Marauders (13-1) only had four hits but used four Crusaders errors to aid their offensive output.
"If we make four plays, we are right in this game," Crusaders coach Rich Arena said. "We only gave up one earned run tonight."
CCC scored its first run in the first inning without getting a hit. Jimmy Dowdell reached on an error and, after two wild pitches, scored on a groundout by Sam Mende. The Marauders scored another run in the third inning with only one hit. Dowdell again reached on an error and moved to second on a sacrifice. Joe McLemore singled to left to bring Dowdell home.
The Crusaders' (8-3) only chance came in the fourth when they got runners on second and third, but Weber got a strikeout to end the threat.
CCC added two runs in the fifth to put the game away. Matt Mirelli walked and after an intentional walk to Mende, McLemore hit a single to left to score Mirelli. Mende scored later in the inning on a bad pickoff throw.