In the first taste of international action for local teams this summer, Clearwater opened play in the Big League Baseball World Series in Easley, S.C., on Thursday.
Squaring off with Orwall National from Texas, the District 12 team continued its strong postseason, defeating Team Texas 8-7. The victory started Clearwater (8-1 overall, 1-0 tournament) on the right foot for the weeklong tournament.
It was a close call for Clearwater, which relinquished the lead twice before coming away with a dramatic victory in the bottom of the seventh on a solo home run from Brenden Overton.
The former Clearwater Central Catholic player and Saint Leo signee went 3-for-3, including a home run, double, two steals, three RBIs and three runs scored.
Led on the mound by former East Lake player and Chicago Cubs draftee Brad Deppermann (2⅓ innings, two strikeouts, one walk), Clearwater immediately jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Texas came back to tie it with five runs in the fifth, but Clearwater answered with two runs on former East Lake player Cameron Churchill's double in the bottom half.
Consisting mainly of CCC and East Lake players, Clearwater had a few outstanding hitters. Derek Gibree (CCC) went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a stolen base and Deppermann added a run-scoring triple.
Churchill picked up the win on the mound after blowing the save by giving up two runs in the seventh.
Clearwater will attempt to extend its postseason run on Saturday when the Pinellas team faces tournament host Easley, which defeated Orwall National 5-1 in its tournament opener on Wednesday.
CLEARWATER U-14 SOFTBALL: Clearwater's under-14 Lady Bombers won the Road to Orlando World Series title over 52 other teams in last week's tournament at the ESPN/Disney Wide World of Sports in Kissimmee.
Teams from 18 different states were unable to stop the Lady Bombers. Managed by Tom Sladden, Clearwater won the championship with a 4-0 shutout victory over the Madison (W.Va) Baseburners.
Clearwater (27-6, 16-0) began its journey through the large bracket on July 12. By the time the 13-player team held the championship trophy high, the group had scored 86 runs while allowing only seven.
ESPN and USSSA selected Clearwater's Jenna Wojnar as the tournament MVP and Natalie Zweig as the tournament's offensive MVP.