SEMINOLE — Already handcuffed with three of its top players injured and another away in Alabama, Seminole's 11-12 baseball team found itself in a two-run hole against Hudson in its opening section tournament game at Cross Bayou Little League on Friday night.
Through four innings, Seminole's offense was stuck in neutral, managing just two hits.
When things appeared bleekest, however, Seminole pulled through.
With two outs in the fifth inning, Seminole rallied for three runs, then held off Hudson for a 3-2 victory.
"You've got to win that first game if you want to have a chance," Seminole manager Keith Robinson said. "This was an important victory."
After its first two batters in the fifth inning grounded out, Seminole put two runners aboard. Joseph Pergolizzi followed with a double to right-centerfield that scored both runners to tie the game 2-2. Stephen Pedrick's RBI single two batters later brought in the winning run.
Hudson responded in the sixth inning, loading the bases with two outs. A sharp liner that in all likelihood would have won the game for Hudson, however, was snared on one-hop by Seminole second baseman Max Stodart, who threw to first for the final out.
Pedrick, who came on in relief in the third inning, was credited with the victory. He struck out five batters and didn't surrender a hit in 22/3 innings. Zak Kazakos was brought in for the final batter and earned the save.
Citrus Park 6, East Lake 0: Six second-inning runs were all Citrus Park needed in a shutout victory over East Lake.
Daniel Martin's two-run single put Citrus Park ahead 4-0. Kevin Merrell followed with an RBI single, and Michael McGuire doubled later in the inning to cap the scoring.
Seminole 6, West Hernando 4: Chris Berry was credited with the victory after pitching Seminole to an opening-round victory over West Hernando.
Jacob Silverstein, Jacob McFadden and Berry all hit home runs.
West Pasco 11, Tampa Bay 4: Excellent team defense and timely hitting helped West Pasco open the sectional tournament with a victory.
West Pasco pitchers Tyler Hawks, Elliott Desvernes and Blaize Grabowski combined to hold Tampa Bay's offense in check.
Palm Harbor 8, Keystone 1: Matt Freburg, Mike VanAmburg and Ryan Allen combined to surrender just one run as Palm Harbor took care of Keystone in its opening section tournament game.
James Petika hit a two-run home run in the first inning to ignite Palm Harbor's offense.
West Hernando beat Pinellas Park National 6-0 in another opener.