TAMPA — Tampa Catholic coach Vernon Tatum arrived at his ballpark Tuesday sporting a fresh mohawk. He left five innings later scratching it.
Flustered by his offense's futility, flummoxed by his pitcher's ineffectiveness and frustrated by an obstruction call that got him tossed, Tatum watched from afar as the Crusaders' season ended with a 7-0 loss to Mulberry (18-6) in a Class 3A region quarterfinal.
On a cloudless day when the wind blew out toward the banks of the Hillsborough River, the Panthers collected 13 hits, including five doubles, off ace Tory Bohanan. TC (17-6), by contrast, managed only five hits off left-handed finesse pitcher Lindsey Nolan.
"They didn't make the adjustments that they needed to make to hit that type of pitching," said Tatum, tossed for arguing the call near third base that scored Mulberry's fifth run.
Eight of the Panthers' nine batters had at least one hit, led by No. 7 hitter Cassie Drinkard (3-for-4, two doubles, two RBIs) and cleanup batter Erica Morrissey (2-for-4, two doubles, two runs). The winning RBIs were produced by No. 9 hitter Alexis Mackey, who stroked a two-out double down the leftfield line in the second to score two runs.
"Tory was off her game today, she didn't do very well," Tatum said. "But take nothing away from (the Panthers), they're a good hitting team."