ST. PETERSBURG —"In every sport, there's always one team that always has that voodoo or that aura over you," Tampa Catholic coach Vernon Tatum said Friday after his team's region semifinal.
For Tampa Catholic, that team is St. Petersburg Catholic.
Tampa Catholic had four cracks at SPC this season, and four times the Crusaders left the field disappointed.
Friday with a berth in the region final on the line, the Crusaders squandered an early 1-0 lead in a 2-1 defeat.
The Barons (25-3) are the only team to defeat Tampa Catholic (16-4) this season. Three of the losses, including two playoff matchups, were decided by one run.
"We got really familiar with their lineup, so I kind of knew what to throw," Barons pitcher Chloe Saganowich said. "And our defense knows that they have to make every play or they'll take advantage of it."
Tampa Catholic scored first, bringing its only run across the plate in the first inning. Kathryn Spack led off by reaching safely on an error. She stole second and scored when Christina Piazza singled her home.
In the fourth, Tampa Catholic had runners on the corners with one out after Raven Sepulveda doubled and Tory Bohanan blooped a single into shallow rightfield. Saganowich, though, got Megan Nelson to pop out and Christina Martinez to strike out.