Desperate times require desperate measures. Just ask Hudson coach Jays Collins.
His unconventional thinking, attempting a double steal with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, paid huge dividends.
Hudson's Dave Gariepy, who was aboard on a leadoff double in the eighth, broke for third on a Tim Bergman (2-2) 0-1 pitch to Brett Steen. But Zephyrhills catcher Brett Cimorelli's throw nicked off third baseman Dean Cavall's glove, allowing Gariepy to race home, icing a 6-5 win over the host Bulldogs at John F. Clemons Field.
The semifinal win allows the No. 1-seeded Cobras (14-12) to reach their first district title game since 1987 (an 8-5 loss to Zephyrhills) and spoiled the No. 5-seeded Bulldogs' rally from a 5-0 deficit.
The Cobras, who snapped Zephyrhills' six-game winning streak, will meet Pasco (13-11), which eliminated Central (15-14) 7-4 in the opener.
While the Cobras are seeking their first district title in 23 years, the Pirates are looking for their first since 1984.
In the opener, with a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the fifth, Pasco junior Adam Durden reached on the Bears' fourth error of the game, a two-out throwing miscue by Kevin Welch. Pasco's Bobby Fatzinger, John Kutsch, Amir Madani, and Alex Cruz (who finished 4-for-4) followed with consecutive singles off Rejean Savard (6-6) for the win.
"Instead of concentrating on lifting my average," Fatzinger said, "I was just trying to get the run in to score. If we didn't get it done today, there was no tomorrow."
In the nightcap, Collins added, "A lot of things went our way tonight. We wanted to make something happen in that spot, and sure enough, they cracked."
Bulldog coach Bruce Cimorelli dejectedly added, "We were caught a little bit sleepy. But I can't fault the kids, we battled all night and came up a little bit short."