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Gaither routs Tampa Bay Tech for crown

If Gaither coach Frank Permuy had any doubts about his team's offensive capabilities, he doesn't now.

Using a 13-hit attack, seven of which came in the opening inning, host Gaither routed top-seeded Tampa Bay Tech 18-4 in five innings to capture the Class 6A, District 5 championship. Gaither (16-8), will host Bloomingdale Tuesday in the region quarterfinals while Tech (13-12) travels to face Bradenton Manatee.

"We got off to that start and just went from there," Permuy said. "We've beaten some good teams to get this far but this was something.

"We just kept getting guys on base and the hits just bred more hits."

The hit parade started three batters into the game when a double from Brad Wester knocked in the first Cowboy run. One batter later, a single knocked in two more runs and the pattern was set. By the time the Titans came to bat in the bottom of the first, Gaither had seven hits, eight runs and had sent 13 batters to the plate.

The Cowboys' onslaught continued as they scored in each inning, including the fourth when a single and two walks set up a grand slam by Mike Chevalier. A senior catcher, Chevalier's blast over the centerfield wall was his team-leading fifth home run of the year.

The Titans managed to score in the game's last three innings but mostly struggled on offense. Gaither pitcher Danny Giordano pitched all five innings while limiting Tech to five hits, three of which came in the Titans' last at bat. Giordano struck out five while improving to 9-3.

The Titans didn't help themselves when they did get on base, stranding seven runners throughout the game.

Gaither, meanwhile, enjoyed the surprising show of power, getting hits from 10 batters, including two each from Wester, rightfielder Tom Carrow, leftfielder Brian Fisher and Giordano.

"The kids really wanted this game," Permuy said. "They came out and showed a lot of emotion and played hard. That's what we have to do to win and I'm proud of them tonight."

6A-6: Bulls fall to Manatee

BRADENTON _ Bloomingdale gave up 15 runs in five innings against Bradenton Manatee, but Bulls coach K.B. Scull wasn't about to pin the blame on his pitching staff.

"This game had nothing to do with pitching," Scull said after his team's 15-5 loss. "That team was as good a hitting team as I've seen in 14 years."

Four Bloomingdale pitchers _ starter Justin Hancock, Christopher Heck, Brent Anzulewicz and Brandon Crossland _ learned that up close. The Hurricanes (20-8) racked up 13 hits on their way to closing out the game with a five-run fifth inning.

In the first couple innings, Bloomingdale gave Manatee hitters almost an equal amount of fits.

The Bulls (16-9) went up 5-4 in a three-run second inning, marked by run-scoring hits by Mike Gasparino and Travis Brown. Hurricane starter Ryan Cliburn was yanked with two out.

_ CHRIS ROTAR

5A-11: Durant pounds Hawks

SEFFNER _ From the start, Armwood coach Joey Fernandez could see it was going to be a long night. Fernandez started senior Nate Rogers in the title game against Durant, and after three batters, the skipper had seen enough.

Rogers issued a double and two walks before Fernandez pulled him in favor of Matt Moyer, but even that move could not stop the Durant onslaught. The Cougars pounded out 14 hits and benefitted from 13 walks on their way to a 16-6 drubbing of the Hawks and their first-ever district title.

Durant (18-9) scored four runs in the first inning on the strength of a three-run homer by Daniel Tosca. Armwood (15-10) battled back with two runs in its half of the first on homers by Moyer and Denny Summerall, and managed to pull within a 6-6 tie after two innings.

But the fourth inning typified the Armwood pitching, as Durant scored three runs on four walks, one error, two wild-pitches, a balk and a single.

From there, Durant reliever Garrett Oakes (2-1) shut out Armwood on four hits over the final 5 innings to earn the victory.

"Even with 16 runs on the board, (Oakes) was probably the difference tonight," Durant coach Gary Graham said. "He snuffed them out from the third inning on."

The Cougars sent five Armwood pitchers reeling with six extra base hits, including two home runs by Tosca, as well as a two-run homer by Ryan Raburn and a solo shot by Brian Snyder. Tosca finished 3-for-4 with five RBI.

"I've been a lot more aggressive at the plate and swinging ahead in the count," Tosca said. "It's a real confidence boost hitting behind Raburn. Pitchers know they have to pitch to both of us."

Durant hosts Sarasota in a region quarterfinal game Tuesday, while Armwood travels to Venice.

_ JOHN WING

3A-10: TC triumphs

MULBERRY _ Way out in Mulberry, Tampa Catholic took care of business _ as expected _ in the championship game.

Final score: TC 10, Frostproof 0 in a game that was never in doubt with pitcher Cory Doyne throwing smoke and TC's hitters smacking hits all over the park.

Doyne, a right-handed sophomore, struck out 11, allowed three hits and walked two in five innings, while Jarrod Lynch and John Carrero hit homers and Mike Machin went 3-for-4.

"I was worried about the mental frame of my team's minds because we had beaten Frostproof pretty bad earlier in the year," TC coach Chuck Yingling said. "I was worried we might take Frostproof too lightly. But we didn't. We came right out and got off to a good start."

The beating, which included 10 TC hits, was spread almost evenly over the innings: Two runs in the first, three in the second, one in the fourth, three in the fifth and one in the sixth.

TC, which has hit home runs in 12 of its last 14 games, will host Tuesday's regional quarterfinal at 4:30 p.m. against Berkeley Prep, which lost a nine-inning game to TC on Monday.

"We had a wild one with Berkeley the last time and I expect this one should also be good," Yingling said. "But hopefully this time it won't be so crazy."

_ SCOTT PURKS

2A-10: Tampa Prep wins

in a slugfest

TAMPA _ During the district final at Tampa Prep, the scoreboard was lighting up like a pinball machine. And when the game was over, Tampa Prep had made history.

The Terrapins secured their first-ever district baseball title, surviving a wild 16-14 slugfest with Northside Christan. Tampa Prep (17-8) hosts Fort Meade Tuesday in a regional quarterfinal game. Northside Christian (8-17) visits Lakeland Santa Fe.

"We made history today," said Tampa Prep coach Darren Muley, whose team had 22 hits. "Now, the fun begins. We need everybody, administrators, students, parents, to be on the same page and continue supporting us. It's time."

The game featured 32 hits (14 for extra bases) and lasted almost 3{ hours. Tampa Prep jumped out to a 10-0 lead after two innings, and led 13-3 before Northside struck for seven runs in the fourth.

The Mustangs added four more in the sixth to pull within 16-14 and had the game-tying runners aboard with one out, but reliever Nick Rodriguez, the Terrapins' fifth pitcher, doused the fire by striking out cleanup hitter Rob McNeal and getting Charlie Branham to fly to right to end the threat.

B.J. Quigley (8-2) picked up the win. The Terrapins were led by Ryan Devars, who had a two-run homer in an eight-run second and three total RBI, and Ryan Quigley and Adriel Fiallo, who also drove in three runs apiece. David Kellogg added four hits and scored three runs.

_ TODD TUBERGEN

A-9: Lancers clinch region berth

TAMPA _ Seminole Presbyterian coach Kevin Hickinbotham received a nice present for his 29th birthday _ the Lancers' first trip to the playoffs. The Lancers defeated Bayshore Christian 10-0 in semifinals and will face Lakeland McKeel Academy, a 1-0 winner over Winter Haven All-Saint's Academy, in today's championship game at Lakeland's Henley Field.

Brian Samilian was 3-for-3 with two RBI to lead Seminole Presbyterian (14-7), while Chris Phethean was 2-for-3. "We were a little rusty today, but we did what we needed to do," Hickinbotham said. "Today was a good moment for our program, but winning a district title would be even better."

_ SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

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