Don't rile up Jose Flores.
The Springstead senior looks the part as a linebacker on the football team and as a 215-pound wrestler, but as a baseball player, sometimes his uniform doesn't quite fit.
Unflattering double-knits barely cover the intensity that simmers beneath, and Flores unleashed some of it on Central on Tuesday night, hitting a two-run home run and pitching a complete game five-hitter for his first win of the season as Springstead rolled 10-6.
Flores is self-motivated, but used what he perceived as constant disrespect from the Central bench to heighten his intensity.
"I don't like that team; they talk too much," Flores said. "They have big mouths. If I did something good, they'd yell, "Don't let his head get as big as his body.' Hey, I'm a big guy. Let them talk. I came here and gave it my all."
Springstead rallied behind Flores for its third win in 14 games and its second against Hernando County teams. The Eagles beat Hernando 3-1 on March 6.
"The team was pumped," Flores said. "If we could take this approach in all our games it would be great."
Springstead coach Tracy Clark said he did not think his team was "disrespected," but played off the rivalry he knew was there.
"There's some animosity, and they feel that way just because they live so close to each other," he said. "I told the guys, "This is your game. Go out and play.' "
Springstead broke the game open with a four-run third to take a 5-1 lead, then used Central's six errors to maintain its margin.
The offensively limited Bears (6-8) allowed five unearned runs to ruin any chances they and starter Thomas Lobianco had of staying in the game.
"It's frustrating," Central coach Gary Buel said. "For me and the coaches. Because we're not executing at the plate, we're putting a lot of pressure on the pitching and the defense."
Flores, Mike O'Halloran and Kert Senft all had two hits for Springstead.