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Sharks prevent another collapse

With a late-game meltdown against Springstead still fresh in its mind, Nature Coast had a nauseating case of deja vu as it watched Central whittle a six-run deficit down to two in the bottom of the seventh inning Tuesday night.

"I was just thinking, "Not again,' " said catcher Ryan Erbe, whose Sharks blew a six-run lead in a loss to Springstead on Friday night.

This time though, Nature Coast held on for an 8-6 victory. And Erbe, who had crucial hits in both of the Sharks' big innings, was a big factor.

In the second inning, the junior catcher knocked an RBI single up the middle of the field that gave Nature Coast a 1-0 lead and jump-started a five-run inning.

Third baseman Joe Silvestri had a two-run single in the inning, and Kenny Treverton and Mike Dudek added RBIs.

In the fourth, Erbe hit a two-run single that gave the Sharks an 8-0 lead.

"The last three games, he's been hot," Nature Coast coach Dan Garofano said.

Erbe said he started the season 0-for-9, but is 5-for-10 in his past three games. The junior didn't play much last year as a backup.

"I caught the pitchers between innings," Erbe said. "That's about it."

He isn't the only one who has turned his game around.

Nature Coast pitcher Tom Bosworth was on the mound on Friday night during the Sharks' late-game implosion against Springstead. He picked up the loss and saw his confidence shaken.

Against Central though, he pitched five innings, allowing one run on two hits and striking out seven.

"It was tough," Bosworth said. "The first inning was big. Confidence is probably the biggest factor with pitching."

Nature Coast, which improved to 3-3, tested its confidence in the seventh, as Central scored four runs with two outs to pull to within two runs. With the tying run at the plate, Nature Coast reliever Travis Murray struck out Cody Ball to end the game.

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