In two previous meetings against St. Petersburg, Seminole took the lead against the Green Devils only to blow both games late. Wednesday night's Class 7A, District 10 semifinal looked like it would follow the same script.
Seminole took an early two-run lead, then gave the lead back in the sixth inning. But this time, the Warhawks scored three sixth-inning runs and held on in the seventh to win 5-2.
The Warhawks (20-6) will play Countryside for the district championship.
"It was exactly what I envisioned," Seminole coach Jeff Pincus said. "When we let those early opportunities slip away, I knew that would hurt. St. Petersburg is such a well-coached team. They play the game well."
Seminole scored one run each in the first and second innings. Scott Withrow doubled in Corey Baptist in the first, and Alex McGathey got an RBI single in the second.
That was enough for Warhawks starter Nick Nolan through five innings. He held St. Petersburg hitless for the first three innings and only one hit through five. But the sixth inning was a different story.
After one out, Nolan walked David Phrathep and Sam Goodis. Leadoff hitter Connor Labrie then singled in Phrathep to make it 2-1. An Ian Smith single up the middle scored Goodis and tied the score.
Nolan got Jake Ferguson to strike out for the second out and Aaron Haughton to fly out to first to end the inning.
"When it was 2-2 and Jake up we were just thinking that we needed to get the two outs and then go win it," Baptist said. "We didn't want to go through this again. Luckily we did it."
Tylor Craft led off the sixth with a fly out to center. But Cody Miller bunted, and a throwing error to first by pitcher Adrian Comas allowed Miller to go to second. Stephen Nobles then hit a grounder to Labrie at short, but he was unable to field it and Miller came around from second to make it 3-2.
With the bases loaded, Baptist greeted reliever David Sockol with a single to right-center that scored two runs to end the game.
"My first two swings I got a little big because I was trying to hit a grand slam," Baptist said. "I just shortened up with two strikes and tried to get a run in."
In the other semifinal, Countryside had only three hits off starter Brandon Grigsby but it was enough to beat Pinellas Park 2-0. Christian Townsend had a two-run single in the fifth inning that proved to be the difference. Cougars starter Jake Mielock scattered six hits and got out of a first-inning bases-loaded jam to earn the win.
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6A-12: Rebels hang on
LARGO - In the seventh inning, Dixie Hollins watched in disbelief as Largo scored two runs off errors to send Wednesday's Class 6A, District 12 semifinal into extra innings.
So it was gratifying for the Rebels to find the wherewithal to bounce back, scoring off an error in the eighth inning and holding on in a 5-4 victory.
Dixie Hollins (10-13) advances to Friday's championship game against Osceola.
"It was frustrating to let a lead slip away like that," Rebels coach Joshua Jackson said. "But a win is a win. We'll definitely take it."
Through five innings, starter John Hollis (11 strikeouts) was mowing down batters with ease. And the offense did just enough with Nick Stanney hitting a two-run triple and Devin Reyes smacking a home run to help Dixie Hollins build a 4-0 lead.
Then it started to slip away.
In the sixth inning the Packers' Tyler Short hit a two-run homer. In the seventh, Largo took advantage of two errors to score twice and tie.
But it didn't take long for the Rebels to regain the lead. Reyes started things off by reaching on an error. He advanced to third on a bunt single by Austin Busch and scored off an error for the winning run. It was Reyes' third run of the game.
Still, Dixie Hollins had to sweat it out. In the bottom of the eighth, Largo loaded the bases with two outs. The final out came when a runner was thrown out trying to advance to third.
OSCEOLA 4, LAKEWOOD RANCH 0: The Warriors scored four runs in the fifth, which is all starter Keith Weisenberg needed. Weisenberg scattered six hits, all singles, and struck out 11. The win not only extended the Warriors' region playoff streak to five straight seasons, but it was coach Stefan Futch's 250th of his career.
"What a good game to get it," said Futch, who coached 12 seasons at St. Petersburg prior to joining Osceola three years ago.