WEEKI WACHEE — Miguel Martinez wasn’t tired Wednesday night. But he confessed that he was a bit nervous in a seventh-inning bases-loaded showdown.
But after sneaking an inside strike past Wiregrass Ranch leadoff hitter Austin Drury, the Springstead sophomore took a little off the next offering and floated one past the swinging Bull for the final out, giving the Eagles a 3-2 win in the Pasco-Hernando Classic quarterfinals.
Martinez allowed four hits going into the seventh inning but allowed his fifth and walked three, including Rich Piazza with the bases loaded, to bring Drury to the plate, and coach Jim Diven to the mound.
His teammates, though, sent Diven back to the dugout with assurances they had the sophomore pitcher’s back, and Martinez rewarded their confidence with his fifth strikeout to give the Eagles (7-5) a fifth consecutive win.
“The bottom line is the guy pitched a heck of a ballgame,” Diven said. “He’s responsible for this win tonight.”
He did have some help against the Bulls (8-2), it just took awhile to arrive. Through four innings, Drury allowed no hits and struck out seven before being relieved by his brother, Zach. The Eagles scored an unearned run in the fifth on Danny Schonborn’s single to tie it, and in the sixth Eagles shortstop Will Pagan muscled a full-count fastball into rightfield to score two more runs.
“I definitely was thinking that at-bat was do-or-die,” said Pagan, who also walked twice. “I thought, this might be our last chance. Thank God I came through.”
With a win over the tournament favorites, the Eagles, who only had three hits but scored two runners who had reached on walks, advanced to the semifinals tonight, where they will face Central at 7 p.m..
In a loser’s bracket game, Weeki Wachee scored three runs on wild pitches and another on a bases-loaded walk, all in the seventh inning, to beat Zephyrhills 8-6 for the Hornets’ first victory after an 0-12 start.