TAMPA — When Berkeley Prep senior Dante Bosnic reflects on his prep career, he is certain to replay the fifth inning from Thursday night’s 7-0 victory against Lakeland McKeel in the Class 4A region quarterfinals.
Nine pitches, three strikeouts.
It was the apex of a standout performance from the Buccaneers’ right-hander.
Bosnic combined with Casey Keller on a two-hit shutout, and Berkeley Prep (16-12) parlayed five infield errors by McKeel (11-17) into five unearned runs to advance to Tuesday’s matchup against Tampa Catholic.
“This late in the year — the whole year for that matter — you have to take advantage of other teams’ mistakes,” Berkeley Prep coach Justin Houston said. “We were able to do that (Thursday).
Berkeley Prep got the only run it needed in the first on an error by the McKeel shortstop. The Bucs broke the game open with a four-run third, ignited by a Bosnic triple. Anthony Pellegrino followed with an RBI single, and the other runs scored on the McKeel second baseman’s error.
But the night belonged to Bosnic (6-3), a Brown commit who pitched the first five innings. After allowing back-to-back singles with one out in the first, Bosnic retired his final 14 batters. He threw only 47 pitches, 37 for strikes. Of the 17 batters he faced, Bosnic threw 14 first-pitch strikes, including ones to the final 11 Wildcats he faced.
“I was hitting my spots, and I really pounded the inside with the fastball,” Bosnic said. “Once I pounded the inside and brushed them off the plate a little, I could work in with off-speed.”
His final inning was the talk of the dugout.
“We were laughing about that,” Bosnic said. “That is the first time I’ve ever done that.”
Said Houston: “Dante has had not just a great year for us, but a great career. He’s such a great leader.”
More 4A: Joseph Burruezo had an RBI double in the third inning to break the region quarterfinal between Tampa Catholic and Avon Park wide open, and the Crusaders cruised to a 5-1 win.
Tampa Catholic scored a run in the first inning before plating two in each of the third and fourth frames. Meanwhile, Crusaders’ left-hander AJ Chacon struck out eight in six innings, giving up just one earned run on a solo homer in the fifth inning.
The Crusaders (17-9) face Berkeley Prep in the region semifinal, the fourth time this season the two will square off.
“We’ve met the last couple years at this point, so we’re very used to each other’s style of play. I think it will be a very emotional game,” Tampa Catholic coach Ty Griffin said. “We’ll see if they can pull off the big one.”