VALRICO - Things are never easy for the Brandon baseball team when it faces rival Bloomingdale, and they certainly weren't Friday night. But the visiting Eagles walked off the field with a crucial Class 5A-District 8 victory thanks to a seventh-inning defensive gaffe by the Bulls.
James Ramsay scored what proved to be the winning run in a 4-3 Eagles victory when a fly ball to right was dropped with one out and the bases loaded in the seventh. The win helped Brandon (10-6) secure the No. 2 seed in the upcoming district tournament
"You could say fortunate," Brandon coach Matt Stallbaumer said of the win. "I wouldn't have been surprised, the way that game was going, if it would have ended up in their favor. We had numerous situations where it looked like we were ready to blow this thing open, and we couldn't."
Most of the reason the Eagles couldn't break things open was because Bloomingdale starter Zach Payne continually found a way to get out of trouble. In fact, Payne, who struck out nine, had just worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth to keep the score tied.
But the Eagles caught the break they needed in the following inning, when Spencer Haynes' lazy fly ball was misplayed, allowing Ramsay to score easily from third. The error proved critical, as Frank Ambrosino entered in relief and induced a ground ball from the next hitter, which would have ended the inning.
Rodrick Shoulders gave the Eagles an early 1-0 lead in the first with an RBI single, and, after Bloomingdale's Dusty Phelps tied the game with a solo home run in the second, Shoulders put the Eagles on top 2-1 in the third with a solo homer to right.
Bloomingdale (8-6) took a 3-2 lead in the fourth when two runs scored on an error, but Ramsay knotted the game at 3 in the fifth with an RBI single before scoring the winner in the seventh after he reached with leadoff single.
Brandon freshman Chase Sparkman allowed just one hit in 2
scoreless innings of relief to pick up the win.
PERFECT GAME: Cambridge Christian sophomore Matt Fishman tossed a perfect game Friday in a 20-0, mercy-rule shortened, five-inning Lancers victory over Citrus Park Christian.
Fishman finished with seven strikeouts.