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Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014

Baseball playoff roundup: Danish, Durant down Wharton

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VALRICO At this point, it would be naïve to talk about the Durant High baseball team and not start the conversation with University of Florida commit Tyler Danish.

And Thursday in the Class 8A-District 7 final, Danish again came through for his team, launching his second home run in two games to get the Cougars’ scoring started as Durant topped Wharton 5-1 and captured the school’s first district title.

The win and the night belonged to Cougars lefty Chaz Fowler, who followed Danish’s shutout in the semifinals against Plant with a veteran performance, striking out nine and keeping Wharton off the board until yielding a single run on back-to-back doubles to start the seventh.

Spoiled on the night was the solid performance of Wharton starter Mike Gonzalez, allowing three runs (one earned) on four hits in five innings of work. Wharton got a leadoff double from Milton Figueroa in the seventh followed by a run scoring double from John Nieves.

7A-8: Brandon repeats as district champ RIVERVIEW Top-seeded Brandon defended its district crown with a 9-1 victory against Plant City.

Brandon broke the game open in the second inning with eight runs. The Eagles collected eight hits – including two singles each by Jacob Sugden and Drayden Williams — and benefited from two errors and a walk during the outburst.

Less opportunistic were the Raiders, who scored only once in each of their three losses to the Eagles this season. Plant City had runners in scoring position with less than two out four times Thursday and came up empty each time.

Brandon junior Ryan Anderson, a first-year pitcher, allowed only an unearned run in four innings before giving way to Antonio Velez.

Eric Hinostroza capped the scoring for the Eagles, leading off the fourth with a home run off Miguel Martinez.

7A-9: Steinbrenner blanks Wiregrass TAMPA One step at a time. That’s how the Steinbrenner baseball program has been taking it ever since its inception. The Warriors made it to the next step with a 4-0 win against Wiregrass Ranch in the district championship. It marked the first district title.

The Warriors were boosted by a complete-game shutout from Logan LaPace. LaPace struck out three and allowed four hits in the win.

Steinbrenner (22-2) scored twice in the first when Kevin Merrill and Cole Gordon scored on singles by Mijon Cummings and Chase Turner. Meanwhile LaPace kept Wiregrass Ranch (17-8) at bay until Garcia’s double broke the game open.

6A-10: Mitchell gets past Land O’ Lakes NEW PORT RICHEY Mitchell used a gutsy performance from its starting pitcher and got enough hitting to win the district title with a 6-3 win against Land O’Lakes.

Mitchell got two runs in the top of the first on RBI singles by Marcus Begg and P.J. DeJesus. They added two more in the second inning with RBI singles by Cobi Johnson and Blake Hart to take a 4-0 lead.

Land O’ Lakes would answer. After scoring a run in the bottom of the second on a bases-loaded walk, it would add two more in the third. Alex Reynolds hit a solo home run, and Zach Whitaker would follow that with a double. Four batters later, Conner Stephens drove home Whitaker with a two out single, and it was a 4-3 game.

But Mitchell’s Marcus Begg would hit a towering two-run homer to widen the cushion.

6A-11: Buckley, King rally past Leto TAMPA With King trailing by two runs in the bottom of the fourth, junior Kevin Buckley started a string of four straight hits, as the Lions came from behind to defeat Leto 9-3 in the district championship.

Buckley’s single was followed by hits from Bubby Terp, Sey Juan Lawrence and Donnell Taylor. Lawrence’s two-run grounder tied the game, and Taylor’s subsequent double gave King the lead. King totaled five runs in the inning to erase a 3-1 deficit.

Leto’s Rodney Jackson hit a triple in the game’s first at-bat, and then opened the scoring after being driven in by Jose Pupo.

However, Jackson was injured in the fourth inning after colliding with the back fence while attempting to catch a foul. He was taken off the field in a stretcher and taken to an area hospital.

King (22-3) extended its lead in the sixth when a double from Terp plated Buckley and Brett Morales. Terp finished with two doubles and a sacrifice fly.

5A-11: Jesuit overcomes Robinson RIVERVIEW Jesuit used strong pitching and a consistent offense to pull away from Robinson and win the district title with a 5-1 victory.

Robinson was able to tie it at 1 in the top of third thanks to a RBI double from Jacquari Mattox. Jesuit took the lead back in the bottom of the third after an RBI single from Ryan McCullers. The Tigers pulled away for good in the fourth when Leland Saile hit a two-run homer. Jesuit had base runners in every inning except the second and finished with 11 hits.

USF-commit Daniel Portales started the game on the mound for Jesuit. He went five innings and gave up just three hits and one run. UNC-commit Spencer Trayner came on in relief in the sixth and closed it out. The duo combined for nine strikeouts and only allowed one base runner after the third inning.

4A-9: Bosnic, Berkeley blank Tampa Catholic TAMPA Berkeley Prep junior Dante Bosnic stepped on the mound for the district final and said he, “felt great.”

Did he ever.

A little more than two hours later, Bosnic had completed one of the best games of his life, beating arch-rival Tampa Catholic (15-11) 6-0 while allowing three hits, striking out nine and walking none.

When it came to key plays, Bosnic pointed to the first inning and TC’s second hitter, who smacked a grounder back to Bosnic, who turned and threw to second to start a successful double play.

In the second inning, with Berkeley (13-14) leading 3-0, the Bucs made another significant statement when Anderson Baldy smacked a towering shot over the right field fence for a solo home run.

2A-8: Eicholtz keys Cambridge Christian TAMPA Cambridge Christian rolled to its fifth consecutive district title, 8-1, against third-seeded Bayshore Christian with a seven-run third inning and a near-perfect pitching performance by Nick Eicholtz.

Eicholtz used a fastball in the 85-to-90 mph range to strike out eight in four innings.

A total of 11 Lancers came to the plate in the third, taking advantage of two errors and a walk to load the bases before a two-run single by Zach Hessinger plated Ryan Block and Brandon Furr. Tyler House followed up with his first career home run, a two-run shot.

Bayshore Christian starter Jordan Martin allowed three hits and no earned runs in three innings.

3A-8: Tampa Prep, Brooks-DeBartolo win TAMPA Tampa Prep pitcher Sam Martin threw five inning and struck out three to help the host Terrapins defeat Carrollwood Day School 13-7 in the district semifinals.

With a 4-2 victory against Bishop McLaughlin earlier in the day, Brooks-DeBartolo will play Tampa Prep today for the championship.

Martin, a junior, wasn’t just instrumental on the mound for the Terps. He went 2-for-4 at the plate with two home runs and four RBIs.

Medina also had a day at the plate going 4 for 4 with two doubles, two RBIs and three runs scored.

In similar fashion Brooks-DeBartolo allowed the Hurricanes to load the bases in the seventh. Following a walk, an error and a bunt, Bishop had the bases loaded before Shane Jeffcoat got out of the jam with a double play and a groundout.

Jeffcoat finished with seven strikeouts.

Senior Brenden Rivera drove in three runs and had three doubles for the Phoenix. Dayvon Dozier had two extra base hits.

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