TAMPA — It is a rarity for Bloomingdale High ace Logan Crouse to be running the bases on a day when he is pitching. With high school rules allowing for a runner for the pitcher or catcher when they get on base, most of the time Bulls coach Kris Wilken said he opts to let Crouse focus on the next inning if he reaches first offensively.
However, Tuesday in a scoreless seventh inning of the Class 8A-District 7 baseball semifinal against Alonso, Wilken said he knew Crouse was the right player for the job.
The move paid off after Crouse walked with one out, moved to second on a hit batter and then scored on a throwing error to give Bloomingdale a 1-0 win against Alonso (18-7).
“Typically, when he is pitching I’ll send a courtesy runner in for him,” Wilken said. “But that was a situation where I felt if anyone was going to create an opportunity for us, I like my chances with Logan.”
Crouse, a junior, worked a complete game by striking out eight and allowing just two Ravens hits. He outdueled Alonso ace Alex Faedo, who took the loss, allowing one unearned run on two hits with seven strikeouts.
“It was a great matchup, and we knew it would be a pitching duel,” Crouse said. “We all knew whoever scores that one run was probably going to win, so we came in here battling and came out on top.”
Bloomingdale (17-8) will face top seed Plant in Thursday’s final as the Panthers took advantage of two early hits to score a pair and relied on pitcher Jake Woodford to lock up a 2-0 win against Riverview.
In the bottom of the first, Cooper Dickens was hit to start things for Plant (21-5). He moved to third on a Kyle Tucker double and both would score when Stephen Chamblee singled.
The two runs would be all Riverview (12-12) pitching would allow as junior Garrett Bye struck out nine over 4 2/3 innings before Angel Morales retired all four batters he faced.
Plant countered with Woodford, who struck out five including three of the final four outs to improve to 9-1 on the year.
5A-9: Jesuit, Robinson cruise
TAMPA — For the third consecutive season, Jesuit and Robinson will play for the district title.
Jesuit, the two-time defending district champion and top seed, advanced to the championship game of the Class 5A-District 9 tournament with a 13-0 win against Middleton while Robinson shut out Spoto, 8-0, in the other semifinal.
Three pitchers combined on a one-hitter for Jesuit (19-6), highlighted by starter Kasey Radke’s four strikeouts against six batters faced in two innings. Outfielder Kennie Taylor finished with six RBIs, including a three-run homer in the first inning, to help give head coach Richie Warren his 200th win.
“It’s a good accomplishment for the program to average 25 wins in our eight years,” Warren said of the milestone. “But like I said, a lot of great coaches and a lot of great players got us to this point.”
Robinson’s Patrick Kiszkla pitched 5 2/3 innings with five strikeouts in the shutout victory, while Charlie Cole and Ricardo Montero each had two RBIs. The Knights (9-14) put the game out of reach in the third inning, scoring five runs on five hits to take a 6-0 lead.
Jesuit defeated Robinson 1-0 and 5-3 in the regular season.
“It doesn’t matter who it is, once you get to the district championships and beyond, everybody is good, so most games are decided by a couple of quality at-bats or a couple of key plays in a game,” said Robinson coach Kevin McCray. “Hopefully we can put together those quality at-bats and score more runs than the luxury we’ve had of scoring in the past.”
4A-10: TC shuts out Sarasota Booker
TAMPA — Tampa Catholic advanced to the Class 4A-District 10 final with a 7-0 win against visiting Sarasota Booker.
It wasn’t a matter of Tampa Catholic tearing the cover off the ball. Instead,it scored three runs in the first inning on three walks and three passed balls. The Crusaders didn’t have a hit until Jordan Butler’s long double in the third inning that scored two runners who reached on walks.
In all, the Crusaders took advantage of eight walks and five wild pitches, and two passed balls. The win puts the Crusaders into the title game on Thursday against Berkeley Prep, a team that has beaten the Crusaders twice this season.
“We were able to take advantage,’’ catcher Jordan Santos said. “We have a good team. We are going for it all. This is a different team. There is a lot less clowning than last year and we all know what to do.’’
Reeves Martin started for the Crusaders and struck out 13 in six innings. He bailed himself out of the only threat of the night when Booker loaded the bases in the sixth inning, but he got a groundout to end the inning and his night on the mound.
4A-6: Hudson eliminated
NEW PORT RICHEY — Hudson’s season came to a close after losing to Ocala Trinity Catholic 12-0 at Ridgewood High in a Class 4A-District 6 semifinal.
“It was a tough game to lose, especially after a good win last night,” Cobras second-year coach Robert Petrucci said. “But it happens when you play a sound team that capitalizes on your mistakes.”
On Monday night, the Cobras, the No. 5 seed, defeated fourth-seeded Ridgewood (6-14) in a 13-9 upset in the play-in game. But the Cobras (5-21) were no match for the top-seeded Celtics (12-8), who outscored Hudson 34-2 in three meetings this season.
Petrucci found many positives this season, including senior Cody Kimble batting a team-high .352, including going 5 for 5 Monday with three stolen bases, and sophomore Zack Witfoth driving in a team-high 16 RBIs
Petrucci was also happy with having a JV team for the first time, as well as doubling last season’s win total and grabbing their first district win.
“We’re heading in the right direction with many positives,” he added. “I’ll harp on that to our guys as much as I can.”
3A-7: Bishop McLaughlin, Tampa Prep to meet in final
SPRING HILL — Host Bishop McLaughlin overcame a shaky start for a 5-3 comeback win against Carrollwood Day in the Class 3A-District 7 semifinals. After giving up three first-inning runs on a passed ball, an error and a sacrifice fly, the Hurricanes (16-9) defense tightened for the remainder of the game.
The Hurricanes took a 4-3 lead in the second inning, highlighted by back-to-back RBI doubles by Bill Morton and RJ Perciavalle. After giving up a leadoff walk in the top of the seventh inning, head coach Jeff Swymer handed the ball to Will Potoskey, who got three quick outs for the save.
“We’ve got a young team, with five freshmen and just two seniors starting,” said Swymer. “Today, we got timely hitting, especially from RJ, who had two big hits and two runs scored. When he’s hot, the rest of the team catches fire.”
In the second game, top-seeded Tampa Prep breezed past Seffner Christian 10-0. Starting pitcher Sam Martin pitched a one-hit gem and allowed only two base runners. The Terrapins had 12 hits and had several stars at the plate, including Matt Hodges (triple and a sacrifice fly), leadoff man Matt Fulton (two singles, two RBIs) and Holden Bridge (double, two RBIs).
“This group has led us for four years,” coach A.J. Hendrix said. “Sam Martin came out and threw strikes, we had great defense and our offense came alive. If we can continue playing like this, we could do well in the regionals.”
Bishop McLaughlin and Tampa Prep face off in the district final on Thursday at 7 PM.
2A-7: Cambridge Christian rolls to easy 14-2 win
TAMPA — Cambridge Christian made use of everything it was handed by the Academy at the Lakes in the Class 2A-District 7 baseball semifinal. Before picking up their first hit, the Lancers scored all the runs they would need en route to a 14-2 triumph shortened by the mercy rule. Cambridge collected only five hits, but its four turns at bat were helped by 13 walks, nine stolen bases, five errors, three wild pitches, a balk and a hit batsman.
Right-hander Ryan Block allowed only four singles in going the distance for the Lancers, who outscored the Wildcats 29-4 in a pair of regular-season games.
“There’s no shame in losing to them at all. They’re a class act and a quality program,” said Academy coach Matt Killeen, whose roster of 10 players is comprised primarily of freshmen and middle-schoolers.
Cambridge, a state semifinalist last season, will play Bayshore Christian for the district championship Thursday.
“Today we were able to work on situational hitting, able to work on throwing strikes and getting some live reads on baseballs hit at us,” first-year Lancers coach Stephen Piercefield said.