TAMPA — There was a split-second where Hillsborough second baseman Ryan Romano thought about trying to run to first base in an effort to beat King’s John Hernandez to the bag. Romano slightly bobbled the ball and, in a moment of poise, decided instead to flip it to hard-charging reliever Rodnie Bernard, who stomped on the base just before Hernandez, sealing the Terriers’ come-from-behind win, 6-5, against district opponent King on Saturday afternoon.
“I was just out there, not being nervous, knowing I had to knock down any ball and make a play,” Ryan said of the final-inning play as King had a pair of runners threatening. “I thought about it for a second, but I knew my pitcher was going to be there.”
The Terriers took a while to find a rhythm in the game, leaving two runners in scoring position in the first and fourth innings, and having a pair of missed calls result in two runners caught at second base by King catcher Jose Lopez in the fifth.
King took the lead, scoring a run on a Michael Stewart groundout in the fourth, and added another on a Bubby Terp sacrifice fly in the fifth.
Hillsborough (10-3) took the lead with a three-run sixth inning, on a bases-loaded walk by Ryan’s twin brother Nick Romano, an RBI single by Jerod Jones and a sac fly by Ryan Romano. Bernard, Jones, Nick Romano and Diamond Johnson each had two hits.
King (12-2), which entered the game 10-0 in Class 6A-District 9 play, again regained the lead, scoring three of its own in the bottom half, keyed by an Ethan Thomas RBI single and a sac fly from Kobe Barnum.
The final inning, though, proved to be King’s undoing as a pair of errors and RBI singles by Chris Figueredo and Nick Romano gave Hillsborough all it would need. The latter single drove in the tying run, and a bobble in the outfield on the hit allowed the decider to cross.
Pasco falls in Farm Bureau final
BROOKSVILLE — Pasco and host Brooksville Central battled for 12 innings Friday night, and just when it seemed the Pirates had rallied, the Bears staged a comeback of their own.
After Pasco (7-4) scored in the top of the 12th, Central (12-5) received back-to-back bases-loaded singles with two outs from Matt Clark and Thomas Sorrentino to claim a 5-4 victory in the Pasco-Hernando Farm Bureau Insurance Classic final.
– Chris Bernhardt Jr.