For the second consecutive night of the Class 8A-District 7 baseball tournament, a Durant High pitcher threw a complete-game gem to win a tight game. On Tuesday, it was Tyler Danish who earned the semifinal victory, 2-0, against Bloomingdale, which came in 22-3 and ranked No. 3 overall in the state by MaxPreps.
Danish's feat — which included seven strikeouts, no walks and only four hits allowed — followed Monday's sterling performance by Trey Oest, who threw only 72 pitches in a 2-1 victory over Plant.
Durant (15-8) will play in Thursday's final against Wharton, which for the first time in the school's 15-year history reached a district baseball final.
Wharton (18-8) was led by Collin Woody, who not only threw all eight innings in a 2-0 victory against Alonso, but hit a two-run double in the eighth. Woody's pitching line against the solid-hitting Ravens speaks volumes: eight innings, no runs, four hits, three walks and 12 strikeouts on 125 pitches.
"I didn't feel that good to start with and I missed some spots,'' Woody said.
As the game wore on and Alonso (15-8) failed to score, Woody said he "got in a zone," relying more on his live fastball than his curve.
Alonso (15-8) threatened only in the sixth inning when it loaded the bases with a single and two walks only to have Woody end the inning with a strikeout.
7A-9: Freedom, Gaither earn wins
The sports adage about beating a team three times in a season was tested twice in the Class 7A-District 9 semifinals as Freedom proved the exception by beating Wiregrass Ranch, 5-2, for the third time this year. Meanwhile, Gaither clawed its way back twice to prove the rule defeating top-seeded Steinbrenner, 10-9, in eight innings.
Freedom reached the region tournament for the first time in school history advancing to Thursday's district final on the strength of twins Kyle and Eric Schindler. Kyle threw a complete game with eight strikeouts and also drilled a two-run homer in the third, while brother Eric motored around the bases as Freedom added two more runs on an error.
In the night game, Gaither wouldn't go away answering a five-run second by Steinbrenner with five of its own in the third. The Cowboys again rallied from down 9-5 to tie the game in the sixth and force extra innings. Junior Oscar Mercado, who had a pair of RBI hits, reached on a fielder's choice in the eighth, stole second and third and scored the deciding run on a passed ball.
Cole Gordon had a three-run homer for the Warriors in the loss.
7A-8: Riverview, Brandon triumph
Riverview and Brandon both used strong pitching performances to win their respective Class 7A-District 8 semifinals. The two teams will meet Thursday for the district championship.
Riverview (17-7) beat Hillsborough (12-11), 6-3, in the first game. Sharks pitcher Dylan Drawdy struck out 15 en route to a complete game performance. He allowed just three hits and three runs (two earned).
Drawdy also went 2 for 4 at the plate with a leadoff triple in the 1st inning and a double in the fourth. Justin Rose was 2 for 2 with a triple and two walks. Hillsborough pitcher John Safe stuck out eight in 3 1/3 innings of relief.
In the nightcap, Brandon (15-8) knocked off East Bay (7-17), 7-0, behind pitcher Eric Hinostroza's complete game shutout. Hinostroza also had a good night at the plate, going 2 for 3 with a triple and a double. Adam Sass led the game off for the Eagles with a home run en route to a 2-for-3 night with a walk.
6A-10: LOL wins in extra innings
Land O' Lakes defeated Mitchell, 4-3, in extra innings, while Tarpon Springs stopped Sunlake, 13-0, in the Class 6A-District 10 semifinals.
In the first game, the Gators (17-8) tied it in the seventh on an error. Then in the ninth, an RBI single by Josh Nissen scored Zach Whitaker for the narrow win after left-hander Brad Hencke, a Tampa commit, struck out nine and walked none. Mitchell (14-11) starter Garrett Kriston struck out 10.
"We were lucky to win," Gators coach Calvin Baisley said. "And Brad finally found his breaking ball. If he hadn't, we'd been on that bus early."
In second semifinal, Tarpon Springs (22-4) scored 12 runs in the second and third combined, powered by Anthony Bariso, who had a two-run homer and David Miklavcic, who scored three times with two RBIs and a stolen base.
Starter Michael Dunnigan, a Saint Leo commit, and Ethan Lichtenburg combined for just two hits and six strikeouts.
4A-9: TC rolls
Cody Hernandez improved to 6-1 by allowing just two hits and Tampa Catholic took advantage of seven errors to shut out Sarasota Booker, 14-0, in five innings in a Class 4A-District 9 semifinal at Berkeley Prep.
The victory sends the second-seeded Crusaders (16-7) into Thursday's 7 p.m. final against top-seed Berkeley Prep (13-11-1).
"These games are tough, because you expect to win and the kids expect to win, but you still have to go out and play the game," said Tampa Catholic coach Ty Griffin, who then added about the title game. "This is what we wanted, a chance to play for a district championship. And now we're getting it."
Tampa Catholic scored three in the first when Paulie Russo's line drive to left was misplayed into a four-base error. The Crusaders scored two more in the second, six in the third and another three in the fourth — without a hit — to close out the scoring.
Tampa Catholic finished with nine hits, with Russo going 2 for 3 with a double, three RBIs and three runs scored.
2A-8: Cambridge, Bayshore advance
Cambridge Christian, the top seed in the Class 2A-District 8 tournament, shut out Tampa Bay Christian, 12-0. The Lancers will meet Bayshore Christian in Thursday's final as the Faith Warriors beat Academy at the Lakes, 13-7.
The Lancers (20-5) racked up 12 hits against the Rams (1-12-1). Senior pitcher Matt Mullins went four innings without allowing a hit as he recorded nine strikeouts. Three of the strikeouts came against the first three batters Mullins faced.
Bayshore Christian (13-2) used the fourth inning to add eight runs and ultimately it proved to be the difference. Dylan Richards had a pinch-hit, two-run homer.
Ryan Craythorne and Gabe Aleman held Academy at the Lakes to five hits.
3A-8: Tampa Prep, B. McLaughlin win
Behind a strong pitching performance by Nick Adams, Tampa Prep defeated Seffner Christian, 4-2, to advance to the 3A-District 8 championship.
The Terrapins will face Bishop McLaughlin, which defeated Brooks-Debartolo 8-6 in the nightcap. They will meet at 7 p.m. Friday at Bishop McLaughlin.