ST. PETERSBURG -
No need for extra frames this time.
A year after all-star seniors from Pinellas and Hillsborough counties battled for 14 innings at Tropicana Field, Team Pinellas made sure there would be no marathon repeat in 2013.
Seminole's Corey Baptist provided much of the power Wednesday night and Team Pinellas rode its fast start to a 9-1 win.
“I told these guys when they came out that if they just wanted to play in an all-star game this wasn't the year to do it,” said Pinellas Park and Team Pinellas head coach Pat Russo. “We were going to come out and try to win.”
East Lake's Troy Strominger got Team Pinellas on the board by scoring an unearned run in the first, but it was a six-run second that truly set the night's tone. Team Pinellas sent nine batters to the plate and Baptist capped the offensive surge by launching a 3-run homer over the left-field wall.
“I was excited,” Baptist said of hitting a home run out of a major-league park. “We hit BP here and it wasn't really carrying, but then I saw the left fielder didn't move so I knew it was out.”
Baptist's effort also earned him Most Valuable Player honors for Team Pinellas. His second-inning home run was the game's only extra-base hit of the night. Team Hillsborough's award went to catcher Jesse Haney, who went 1-for-2 and was hit by a pitch.
Seminole's Nick Nolan started the game on the hill for Team Pinellas and earned the win after working two scoreless innings of one-hit ball. He was the only Pinellas County pitcher to work more than three outs as seven others followed to work single innings. In total, Team Pinellas pitchers gave up just five hits and three walks and struck out six
Team Pinellas didn't exactly beat up Team Hillsborough pitching, recording just six hits through nine innings, but it did take advantage of nine walks and four fielding errors.
Team Hillsborough's lone run came in the fourth against Seminole pitcher Stephen Nobles. King's Devon Pedro scored on a passed ball during a three-hit, two-walk inning and it was the first of only two innings where a Team Hillsborough base runner advanced to third.
Team Pinellas capped its scoring by getting to Durant's Tyler Danish for two unearned runs in the ninth. The star prospect was not quite his dominant self while closing out the final two innings for Team Hillsborough, but he did manage to narrowly escape without surrendering an earned run despite walking four batters. Danish carried a perfect 0.00 ERA throughout Durant's Class 8A state second-place run this year.
Five Team Pinellas players managed to reach base on multiple occasions Wednesday night, with Strominger and Dunedin's Kellen Brown doing so three times each. The others were Baptist, St. Petersburg Catholic's Max Geller and Northeast's Michael Wiley.
Seven Team Hillsborough pitchers combined to strike out 13 batters and Alonso's Cody Beckman, Tampa Catholic's A.J. Gonzalez and Leto's Jose Pupo each turned in a hitless inning of work.
PIN - 160 000 002 --- 9-6-1
HIL - 000 100 000 --- 1-5-4
WP – Nick Nolan
LP – Nick Eicholtz