Errors on the basepaths and in the field lead to an 11-8 defeat to Mosley.
By ANTHONY GAGLIANO
© St. Petersburg Times, published April 14, 2002
TAMPA -- Tampa Catholic's baserunning mistakes were more than the Crusaders could bear Saturday as Mosley of Lynn Haven defeated TC 11-8.
Trailing by three in the bottom of the ninth, the Crusaders loaded the bases on three consecutive walks from Dolphins reliever J.C. Andrews. Mosley manager Doug Lee went to the bullpen for Bryan Chapman, who struck out TC's Craig Corrado looking for the inning's first out.
Tony Moscato was up next and smacked a line drive to leftfield, but Mosley's Kyle Pearson snagged the liner and quickly relayed the ball to the infield. The Crusaders runner on third was halfway down the line and then went back to tag up. The relay throw nailed him at the plate to end the game. "We did a lot of careless things during the game," TC coach Chuck Yingling said. "We made two careless mistakes defensively. Offensively, we had two of those in the game where we ran when we weren't supposed to and that was the third one right there to end the game. Can't do that against a good ballclub."
Tampa Catholic seemed destined to be the victim of the 10-run rule in the third inning.
The Dolphins sent 12 batters to the plate en route to a seven-run inning. Defensive miscues cost the Crusaders as a low liner to leftfield turned into a two-run triple and an error by Moscato at second erased a possible inning-ending double play.
"It was a hostile environment, and we knew that coming in," Lee said. "That's what we wanted to do with our kids -- put them in a tough situation. We're already in the playoffs. We're just trying to prepare them for playing on the road later on."
But the Crusaders' relievers kept the game close from there and the Tampa Catholic offense responded with a flurry of its own in the fifth.
Facing a 10-2 deficit, Denard Span doubled to open the inning, but was picked off second.
But the Crusaders kept battling. James O'Donahue supplied an RBI single and then came the big blow. With the score 10-3 and the bases loaded with two outs, Yingling called on Mark Tulley, who responded with a pinch-hit grand slam to put the Crusaders back in the game.
"That's one thing about these guys," Yingling said."They haven't really given up all year. Sometimes we don't make the best baseball decisions, but they do play hard all seven innings. Hopefully, we play the games without making some of the crazy mistakes."