CRYSTAL RIVER - With the game tied at 4-4 in the bottom of the sixth, Citrus pitcher Matt Sakowicz held off a bases-loaded scare as the Hurricanes rallied for a 5-4 win against Crystal River Thursday night.
"Matt was clutch," Citrus coach John Bolin said. "He doesn't do a lot of things pretty. But he's a guy whose a complete player."
The heated game volleyed back and forth almost ending in a post-game fight until both coaches pulled each team aside.
After losing 12-0 earlier this season to Crystal River (8-9, 4-6 in Distric 4A-9), Citrus (10-8, 5-5) was ready to even the score.
The Pirates were still mad about having their field burned, home plate stolen and pads ripped up earlier this season by the Hurricanes.
"It is a great rivalry," coach Robert Weiner said. "Great rivalries show themselves not off the field, but on the field when you go back and forth making one great play after another."
Both teams battled to go home the winner. Citrus' Robert Taylor scored early in the second as Justin Creel followed it up for a 2-0 Hurricanes lead. In the bottom of the fourth, a Lance Ives' RBI double rallied Crystal River back.
The Pirates got on the board with R. J. Cummings who later scored two more. In the top of the fifth, Trai Shinn tied it again at 3-3. A Crystal River error led to Ryan McPherson run for a Hurricanes' 4-3 edge.
Then Matt Schrantz came up big with a key RBI, driving in James Kellogg to tie the game for the next two innings.
Crystal River had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the sixth with the bases loaded, but Sakowicz's (4-2) strong pitching held off the Pirates and Heath Fredrick scored in the top of the eighth for the winning run.
A game ending double play by Fredrick and Drew Austin capped it as the Hurricanes piled on top of each other in the middle of the field.