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SEMINOLE - It's not a usual situation, having two sophomores leading a team. But that's just what East Lake had in its 5-1 consolation-round victory over Boca Ciega on Wednesday in the Steve Georgiadis Holiday Tournament.
Shawn Kale, a sophomore right-hander, tossed a one-hitter through six innings to carry the Eagles (8-3).
The only hit he surrendered was a one-out grounder through the hole between shortstop and third by Kase Triolo in the sixth. That led to the Pirates' only run, scored on Logan Poff's ground out.
"Shawn's done well," coach Lee Byers said. "He didn't have his fastball, but it was good enough. He located it well."
According to Byers, the win gave Kale a 3-0 record and his ERA below 1.50. But in this win, unlike his victory over Bishop Verot a few weeks ago in which he struck out 14, Kale had to improvise.
"I really didn't have my fastball," he said. "I could only locate it, but it was setting up my changeup. That was my best pitch. When I had it working, they were guessing."
That meant some extra work behind the plate from sophomore catcher Mike Papa. When Kale's changeup is working, "it dips a lot," he said. "I've go to thank my catcher. He blocks a lot of pitches when they're in the dirt."
Papa has extensive experience at it. He has been catching for Kale a long time, "since Little League," Kale said.
And he helps out at the plate. Against Boca Ciega, Papa - who leads off for East Lake, not an ordinary spot for a catcher - collected three walks and a double, scoring two runs.
Upperclassmen also played a role in the win. Senior Franco Strazzeri singled in Papa in the first inning, then doubled in two runs with two outs in the second. Dan Boucher, also a senior, had two hits, including a two-run single following Strazzeri's double in the second.
That proved to be all the Eagles needed against Boca Ciega, which has struggled (3-8).
"If you don't get any hits, it's hard to win," Pirates coach Lynn Barber said. "We've been playing well though. We beat Clearwater a couple of weeks ago. I can't understand it."