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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
TAMPA - Pop Cuesta was soaking after Jefferson's 5-1 victory over Tampa Bay Tech. Not from perspiration, but from the tub of water thrown on him after his 500th career win.
Cuesta celebrated a personal milestone Tuesday night as his host Dragons advanced to the district championship. Senior right-hander Josh Collazo (9-1) tossed a complete-game two-hitter, struck out 11 and hit a two-run homer to put Jefferson in Thursday night's title contest against Armwood, a 5-2 winner over Newsome.
"It was a good win," Cuesta said. "We did some things not so well and did some things well. But we'll enjoy this one (Tuesday night), work (today) and then get ready for the district championship game."
The district finale will be a rematch from 2004. Cuesta plans to start Joey Delgado, the winning pitcher from that game.
Jefferson (18-6) honored its veteran coach with a banner and trophy in a postgame celebration. Cuesta has recorded all 500 wins at Jefferson, where he started his coaching career in 1973.
"We play every year with one goal - to get to state," Cuesta said. "We know we're going to at least advance into regional play and get a chance to fulfill our goal."
Jefferson led 3-1 in the fifth when it scored twice. Collazo threw 113 pitches, 74 for strikes. He also was one of two players who drenched Cuesta.
In the first game, Armwood (13-11) scored three unearned runs in the fifth to snap a 2-all tie. Newsome (12-12) had three infield errors in the inning and the Hawks capitalized. Armwood sophomore right-hander Joey Gildea (5-5) overcame a shaky start to pitch a complete-game four-hitter. He settled down after allowing four of the first five Wolves to reach base.
"I didn't think there was any way I'd go the distance after the first inning," Gildea said. "But my changeup bailed me out and I settled into a groove."
Gildea retired eight in a row at one point and didn't allow a hit after the third. He threw 62 of 102 pitches for strikes.
6A-6: Durant faces tough No. 1
BLOOMINGDALE - Durant upset Riverview 4-1 in the district semifinals, then Sarasota shut out Sarasota Riverview 10-0 in six innings.
The Cougars took a 2-0 lead in the first inning, taking advantage of a pair of Riverview errors and a couple of errant pitches that hit batters. William Woody and Tom Nardello scored the early runs for Durant.
The Sharks' only hit came in the first inning when leadoff batter Garrett Maines singled to left. A pair of strikeouts and a popup to first left Maines stranded.
Carmine Giardino extended his pitching record to 5-0 with the one-hit victory.
"The good news is we earned a playoff spot with the win," Durant coach Ron Fussell said. "I guess there is no bad news. We play the No. 2 team in the country Thursday for the district championship. Win or lose, that kind of game can only help us."
Sarasota (26-0), ranked No. 1 in the state and second nationally, remained unbeaten. In the sixth inning, with an 8-0 lead one out and Mark Sobolewski on first with a single, Steve Karwatt blasted the ball over the leftfield fence to finish the win a little early. In addition to the home run, Sarasota batters banged out six doubles, hammering two Rams pitchers. Eric Erickson (6-0) earned the win.