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SEMINOLE - After a lackluster two-hit performance in the district semifinal against Boca Ciega on Thursday, St. Petersburg stressed offense in its final against Seminole. The extra batting practice worked.
St. Petersburg hit early and often in a 7-3 win over the Warhawks. The Green Devils (22-3) pounded out nine hits off four Seminole pitchers to snap the Warhawks' eight-year streak of winning the district championship. St. Petersburg will play at home Tuesday against in a regional quarterfinal. Seminole (19-7) will play at "(Thursday) it was a struggle for us," St. Petersburg coach Stefan Futch said. "Our pitch selection was brutal. Our emphasis in this game was to take good pitches and try to drive them somewhere."
That strategy worked right away. With men on first and second in the first inning, Adam Recvlohe drove in a run on a solid single. Ryan Luker followed with an RBI single and one batter later Danny Bacon delivered a two-out single to make it 3-0.
Vince Grasso made it 5-0 in the second inning when he hit a two-run home run. Grasso also homered in the semifinal. St. Petersburg increased the lead to 6-0 in the fourth on a leadoff home run by Dale Brannon, but Seminole wasn't going to quit.
The Warhawks mounted a comeback in the fifth with three runs, highlighted by a two-run single by Adam Chappie. But pinch-hitter Billy Felasco hit into a double play to end the threat.
"Bottom line, they had more two-out hits than we did," Seminole coach Rob Francis said. Brannon, who was 2-for-3 with two RBIs, credited not only the offense but the pitching of starter Courtland Chambers and reliever Recvlohe.
"We were swinging at too many bad pitches (in the semifinal)," Brannon said. "We just wanted to make sure we saw good pitches this time. And we also got some good pitching."