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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.
By BRYAN BURNS and TERRY JONES
Published April 28, 2006
TAMPA - After coming back from 12 runs down in Wednesday's semifinal victory over Armwood, Bloomingdale coach K.B. Scull must have felt a bit relieved to be down just three runs entering the seventh inning against King in the district final.
The Bulls almost pulled off the comeback Thursday. Trailing 4-1, Bloomingdale (16-11) loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh but was only able to plate two runs. Reliever Jared Macbeth, who came into the game after King starter Dustin Merrill walked the leadoff hitter, was shaky at first, giving up two hits, a walk and a sacrifice fly. He settled down to record the final two outs, including a strikeout on the final batter, to give King (17-8) a 4-3 win and the district crown, their ninth total and fifth in the past six seasons.
"I told the team, "If we can come back from 12-0 down (Wednesday), then 4-1 is nothing,' " Scull said. "We would have liked to have gotten into their bull-pen a bit earlier, but their starter did a nice job. He pitched well, but ours did too."
Merrill (7-1) was effective all night if not particularly overpowering. Despite working on just two days rest and throwing 93 total pitches, he gave up just one run, which came in the third inning on Rolando Lopez's sacrifice fly after Tommy Reed led off the inning with a double, and scattered four hits while striking out six and walking four.
King scored runs in the first inning on a wild pitch and in the fourth on Brandon Blake's sacrifice fly. Blake had what would prove to be the winning hit in the sixth inning when he blasted a two-run home run to deep centerfield that fell just outside the reach of Jeff Simpson's wall-climbing stab to give King a 4-1 lead.
5A-10: Knights come back
TAMPA - Momentum is often an overlooked part of sports. It's much easier to analyze games through concrete things such as statistics rather than abstract factors such as momentum. But one thing was certain about momentum in Thursday's semifinal between Plant and Robinson: the Panthers had it, but the Knights took it.
Robinson spotted Plant a three-run, second-inning lead, but the Knights stormed back to score four unanswered runs and take down the top-seeded Panthers 4-3.
"The guys could feel it in the fourth and all they kept talking about was taking the momentum," Robinson coach Sal Urso said. "After that, I knew we were in good shape."
Trailing 3-0 after a Chris Kuzdale two-run homer and a safety squeeze from Pedo Kirkwood, Robinson (16-9) got a charge on a solo homer from Eugene Garnett to lead off the fourth inning. Prior to Garnett's blast, Plant (20-4) starter Nick Debacker had set down the first nine Knights.
One out later, Trace Venegas cut the deficit to one with a sacrifice fly to centerfield and Alex Floyd came around on a two-out Kirkwood error to tie it at 3.
Garnett then gave Robinson the lead with another solo homer, his fifth, one inning later.
Robinson will host Hillsborough (25-4) tonight for the district championship at 7. The Terriers broke open the game with a three-run, pinch-hit home run from Victor Zamora and went on to defeat Chamberlain 6-2.
6A-8: Riverview blanked
DURANT - Sarasota topped Riverview 4-0. Troy Graybill was the key to the Sailors' victory. He extended his pitching record to 6-0 in the shutout. Graybill struck out nine and scattered three hits in the win. He closed out the game with three strikeouts in the top of the seventh.
Sarasota scored first in the second, but the third was its big inning when the Sailors scored three runs on three hits. The big play was a two-run blast over the leftfield fence in the third, with two outs. Casey Kelly hit the homer.
In both the second and third innings, Riverview loaded the bases, only to leave the runners stranded. First baseman Chris Knott started off the second with a single and after two outs, Anthony Ferrara reached first, because of a hit pitch. Nick walked to load the bases. But the Sharks were unable to score. Again in the fourth inning, with two outs, the Sharks loaded the bases and left runners stranded.