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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.
NEW PORT RICHEY - When his team needed it most, Caz Piurowski reached back and found a little more on his last pitch.
By FRANK PASTOR and VINCENT THOMAS
Published April 28, 2006
With the tying run on third base and the potential go-ahead run on second, the senior reliever blew an 88 mph fastball past Central's Cody Ball to clinch Land O'Lakes' 10-9 victory Thursday at Ridgewood.
"There's nobody else I want out there," Land O'Lakes coach Calvin Baisley said. "I just know that when the pressure's on ... he's going to dial it up a notch, and that's the best chance we've got to win, with him out there in that situation."
After trailing 8-0 in the third and 10-4 in the sixth, fifth-seeded (9-17) Central rallied for five runs in the seventh before falling just short of upsetting No. 1 Land O'Lakes.
The Gators (22-4) face second-seeded Ridgewood (20-6) in the final tonight at 7:30. Ridgewood defeated No. 3 River Ridge 9-4.
Piurowski had three hits, including a triple off the top of the right-centerfield wall, and drove in three runs. He also picked up the save in relief of Jono Cornelius, who improved to 7-3.
Central starter Bryan Nicolini allowed eight runs in three innings but sparked the Bears' comeback with a three-run home run off Cornelius in the fourth.
Craig Martin's bases-clearing triple brought Central to within 10-9 in the seventh. Nicolini and Jake Meadors followed with singles, but Land O'Lakes first baseman Kevin Prince, who entered the game earlier in the inning, made an unassisted putout on Al Beiswenger's bunt before Piurowski struck out Ball.
"It's my proudest moment as a coach in the short two-year career to see the team come back against Land O'Lakes, which is a great club," Central coach Dan O'Rourke said.
Jeff Roxby and Charlie Mohr homered, and Ben Koenigsfeld did not allow a run in 41/3 innings in relief of Roxby as Ridgewood jumped to a 7-1 lead and held on to make the playoffs for a sixth consecutive season.
Roxby, pitching with a catcher's mask to protect four broken bones in his right cheek, allowed four runs in 22/3 innings in his second start since colliding with outfielder Eric Slotter April 12 against Hernando.
A-7: HCA falls short in final
BROOKSVILLE - Hernando Christian entered the top of the seventh inning up just 7-6 on second seed St. John Lutheran in the title game. It was foreign territory for them. The top-seeded Lions had yet to lose a district match, but more tellingly, always had multiple-run leads entering the seventh inning. That's if the game even got that far.
So as the St. John players erupted in cheers, throwing their caps in the air and tearing off their jerseys in celebration of a 9-8 victory, it was clear the upset was, in part, due to some Lions' inexperience.
"I think we were a little uptight," Hernando Christian coach Mike Sodders said. "We usually have a nice cushion if the game gets to seven innings. Usually around 10 runs. It's been so long since we've been in a game like this."
The seventh inning was one marked by errors. The most crushing play was Russ Lowery's RBI double that scooted by the Lions' Zack Bowe at first base. It brought in the go-ahead runs.
The Lions went into the bottom of the seventh facing a deficit for the first time in district play. Robbie Fleischer scored on a botched catch and errant throw to third. Then St. John brought in Tony Clark for Charlie Wendham. With two outs and Tyler Peterson on second, Blake Hunter struck out, leading to St. John's celebration.
Sodders said the unexpected loss might do his team well.
"A heartbreaker like that," he said. "That'll add some motivation."