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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.
Northeast's Zach Taylor, left, who had a three-run homer in the game, and Joey Tribou celebrate their district title.
SEMINOLE - Northeast entered the district championship game seeking its third straight win over Seminole.
The Warhawks were confident that wasn't going to happen after drubbing Gibbs and Boca Ciega by a combined score of 18-1 in the first two games of the tournament.
The bottom line: The Vikings had Josh Bowman.
The Northeast starter was masterful, allowing one run on three hits as the Vikings (22-5) rolled to an 11-1 mercy-rule win in five innings and the title. He struck out five of the first six batters he faced and didn't allow a baserunner until the fourth inning.
"Josh once again just proved that he is one of the better pitchers in this area," Northeast coach Eric Wagman said. "He's proven this over a long period of time, even before I was here."
Bowman's aggressiveness against the Warhawks (18-9) was due in part to the early lead his teammates gave him. Senior right-fielder Austin Smith (4-for-4, two runs) hit an RBI single in the first to score leadoff man Nick Shaw.
Designated hitter Zach Taylor hit a three-run home run in the fourth to make it 9-1. Smith, who batted cleanup, ended the game with his second double, scoring Austin Gaines (2-for-4, two RBIs) and Shaw again.
3A-11: CCC turns back TC
CLEARWATER - Winning, trailing, then tied, Clearwater Central Catholic got what it needed in the sixth inning and held on to win its first district title since 2003 at home over Tampa Catholic 10-7 in a game that had 22 hits, a catcher's interference call and a handful of errors.
"It was the kind of game for people who sit behind the fence and say they don't like watching baseball," CCC coach Todd Vaughan said.
Tied at 7, Ryan Weber earned his fifth win of the year on the mound when he beat out an errant throw to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning. Brett McKean followed with a single and both came around to score when Sam Mende laced a ball down the first-base line, putting CCC up 9-7. The Marauders pushed another run across to make things a little easier for Ryan Acosta, who pitched the seventh. McKean (2-for-4) and Mende both doubled and scored in the first inning as CCC led 3-0 quickly on TC pitcher J.C. Suarez. The Crusaders went up one in the top of the fourth inning, scoring four times on singles from Luis Aguila, Suarez (3-for-4) and Eric Gerken.
CCC took the lead right back in the bottom half when Joe McLemore sent his first home run of the season, a two-run bomb over the elevated center-field fence about 400 feet away.
"Suarez isn't a pitcher you just do that to," said TC coach Tom Reidy. "You have to credit CCC because they really brought their bats. But if you asked me if we had 12 hits I wouldn't have thought we'd lose."
Weber replaced CCC starter Drew Eddinger in the fifth, which ended with the Marauders taking a two-run lead. But Frank Granados (two hits) tied the game in the top of the sixth with an infield single to score Kyle Allen, who had replaced Suarez on the mound for the Crusaders (15-11).
Mende finished the night 4-for-4 with two RBIs for CCC (20-8). It was Acosta's ninth save.