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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.
That's the deficit Bloomingdale faced in its district semifinal against Armwood. Trailing 14-3 and down to their last out in the fifth inning, the Bulls were all but resigned to a mercy-rule loss and an end to their season.
But a seven-run inning, highlighted by a two-run double from Caleb Payne and a three-run double from Jeff Simpson, all with two outs, allowed the game to continue and pulled Bloomingdale to within four runs.
Two innings later, Chris Latuf drilled a 0-1 pitch over the fence in leftfield to tie it at 15, and Nick Lancaster singled with runners on second and third to bring home the winning run for Bloomingdale and complete one of the most remarkable postseason turnarounds.
The fact that we're still talking about Bloomingdale at this point in the season is quite amazing. For his part, though, Bloomingdale coach K.B. Scull is trying to downplay the comeback win.
"It was pretty amazing, but we're trying to forget about it," Scull said. "We have a lot of kids who like to play. They never got down on themselves when they fell behind and fought back. It's a credit to our players."
Scull teaches his players not to react to the scoreboard. He feels if his team plays like it is capable, regardless of the score, then good things will happen.
The Bulls' region quarterfinal win over Ridgewood, in which Bloomingdale scored nine runs in the second inning and led 16-0 entering the bottom of the fifth, is a perfect example of Scull's philosophy
"We got nine runs in the second inning (against Ridgewood), but we're preaching to the kids to play as if the score is still 0-0," Scull said. "Every club at this point is a good club. You can't get too up or too down based on the score."
Bloomingdale finished off Ridgewood 16-1 to advance to today's region semifinal at Winter Haven. Scull hopes his team will display the same focus on the trip to Winter Haven as it did on the bus ride to Ridgewood.
"You never know how a team's going to react after a long bus ride, but we got off the bus (against Ridgewood) and were ready to go out of the shoot," Scull said. "Hopefully, we'll do the same thing against Winter Haven."