Marauders maul Melbourne

Published May 5, 2007

CLEARWATER - Clearwater Central Catholic blasted four home runs off three Melbourne Central Catholic pitchers and scored 12 unanswered runs as the Marauders moved into next week's region final with a 12-1 thumping Friday.

"We came out and swung the bats tonight, " CCC's Zack Upton said. "Coach Todd Vaughan told us to get one run each inning and everything would take care of itself."

While the Marauders fell short of Vaughan's goal, their power display more than made up for it. Sam Mende, Matt Darr and Upton each went deep in CCC's six-run fourth and Joe McLemore's three-run opposite-field blast ended the game by the run rule in the bottom of the sixth.

"What I was most happy about was that for the most part, (the home runs) were all line drives, " Vaughan said.

Upton's (3-for-3, two doubles) RBI single in the bottom of the first tied it at 1 before James Dowdell drove in Ryan Acosta in the third to give CCC (23-4) the lead for good. But it was the Marauders' outburst in the fourth that gave CCC, ranked fourth in the state, a cushion.

The Marauders sent nine to the plate in the inning and did all their damage with two outs. Jeff Ijjas sandwiched a single between Darr (2-for-3) and Mende's (2-for-4) homers before Upton put CCC ahead 8-1 with a two-strike, three-run blast to centerfield.

Acosta scattered six singles, fanned eight and walked none to earn his sixth win of the year.

Brandon Wright can be reached at bwright@sptimes.com or (727) 892-2216.