CCC defense gets it done

A usually steady pitcher can be a little shaky when his supporting cast is on the mark.

Published May 15, 2007

SARASOTA - Clearwater Central Catholic's Ryan Weber bounced off the mound, a bundle of energy and nerves, as Grant Sieren hit a soft chopper that floated toward rightfield.

If Jacksonville Bolles was going to tie this Class 3A state semifinal, you could almost hear Weber saying, it would be on a hit like this.

There was a runner on second and two out in the sixth inning when Sieren buried his hit into the Ed Smith Stadium grass. Rightfielder Jeff Ijjas charged in to make the play. He threw to home, where catcher Matt Darr tagged out Niko Fraser, who was running on contact.

The lead was safe, and Weber protected it the rest of the way in a 3-0 victory. CCC 25-4 plays Winter Park Trinity Prep (20-10) in the state final tonight at 7.

"It was a huge play, one that helped save our season, " Weber said.

Weber wasn't always pristine. He gave up his most hits (seven) all season, hit two batters and walked another. But what he gave CCC clearly was enough.

Weber seemed to pull himself together at the critical moments, due in large part to an air-tight defense that turned in two double plays, picked off two base runners and threw another out at home.

"(CCC) capitalized on our mistakes with some great plays, " Bolles coach Mike Boswell said. "That is the sign of a champion."

The Marauders gave Weber all the support in the first inning, when Sam Mende, who reached on an error, advanced to third on Matt Morelli's single and scored on Ryan Acosta's sacrifice flyout.

But it wasn't until Ijjas' heady throw that CCC could finally exhale.

"I got a good bounce, jumped on it and made a good throw, " Ijjas said. "That's the way our team is. We just make plays."

The Marauders got some insurance when Joe McLemore and Darr each scored off an error in the sixth.

Bob Putnam can be reached at putnam@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4169.


CC Catholic 3, Bolles 0

Bolles 000 000 0 - 0 7 3

CC Catholic 100 002 x - 3 8 0

W - Weber (11-0). L - Isaacs (11-2). 2B - Bol: Betros; CCC: Darr.