Tampa Catholic gets bookend, five-run innings to top Phoenix
|Tampa Catholic senior Anthony Lefler drove in a pair of runs in the Crusaders district win over Brooks DeBartolo. (Photo by Mike Camunas)|
By Mike Camunas, correspondent
TAMPA — Two young teams in an early-season district matchup gave each other all they had, but it was the Crusaders that came out on top.
Despite blowing a 6-1 lead, Tampa Catholic (2-0) held Brooks-DeBartolo (0-2) and its game-tying rally, as well as bases-loaded opportunity, off for a 12-7 win Friday evening at Rome & Sligh Park.
"Thing about us," Crusaders first baseman and DH Anthony Lefler said, "is we never give up. We always fight and we know that we are always in the game."
|Phoenix junior LHP Ryan Bradarich. (Photo by Mike Camunas)|
Brooks-DeBartolo had a chance to break up the 7-7 tie in the bottom of the sixth with a bases-loaded opportunity, but reliever Ryan Valenti got a two-out, strikeout to end the threat.
|TC sophomore Kaleb Sierra.|
(Photo by Mike Camunas)
Tampa Catholic then pulled away in the top of the seventh, scoring five runs, including the go ahead on a two-run single by Lefler. Tony Watson also plated two in the seventh and had three total RBI on the night.
Lefler said his team was glad to pick up the district win, but he does realize, as Griffin said, that his team is young. Lefler is just one of four seniors on the roster, but he also feels the young talent on the team can take the Crusaders where they want to go.
"We lost 17 players (going into the 2018 season), which hurt us a little bit," Lefler said. "But our guys go out there and work hard and do their best. ... I grew up with those guys (from that season), so it was it hard, but we have to play and we're going to go out there and go as far as we can and try and get a ring."
- Mike Camunas is a longtime veteran journalist who is always seeking true stories, trained under J. Jonah Jameson and takes better photos of Spider-Man than Peter Parker. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeCamunas