Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Big Green Machine Rolling

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Big Green Machine Rolling

Article excerpt


TITLE GAME: Venice breaks game open in four-run third inning to pull away

Braden River High, the surprise of the Sarasota Baseball Classic, took on the green machine known as the Venice High Indians in Thursday night's title game.

Chalk one up for the machine.

Spotting the Pirates a 1-0 lead, the 17-2 Indians did what they do best, pound the baseball in a 13-3 victory at Ronald K. Drews Field in a game halted by the 10-run mercy rule.

The Pirates, who came into the Classic with a 6-8 mark, won three games and scored 32 runs, earning the right to take on the Indians, who last won the Classic in 2011.

And when Braden River's Brian Dillingham hit a solo home run off Venice starter Rylee Buckmaster with one out in the top of the first inning, one couldn't help but wonder if the Pirates' magic would continue for one more game.

It didn't, as the Indians scored two runs in the bottom of the first off Pirate starter and loser Cole Pencoskey. They broke it open with four more in the third, sending nine batters to the plate, the key hits an RBI single by Scott Debrule and a two-run double by Shane Shifflett.

Up 6-3 in the bottom of the fifth, Venice ended it with seven runs off Pirate reliever Tyler Dyson. The Indians collected four hits in the frame, among them a two-run double by Classic MVP Tyler Gardner, but also benefitted from two of the four errors the Pirates had in the game and three Dyson hit by pitches. The final one, to pinch hitter Jacob Louke, forced across Langston Provitt to stop it.

"These kids are really playing baseball, playing the game," Venice head coach Craig Faulkner said. "These guys are swinging the bat well and they're winners, they play hard.

"So getting down 1-0, they've been there before. I knew they could battle back and I like how they play the game."

Meanwhile, Braden River head coach Craig Page was realistic about facing the Indians for the title.

"We knew coming in who we were playing and we were looking forward to the challenge," he said. "We ran out of gas a little bit at the end, but our guys battled and overall, for the whole week, big picture, we're proud of them. Did a nice job."

The Indians finished with 15 hits, with eight of their nine starters having at least one. …

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