3A: Paul gets CCC one step closer
CLEARWATER — During Clearwater Central Catholic’s 16-game early-season win streak, coach Todd Vaughan said the only thing that matters is winning the final five.
One down, four to go.
The Marauders erupted for 10 hits and starter David Paul pitched a complete-game two-hitter Thursday in a 9-1 win over Sarasota Cardinal Mooney in the Class 3A region quarterfinal. The win sets up a district final rematch against Calvary Christian on Tuesday at CCC.
“We have some seniors who have been through this before,” Vaughan said. “They know it’s not just one game. In the past, we’ve had some teams win a regional game and jump around like we’ve won it all. It takes more than one game.”
It took an inning for Paul to settle down. The Cougars got their only run in the first inning on Bucky Bonynge’s RBI single with two out. A single then loaded the bases, but Paul got Nick Bisplighoff to fly out.
“I was working too fast in the first inning,” Paul said. “I usually get those first-inning jitters and I just have to work through it.”
He helped his own cause in the bottom of the first. Paul drove in Johnny Karaphillis with a one out single to tie the game. He then broke the game open in the third with a hit-and-run single that scored both Karaphillis and Derek Gibree.
With Paul cruising on the mound, his teammates got plenty of insurance runs in the fourth. The Marauders scored six runs, all with two out, to take an eight-run lead.
Karaphillis had an RBI single that scored two runs. Gibree and Brenden Overton had RBI singles. And two Cougar errors allowed the final two runs of the inning to score.
Cardinal Mooney had more errors (three) than hits (two).
“We did what we had to do in that inning,” Karaphillis said. “We got the key hits when we needed them. We’ve been doing that all season.”
Paul did not give up a hit after the first. He had four strikeouts and walked two. He also 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Karaphillis was 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
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