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Dunedin Holds Off Boca Ciega To Advance To Regional Finals

The 6A regional playoffs continued Tuesday night as the Boca Ciega Pirates hosted the rival Dunedin Falcons, with the winner advancing to the regional finals. The Pirates scored first and jumped out to the early lead, but six runs from the Falcons between the second and fourth inning paced them to an 8-6 win and a date with the Barron Collier Cougars in the finals.

After a sacrifice from Ivan Rodriguez gave the Pirates (11-16) a 1-0 lead in the first, the Falcons (14-14) quickly responded, first with an RBI triple from Justin Rodriguez that scored Jonathan Hubbard to tie the game and then a double from John Paul Andrade that brought home Josh Collett, who came in as a courtesy runner for Rodriguez. Andrade came around to score the third run of the inning on a line-drive base hit from Alex Sexton.

Ray Sass and Brock Cunningham added an RBI each in the third and Lake Fisher added one in the fourth to increase their lead to 6-1.

The Pirates finally broke through against the Falcons ace, Colton Widdows, starting in the fifth. After the leadoff man struck out swinging, the Pirates strung together three straight hits. With the bases loaded, a sacrifice from Kaemic Brown scored the second run of the game, followed by an error and passed ball allowing two more runs to score for the Pirates, bringing them within two.

“Our team weathered the storm tonight,” Falcons manager Ron Sexton said. “Boca Ciega did a better job of stringing together hits against our ace, Colton Widdows, than any other opponent this year. We managed to overcome some errors that haven’t been part of the equation of late and Widdows didn’t walk a single batter. He battled and showed great mind presence.”

With the score now 6-4, Fisher came back to the plate in the sixth and lined a shot into left to score two more runs, increasing the lead to 8-4. The Pirates scored two more runs late, but it was not enough as the Falcons held on for the 8-6 victory.

“We had a couple of freshman step off offensively,” said Sexton. “Hubbard went 3-for-4 and Fisher answered the bell after they intentionally walked our top hitter, Adrian Comas. We are playing our best baseball at the right time and we can’t wait to take the field again.”

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