Springstead tops Central for first Farm Bureau title

BROOKSVILLE – When Kevin Tomas arrived at Central’s baseball field for Friday night’s Farm Bureau Classic final, the Springstead junior didn’t know he’d be tapped to take the start.
It was hard to tell considering the way he pitched against the host Bears, as he struck out 10 over five solid innings and protected an early lead, allowing the Eagles to win this annual tournament for the first time, 4-2.
“I had another kid that was going to start, but he overslept and didn’t show up,” Springstead head coach Shawn Laferty said. “He’s (Tomas) capable of doing that. He’s got three pitches and he mixes it up good. He’s got moxie on the mound. You can tell he’s just got some confidence.
“I’ve been here seven years and this is the first time we’ve come this far. It means a lot. It just sets the tone for the rest of the season, that we’re capable of beating good teams. Cause that’s what it’s going to be down to the end.”
In the fourth game in five nights for both teams, the Eagles (12-2) jumped out in front right out of the gate. Dakota Blevens and John Oliveira hit back-to-back one-out singles in the top of the first inning, setting up a two-run double into the left-center field gap off the bat of Joey Delgatto.
Max Glenn drilled a double to deep center for a run batted in during the second inning, and consecutive two-out errors allowed him to come around, making it 4-0.
Springstead's Brett Maharaj watches the ball while leading off third base, as head coach Shawn Laferty looks on from the coach's box Friday night at Central. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

“You get four right way, you’re thinking, ‘Hey, we’re going to start opening this up,’” Laferty said. “But it seems like their pitcher settled down and started mixing the pitches up more, and we were probably trying to jack the ball too much. Trying to hit too many home runs instead of doing what we needed to do.”
But Tomas didn’t need any more support. He scattered three hits, walked three and hit one batter. He wasn’t touched for a run until Jonathan Allion’s RBI single with two outs in the fifth. That was the second-to-last batter he faced.
“Mostly my changeup (was working). I threw some curveballs in there for strikes but they weren’t really hitting, so that was my best pitch tonight,” Tomas said. “They’re tough. We’ve played them three times and we’ve beat them all three times but they always seem to keep up with us, so it’s always a tough game.”
Springstead's Joey Delgatto is greeted by teammate Dominic Marrone after scoring a run on Friday night. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

The Bears (8-5) scored in an unusual way in the sixth, when Ian Peacock went first to third on a Trevor Adler single to right, then was awarded home due to defensive interference.
Central had two on with one out in that inning, but reliever Dominic Marrone induced a 4-6-3 double play to end the threat. He also escaped a two-on, two-out jam in the seventh to earn the save.
“Just take my time, take a deep breath, focus, and just throw strikes and let my defense work behind me,” Marrone said. “It’s huge. It helps build up toward the rest of the season. Hopefully it’s just the next step in our success.”
The senior was named tournament MVP, having pitched in all four games, going 1-0 with a save while giving up two runs (one earned) in seven innings, walking two and striking out six.
With the championship trophy in hand, the Eagles departed from Central hoping to ride the momentum into the final month of the season.
“I just think it gets kids to believe that we can beat the good teams. Beating Mitchell and beating Land O’ Lakes last night just says a lot,” Laferty said. “Playing four games a week is a lot. That’s an absolute ton.”
Follow Chris Bernhardt Jr. on Twitter @cpbernhardtjr.

Disqus Comments