COUGARS 3 FALCONS 2
By Eric Horchy | Suncoast NewsCLEARWATER - It was a good night to be a Skantze.
Published: February 28, 2013
Published: February 28, 2013
The combined efforts of brothers Charlie and Jack were just what Countryside needed to win a tight 3-2 contest over visiting Dunedin on Wednesday.
Jack Skantze, a freshman, provided the final boost when he sent a one-out, walk-off base hit to right that plated pinch runner Kevin Rosinski.
"I knew a fastball was coming at the end there and I was just trying to do the best I could with it," he said of his first high school game-winning hit. "I got it kind of off the end a bit, but I put it into right field and got a hit."
Setting up that big moment was junior Charlie Skantze’s superb night on the hill. After allowing Dunedin to jump out to an early lead with two runs in the second, the elder Skantze settled in and blanked the Falcons the rest of the way.
"After that one inning I just got it through my head to regroup," he said. "Just get the ball down, throw strikes and that’s all I’ve got to do."
Countryside coach Kemo O’Sullivan said the fact that the two Skantzes are able to shine in big moments comes as no surprise.
"I know Charlie, and with how brothers are, they come from the same makeup," he said of having Charlie for the past two seasons and just getting Jack this season. "They’re both just ballplayers. Jack comes up now and just does the right things."
Charlie Skantze went the distance while making his first pitching start of the season, surrendering just four hits and one walk while striking out six. Only one of the two second-inning runs was earned and marked the first of its kind given up by the Countryside pitching staff this year. The Cougars (4-0) entered Wednesday having outscored their first three opponents 17-1, with that lone run being unearned.
"It was a well-pitched game by both guys," Dunedin coach Tom Hilbert said of Charlie Skantze and Falcons starter Alex Hart. "But I think they took advantage of more situations than we did. I don’t necessarily think in the fourth inning they should’ve scored at all. There were a couple bad breaks and they put pressure on us."
Hart also went the distance for Dunedin before giving up the game-winner to Jack Skantze. He finished with a line of 6.1 innings pitched, three hits and two walks surrendered and six strikeouts.
Wednesday night’s game was the second straight time these two teams played to a 3-2 decision dating back to last April, won then by Dunedin.
Dunedin recorded all four of its hits during the first three innings before getting shut down by Charlie Skantze.
"Give [Skantze] credit," Hilbert said. "You can’t score in one inning in a high school game and expect to win and you can’t get three hits and expect to win, either."
The game’s first run came across when Falcons pinch runner Kyle Kreuter took advantage of a passed ball. Right fielder T.J. Alman also advanced on the base paths during that play and was knocked home by Jack Hamrick’s RBI double down the right-field line.
That was all the scoring Dunedin would muster, though. After Kellen Brown pulled a double down the first-base line the following inning, Falcons hitters were unable to hit safely the rest of the night.
"It’s always a big game and Dunedin’s always going to come out swinging," Charlie Skantze said of his approach. "I did notice they were pull-happy, so you just have to throw strikes and keep the ball low and away."
Countryside countered Dunedin’s second inning with a two-run effort of its own in the fourth.
Charlie Skantze led off the frame with a bloop single that fell between Dunedin second baseman Trevor Jensen and center fielder Austin Sweat. Catcher Bobby Krayer followed that up with what appeared to be another base hit to right, but the ball got by Alman and allowed Skantze to score and Krayer to get to third. After first baseman Jake Mielock tied the game by grounding out to second, Hart effectively stopped the bleeding by retiring the next two batters on ground balls.
Hart had retired the side in order during each of the first three innings before Charlie Skantze’s seeing-eye pop up.
Dunedin’s Brown was the lone batter from either lineup to record a multi-hit night, adding a first-inning single to his double in the third.
The teams are not scheduled to meet again this season, but they may at the end of March when Countryside takes part in Dunedin’s annual spring break tournament.
The Cougars go on the road Friday night, traveling to Class 7A District 10 foe Northeast to try and earn their third win of the week.
Dunedin plays two more times this week, beginning with a home date on Friday night against District 5A-12 opponent Lakewood High. The Falcons then stay at home for a Saturday game against Barron Collier.
Dun - 020 000 0 --- 2-4-4
CS - 000 200 1 --- 3-3-2
WP – Charlie Skantze (1-0)
LP – Alex Hart