Written by Dennis Maffezzoli on April 30, 2014 | Herald-Tribune
East Lake pitchers stifle Sarasota
SARASOTA, Fla. – Since winning the eighth state championship in school history in 2007, the Sarasota High baseball team has had a rough time in regional play.
Twice the Sailors did not qualify, twice they went out in the first round — both times to Tampa Alonso and current Florida Marlins ace Jose Fernandez — and twice they won a game before being eliminated.
That is two wins in the past six postseasons, a mark Sarasota will take into the 2015 season.
Ranked second in the state and 30th in the country, the Sailors collected just three hits and had six base runners in 10 innings in a 2-1 extra-inning loss to Tarpon Springs East Lake in the Class 7A-Region 3 quarterfinal Wednesday night at Ronald K. Drews Field.
“No one has done that to us all year,” Sarasota coach Clyde Metcalf said.
“They pitched a great game. And their hitters did to our pitching staff what no one has done all year long. They hit the ball hard.”
East Lake starter senior Brad Deppermann, who reached as high as 94 mph on the radar gun with his fastball, allowed three hits and a run during the first seven innings. Junior Steven Plaskett, who displayed a nasty breaking pitch, retired all nine batters he faced to get the victory.
“We were just never able to get a hit,” Metcalf said. “That’s a credit to them. Their pitching staff did an incredible job.”
Sarasota, which was 11-0 at home this season, loaded the bases with two outs in the first inning, but failed to score.
“We hit the ball hard for the final out,” Metcalf said of Matt Schlabach’s long fly out to right.
Both teams scored in the fourth.
The Eagles (19-8) pushed across an unearned run after a couple of singles with two outs off Sailors starter Evan Mendoza, who gave up five hits during four-plus innings.
Sarasota’s run came on a leadoff walk to Brandon Chapman, a perfectly executed hit-and-run to right by Schlabach and a sacrifice fly that scored pinch-runner Shelby Banks. Deppermann then set down the next nine Sailors before Mason Dancer singled, stole second and was sacrificed to third with two outs in the sixth.
“We felt the big key for us was to get men on,” said Metcalf, whose club had won nine of 10 coming in. “Every time we got men on we stole. We knew we could move runners up.”
Dancer was stranded at third and represented Sarasota’s final base runner of the game.
Lefty Zach McMullen relieved Mendoza and set down the first nine batters he faced. He got the final out of the seventh after a two-out double.
East Lake had a hit in the eighth off junior right-hander Jordan Gubelman and threatened to snap the tie in the ninth.
The Eagles loaded the bases with one out. They attempted a suicide squeeze on the next pitch, but Sarasota called for a pitch out, and Chapman tagged out the runner attempting to score. Gubelman then recorded a strikeout for the final out.
“We were able to dodge some bullets,” Metcalf said.
In the 10th, a one-out single and sacrifice placed a runner on second with two outs. Keegan Maronpot, who was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts prior, lined a double to the right-center field gap to break the deadlock.
“They really swung the bat well.
“We were able to dodge bullets until the 10th,” Metcalf said.
In addition to the pitching by Mendoza, McMullen and Gubelman, Schlabach had an outfield assist and made a running catch to end an inning in left.
But Sarasota (24-4) managed only singles by Mendoza, Schlabach and Dancer. The Sailors graduate nine seniors, many of whom were major contributors.
“It’s a very tough ending, because these guys were prepared,” Metcalf said. “They came every day and worked hard for this. It’s hard. It’s a tough way to go out.
“I hope when they look back on this they are proud of what they accomplished. They had a phenomenally good year.”