Prep baseball | Ace Correlle Prime leads Manatee Hurricanes back to region semifinal

Manatee rides ace's 3-hitter back to semifinals

jlembo@bradenton.comMay 3, 2012 

BRADENTON -- Correlle Prime battled a cold Wednesday, so he tried to take a nap prior to Manatee's Class 7A-Region 3 quarterfinal against Port St. Lucie.

It didn't happen.

Moments after putting the finishing touches on the Hurricanes' 3-0 win at G.T. Bray park, however, Prime planned on making up for his lack of rest.

"I'll sleep good," the senior said, "that's for sure."

Prime tossed a shutout for the second time in a week, limiting the Jaguars (17-9) to three singles while walking three and striking out eight. The righty has tossed 14 consecutive scoreless innings at home during the playoffs and has Manatee (19-9) back in the region semifinals, where the Canes will host district rival Venice on Tuesday.

The Indians upset Stuart Martin County, which was 26-1 heading into Wednesday, by a 2-1 count in another region quarterfinal.

"This is my best stretch, I think, in my whole high school career," Prime said. "Whatever wins we can get. I'm just trying to get out there and give my team the best chance."

Prime retired 10 of the final 12 he faced Wednesday and pitched out of a bases-loaded, none-out jam in the fourth inning thanks to a line-drive double play and a strikeout.

"He's finding his own spot," said coach Dwayne Strong. "We've made some adjustments and he's added the cutter, which has been a big pitch for him."

Prime also earned the win in relief during last Fri

day's district championship game at Venice.

"He's been moving the ball in and out a lot, which has been good," Manatee catcher Danny Kerwin said. "He came out strong and kind of took his time, which is good, instead of rushing it. He threw strikes right off the bat."

Offensively, Manatee did what it had to do to back up its ace hurler, scoring single runs in the second, third and fourth innings.

Tyler Beeman doubled twice and scored on Kerwin's groundout in the second and on a wild pitch in the fourth, and Chase Sandberg singled in Tyler Souris during the third.

"We got some key hits when we needed them," Strong said.

The Canes, who advanced to the state final final for the first time in 48 years last season, now turn their focus to Venice, which Manatee has defeated three times in four tries this season. The Indians did win the teams' lone meeting in Bradenton earlier this year.

"The thing we keep talking about is the next game," Strong said. "Whatever happened all year and whatever happened last year means nothing.

"We've played great defense, and we've gotten great pitching, and if we keep doing that, that's what wins championships."

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