Prep baseball | Sarasota overwhelms Braden River in 7A-10 final

adell@bradenton.comApril 26, 2014 

SARASOTA -- Braden River knew it would have to play a near-perfect game to stay with Sarasota in its Class 7A-District 10 championship game.

That idea went out the window with Sarasota's fourth hitter in the bottom of first when Brandon Chapman crushed a three-run homer.

It was all downhill the rest of the way as the host Sailors drubbed Braden River 14-2 in a game that was called by the 10-run mercy rule after 4½ innings.

"We knew what we were up against. Sarasota is a great team, and we knew we had to play perfect," Braden River head coach Craig Page said. "Spotting those guys some runs; it's tough to come back from that. We are a team that has to get ahead. We are not a big power team. We are a situational team that goes station to station."

If the Pirates (13-13) could've handled Chapman, they might have made a game of it. The senior had hit only one homer all season, but smacked two big ones Friday. He smashed a two-run homer in the third to spark a five-run inning that put the Sailors (23-2) ahead 9-1 after three innings. The catcher had a single in fourth to cap a perfect night at the plate.

Chapman, who has signed with George Washington, hit both of his homers off Braden River starter Brock Younce and knocked him out of the game with his second round-tripper. Two other pitchers followed, but could not stop Sarasota, which had 12 hits in four innings

"The first at-bat, it was 2-0 and I got a good pitch to swing at. I was looking for a fastball and got it," Chapman said. "The second at-bat I was looking off-speed because I got a fastball on my first at-bat homer. He laid one in there, and I took advantage of it. The last at-bat I was just trying to go 3-for-3. I don't know how I got two homers. It must be the playoffs."

Braden River got an unearned run in the third on two errors. It picked up its other run in the fifth when Derek Cozzette walked, stole second and scored on a single by Brian Dillingham. Tristan Burdette's double in the fourth inning was the only extra-base hit for Braden River.

"Our pitcher tonight (Younce) was 5-1 coming into the game and had been pitching well," Page said. "But this was the biggest start of his career, and we told him he wouldn't be human if he wasn't nervous. He did the best he could. Give Sarasota credit. They got guys who can swing the bat and have power.

"I am not worried this will carry over to our next game. Our guys all season have been up and down all season. They are a young group of guys and we told them this ends right now. In our opinion we are in a great spot. A lot of people didn't have us close to these projections.

Sarasota started junior right-hander Jordan Gubelman, who went four innings and picked up his sixth win of the season.

"It was real important for us to get ahead. The other night against Lakewood Ranch we fell behind 3-0 and I was very uncomfortable," Sarasota head coach Clyde Metcalf said.

Braden River will be on the road Wednesday for its 7A-Region 3 quarterfinal game.

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