BRADENTON -- Friday night featured a pitching duel between Out-of-Door Academy's Austin Hoppe and Cardinal Mooney's T. Hebda.
Hebda held on to get the win, securing a 4-1 victory and a Class 3A-District 10 championship for his Cougars at McKechnie Field.
"I was just trying to keep them off balance, hit my spots and get the win," Hebda said.
"Our guys are young, to the point of being naive because they have never been in this moment before," Mooney coach Greg Mulhollen said.
It was all pitching and great defense early on.
"I have confidence in my defense. I know if I give up a couple hits those guys will hold it down and make great plays," Hebda said.
Both teams left runners in scoring position in the top and bottom of the fourth following hits by leadoff batters.
Thunder junior Carson Jungers hit a shot to left-center field, giving him a double and another runner in scoring position with no outs.
However, Out-of-Door was unable to capitalize, hitting consecutive flyouts followed by a groundout to end the inning.
"We left too many runners in scoring position. I still love the way we played, though," Thunder head coach Tim Orlosky said.
Out-of-Door's Austin Hoppe finally got his team on the board with a line drive to center field, but poor base running kept the Thunder from having bases loaded with no outs.
"We just can't make those poor decisions. We've played well all season and avoided those errors. Unfortunately, tonight we couldn't," Orlosky said.
Mooney struck out the next batter and forced a groundout for the third out.
After being pulled in the bottom of the sixth inning, Hebda laid down a sacrifice bunt, advancing Alex Rodman to third.
A bad pitch that got past the catcher brought home Rodman and tied the game at 1-1.
A couple batters later, Mooney's Dean Visaggio loaded the bases on a single.
Sophomore Josh Bonynge beat out an infield single, scoring a run and giving the Cougars a 2-1 lead.
Matt Quinlan iced it for Cardinal Mooney after hitting a shot to right field, scoring two more runs as he slid in for the triple.
"It was a 2-0 count fastball, and I was able to get a good shot on it," Quinlan said.
The Thunder made it interesting in the bottom of the seventh but weren't able to manufacture any runs.
"We have a young team and a win like this can do a lot for our confidence moving forward," Mulhollen said.