SARASOTA -- After winning two pool-play games in the 2013 Sarasota Baseball Classic's Red Bracket, the Lakewood Ranch Mustangs found themselves playing catch up in Wednesday's clash with previously unbeaten Jacksonville Eagle's View Academy at the Buck O'Neil Complex.
Eagle's View Academy junior B.B. O'Steen stifled the Mustangs (8-8) with a two-hitter, and the Warriors plated three runs in the top of the first. That was more than enough to secure a 4-1 victory over Ranch.
"That was a great ballclub, and when you continue to give five outs an inning it's tough to get back into that game," Mustangs head coach Ryan Kennedy said. "That's one of the things we keep harping on is don't give outs, don't give outs away because we play seven innings. It's not a nine-inning game."
Those extra outs came immediately as Eagle's View Academy scored three times in the first off two errors wrapped around three hits.
And with the way O'Steen pitched, the three runs was all the support the right-hander needed.
"He did a great job (Wednesday) of locating his pitches," Kennedy said. "He was pitching in and out, but mainly stayed away. And once you're around the plate, you're going to get that couple inches off the plate. But he did a great job of mixing up his pitches."
It was the second consecutive dominating outing for O'Steen, and it's because of the difference in how quick
ly he is working toward the plate.
Earlier this season, he took twice as long to deliver from the mound than he performed Wednesday.
"(Coaches) told me I was taking too long," said O'Steen about why he changed his pace on the mound. "(I) just throw, catch the ball, take a few seconds and throw again."
Ranch could only muster an unearned run off O'Steen, who racked up seven strikeouts (one per inning) against just one walk and two hits.
Those hits came from Matt Roberts (double) and Andrew Giddens.
Roberts' extra-base hit plated Colton Chupp, who reached on an error in the bottom of the second. Roberts' hit appeared to be a routine flyout, but Eagle's View Academy's centerfielder lost the ball in the lights, and it found the ground.
Roberts was stranded on third, and Ranch never threatened to score again.
"We tell our hitters that we've got to come up with a big hit, and with a guy on third, get him in any way you can," Kennedy said. "... We just couldn't get that big hit when we needed it."
Meanwhile, the Warriors answered Ranch's second-inning run with a run in the top of the third off a sacrifice bunt.
Christian Jones, who scored on the play, reached on the Mustangs' third and final error of the game.