Strawberry Crest’s dugout cheers as senior Joey Parrillo goes all Pete Rose with the headfirst slide in the Chargers’ 6-run sixth inning. 

By Bob Bellone

BRANDON – Strawberry Crest managed to get on the scoreboard only one inning in two games this month against Bloomingdale. But what an inning it was during a 6-1 victory Monday in Saladino Tournament pool play.

Bulls senior Myles Caba, who led a 5-0 road win against the Chargers on March 6, took another shutout bid into the sixth inning of their rematch. Suddenly, he was chased from the mound amid a six-run, Chargers’ outburst.


Bloomingdale starting pitcher Myles Caba. 
Chargers senior Joey Parrillo knocks a two-run single to
break things open for Strawberry Crest.

Ryan Dell touched off the rally with a leadoff single. He advanced two bases on a hit by Ben Pues, who took second on the throw to third. A wild pitch then tied the score, a base on balls and a two-run single by Joey Parrillo prompted a call to the bullpen for fellow left-hander Dylan Martin.

“Caba’s tough on us,” Chargers coach Eric Beattie said. “He’s a really good pitcher. We finally got to him.”

Martin brought instant relief with two quick outs, but Strawberry Crest (6-2) responded with an infield single, a hit batter and a two-run double by Tanner Kelley to close the scoring.

“It was fun. We didn’t want it to stop,” Kelley said. “That’s why we just kept pounding, foot on the gas the whole time.”

Bloomingdale (5-3) got its run in the bottom of the first. Bryce Hazzard led off with a stand-up double and worked his way home on a flyout and a groundout to the right side by Jackson Hobbs. The Bulls squandered other scoring chances, leaving the bases loaded twice in the last three innings.

Jacob Heath was called upon to thwart the final threat, taking the mound with the bases full and none out in the seventh. The senior right-hander responded by striking out the top three batters in the order.

“I was relieved,” Heath said. “That’s a tough lineup to get through. Probably one of the hardest in all of the county.”

Strawberry Crest’s Jacob Heath moved from second to the mound in a big, bases loaded threat and finished off the win with three strikeouts in a row. 

Heath had been clamoring for such an opportunity.

“He’s been telling me he was ready to go, ready to go. He’s been telling me for a couple of weeks,” Beattie said. “We found a good opportunity to get him in there, and he took advantage of it.”

Bulls coach Kris Wilken tipped his hat to the victors.

“This game, to me, really came down to a bunch of one-on-one battles,” he said. “Their kids were very mentally tough and won those battles, and it ended up being the outcome of this game.”

Both teams posted abbreviated 10-run victories in their tournament openers Saturday – Strawberry Crest against Chamberlain, and Bloomingdale at the expense of host Brandon. Those matchups will flip Tuesday with the Bulls and Chiefs squaring off at 4 p.m., followed by the Chargers and Eagles at 7.

– Bob Bellone, with nearly a half-century of experience in sports journalism, is in his second season with

Bloomingdale catcher Brock Wilken applies a tag for an out at the plate.