Tampa Prep takes mid-game control in region quarter win
Tampa Prep senior Will Sotiropoulos pitched six innings in the Terrapins shutout win against Bishop Verot, earning his eighth win of the season (photos by Jess Zanca).
By Rick Cantor
TAMPA – Tampa Prep senior Will Sotiropoulos tossed six scoreless innings and the Terrapins exploded for five runs in the fourth inning to defeat Fort Myers Bishop Verot, 6-0 in a 3A Region 2 Quarterfinal contest at Shimburg Field on Wednesday night.
Tampa Prep (18-8) had chances early in the game to jump out to a lead, but stranded a pair of runners in the first inning, and left the bases loaded in the bottom of the second. Similarly, the Vikings had runners aboard in three of the first four innings as Sotiropoulos and his counterpart on Verot junior right-hander Aidan Knaack worked their way out of jams in each frame.
Tampa Prep freshman Christian Sheffield scores a run in the fourth inning (photos by Jess Zanca).
The Terps made their move in the bottom of the fourth when sophomore Ignacio Gonzalez (2-for-3, walk, run scored) led off the inning with the first of his two doubles in the game to spark the big inning.
After Roger Haughey (2-for-2, walk, run scored) ripped a single to right and stole second, LaPlace Sallis reached on a dropped third strike to load the bases. Up next Sotiropoulos helped his own cause with an RBI walk and Ty Jones followed with a sacrifice fly for a two-run lead and the rally was on.
Next up was Noah Sheffield, whose swinging bunt was misplayed by the pitcher allowing another run to come home. Cleanup hitter Jaden Holder followed with an RBI single to left. Holder was then picked off attempting to steal second but bought just enough time in a rundown to allow Sheffield to score.
When the dust settled on the frenetic inning Tampa Prep held a five-run lead.
“My approach was to look for a ball in the middle of the plate and just start a rally,” said Gonzalez. “I wanted to hype my teammates up. It was a sigh of relief to get the first run home because close games like this are tense.”
The five runs were more than enough for Sotiropoulos (6 IP, four hits, seven strikeouts), who kept Bishop Verot from getting the big hit with a mix of well-placed fastballs and sliders.
“It was my first playoff game so I had some nerves, but my approach was to mix my pitches and be smart so I could go as long as I could in the game,” said Sotiropoulos. “Once we got the runs, I was able to relax a little bit. I knew my defense was there to back me up the moment a ball goes into play.”
With the victory, the Terrapins earn a trip to the region Semifinals and a matchup against Lakeland Christian on Saturday night at 7 p.m.
⚾ Class 3A-Region 2 ⚾
Tampa Prep 6
Ft. Myers Bishop Verot 0
BV 000|000|0 – |0|6|2
TP 000|501|x – |6|8|0
W – Sotiropoulos (8-2); L – Knaak (4-3)
2B – Gonzalez 2 (TP). Records – BV (16-11); TP (18-8).