Pinellas claims 2-1 win over Hillsborough at the Trop

Photo essay by Jarrett Guthrie, Editor

ST. PETERSBURG – A battle of some of the Bay Area’s top pitching held things tight as Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties high school seniors squared off in the annual Tampa Bay Rays-hosted Senior All-Star Game, with the squad from the 727 rallying in the fourth for a 2-1 victory against the 813 team.

Click here for our full photo gallery from this game.

Tropicana Field played host to Monday’s game giving the seniors a chance to showcase their skills on a Major League diamond, the pregame warmup allowing players the chance to get used to the bright lights and domed roof.

Lennard outfielder Mattie Counts and East Bay’s Shawn Dowe watch the Pinellas All-Star’s infield-outfield prior to the game. 

Durant senior pitcher Blaine Rowland goes through his pregame routine.

Hollins first baseman Josh Castellani shares some laughs with his throwing partner in pregame long toss. 

Bloomingdale senior Cooper Hinson.

In the right field corner, Northeast catcher Nick Biddle Jr. (Hofstra) warms up.

Calvary Christian’s Carson Brady (right) and Jace Kohler (center) share a laugh, with East Lake’s Daniel Spicher alongside.

Sumner pitcher and first baseman Anthony Jacquez. 

Osceola outfielder Cord Gerdes.

The game also added one more chance for a few teammates to take the field together, including Plant’s Rocco DeMarinis (left) and James Leach.

East Lake outfielder and pitcher Jayden Harriel.

And it’s not just the senior players enjoying the chance to walk on the field where baseball’s biggest stars play …

West Coast Umpire Association officials for the game (L to R): Jordan Peterson, John Rosick, Paul Kutcher, and Josué Torres.

Seminole Warhawks baseball announcer Brad Richardson provided the PA duties for the game. 

The game also provided one last time in uniform for Hillsborough County’s winningest baseball coach John Crumbley, who announced his retirement two weeks ago after amassing an 818-282 record, winning four state titles (Jesuit – 1993, 1997, 2000; Steinbrenner – 2016), and earning Hall of Fame induction from the Florida High School Athletic Association and Florida Athletic Coaches Association.

The game got going for Hillsborough as Jesuit’s DJ Pirela (FGCU signee) smashed a double to the left-center gap.

Jesuit centerfielder DJ Pirela led off the game with a double.

But Pinellas starting pitcher Cory Geinzer (Northeast) worked around the double and a walk in the first inning with a pair of strikeouts.

Northeast righty Cory Geinzer. 

Tampa Catholic senior and Columbia signee Alex Sotiropoulos allowed the first two Pinellas batters to reach in the home-first (walk and safe on a fielder’s choice) before picking up a strikeout and getting a double play behind him started by shortstop Cameron Mallo (Jefferson).

Tampa Catholic righty Alex Sotiropoulos. 

Jefferson shortstop Cameron Mallo (Presbyterian signee).

Tampa Catholic second baseman Hershey Sanchez (Eckerd College) steps on the bag for an out.

A single from Lennard’s Mattie Counts and a walk to Seffner Christian’s Addy Scott put two aboard in the second for Hillsborough, but Geinzer worked his second scoreless inning.

Lennard OF Mattie Counts (USF).

Seffner Christian outfielder and national home run leader (tied with six others across the country with 14 homers).

Sumner’s Anthony Jacquez got three groundball outs in the second, stranding Calvary Christian’s Jace Kohler aboard after his single through the left side.

Sumner righty Anthony Jacquez (Hillsborough CC signee) allowed one single in his inning on the mound. 

Calvary Christian’s Jace Kohler (High Point) was 1-for-1, with a walk for Pinellas.

Seminole’s Kendall Hoffman worked a 1-2-3 third, before Durant’s Blaine Rowland dominated his inning with three strikeouts.

Seminole righty Kendall Hoffman (Houston commit).

Durant righty Blaine Rowland (Florida).

Our 813Preps 2024 baseball season started with a thrilling 1-0 victory for Durant over Sickles as these two seniors (Cougars righty Blaine Rowland & Sickles righty Cameron Guise) squared off in a combined five-hitter. It was great to see them share this moment after Rowland’s second K of the third inning.

Palm Harbor 1B Alex Walker fields a groundball for an out in the third. 

After three scoreless innings, Hillsborough found some luck in the fourth. Bloomingdale’s Cooper Hinson walked to lead the inning off, moved to third on a hit-and-run groundout by Lennard’s Mattie Counts. Tampa Catholic’s Ethan Frame flared a line drive toward second base and Hinson went for the plate. A bit of confusion as the umpires met and determined that the ball hit the ground before the catch and Hinson scored the game’s first run.

Bloomingdale senior Cooper Hinson (Marshall) takes his lead off of first base after drawing a leadoff walk in the fourth.

Tarpon Springs 1B Davis Weepler (West Virginia Wesleyan) stretches for a catch on Mattie Counts hit-and-run at-bat. 

Ethan Frame (Pensacola State) lines a ball to the right side of the infield, driving in Cooper Hinson and reaching on a fielder’s choice. 

Jefferson’s Cameron Copple (Indiana University of Pennsylvania) followed Frame’s single, but the latter was thrown out trying to stretch things to third base. 

Palm Harbor’s Cole Huddleston (Flagler) drops down a tag on Frame at third base. 

Copple, who took second on the throw to get Frame at third, reached third on a wild pitch, but Hillsborough couldn’t bring in a second run in the fourth.

The Hillsborough lead was short-lived as Pinellas scored a pair in the home-fourth. Kohler led off with a walk and was moved to second on a Josh Castellani single thru the left side. Kohler would score on a wild pitch and Jayden Harriel (reached on a fielder’s choice) would score on an error to give his team the deciding tally.

Jayden Harriel (Florida Atlantic) is all smiles as he crosses the plate on an error to give Pinellas the lead. 

Plant’s Rocco DeMarinis allowed one earned run in his inning of work. 

From there the game played scoreless the final five innings. Here are a few more standout moments:

PHU’s Jackson Walford (Auburn University at Montgomery) worked around a walk and an error behind him for a scoreless frame. 

After stepping on second base, East Lake shortstop Daniel Spicher (Tallahassee CC) throws to first base to complete a double play.

Jesuit’s DJ Pirela was another runner to reach third base that Hillsborough couldn’t find a way to bring in. 

Jefferson righty Mikey Marroquin (Presbyterian) issued a walk and had a runner reach on an error, but held Pinellas scoreless while striking out one. 

Northeast’s Jayden Cannizzaro takes his lead off first base after walking, with Anthony Jacquez keeping him close.

Steinbrenner MIF/C Jorge Romero (Lynn) brings in a shallow pop fly to end the inning and strand a runner at third. 

A cue-shot from Alonso’s Carson Vega (Newberry College) spun toward the left side allowing him to reach on an infield single to start the sixth. 

Seminole lefty Landon Austin allowed a single, but got out of the inning without further damage thanks to a pair of groundball outs. 

Plant backstop James Leach (Santa Fe) heads out to the dish. 

Sickles RHP Carter LeBlanc (Hillsborough CC) struck out a pair in a 1-2-3 sixth inning.

Dunedin’s Jack Johnson (Lake Sumter CC) struck out a pair, and left the bases loaded in the seventh. Johnson would return to the mound and fire a 1-2-3 inning in the eighth.

Scary moment as Newsome’s Cash Peterson was hit by a pitch in the helmet. 

St. Petersburg C Tommy Grew makes a catch for a force out at the plate as Blaine Rowland (reached on a dropped strike three) starts his slide. 

Lennard’s Zack Bird (Greensboro College) walked one in his scoreless seventh. 

Durant SS Nick April-Gath (Virginia Commentwealth) brings in a chopper before throwing to second for a force out. 

Hillsborough County head coach Paul Russo Jr. (Tampa Catholic) watches from the third-base coaching box. 

Hillsborough High righty Aiden Morales walked the leadoff in the home-eighth, but picked off the runner trying to steal second base, before recording a K and getting a pop out to face the minimum in his inning of work. 

Nick April-Gath drops down a tag on a stealing runner.

A little confusion on the right side of the infield between first baseman Anthony Jacquez and Jorge Romero, but Romero was able to bring in the catch to retire the side. 

Jayden Harriel worked a scoreless ninth with a pair of walks. 

Newsome’s Cash Peterson takes a lead off first after walking. 

The Hillsborough bench tries to bring some energy in the final inning after their team put two runners aboard. 

Cameron Guise (Lipscomb) worked a 1-2-3 inning, including making a great play over his shoulder on a blooper behind the mound. 

The postgame handshake line.

Click here for our full photo gallery from this game.