SEMINOLE — Shaun Whitcomb had the game-winning hit — a single that scored Ashton Fedorek in the bottom of the eighth inning — to lift Seminole to a 2-1 win against East Lake in their Class 8A region semifinal on Saturday.
Fedorek got on base when he reached by a fielder’s choice, then stole second base with two outs. Whitcomb, facing East Lake reliever Tanner Goswick, ripped a pitch to leftfield and Fedorek raced home and into a mob of teammates behind home plate.
“He was throwing a lot of off-speed pitches so I was waiting him out and trying to get the right pitch,” Whitcomb said. “I just wanted to stay patient and make sure I got a good swing.”
The Warhawks (14-14) will play Plant City in the region final on Wednesday at Seminole. Plant City beat Plant, 3-2, on Saturday.
East Lake (24-4) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fifth inning when Paul Phillips led off the inning with a triple to rightfield and would eventually score on a sacrifice fly from Harrison Rossi.
Seminole came back in the bottom of the fifth as Whitcomb led off the inning with a double off East Lake starter Ryan Slater.
“Shaun is swinging one of the hottest bats in the county,” Warhawks coach Rob Ciaravino said.
Slater struck out Jean Ovalles and Michael Ridge, but Victor Clanzy reached back on an infield single to put runners at the corners and Tyler Strickland looped a single to leftfield that Whitcomb scored on to tie it up.
“We knew Ryan was going to be tough and he was but we kept battling and waiting for his fastball to slow down a little,” Ciaravino said. “As the game went on our at-bats got better and we started getting the barrel on some balls.”
East Lake threatened again in the sixth inning. Sean Murray led off the inning with a bloop single and Lucas Ismaili chased Seminole starter Jett McHugh with a one-out hit that he stretched into a double to get runners at second and third with one out. After issuing an intentional walk to Parker Opie, Warhawks reliever Noah Palmese struck out Slater and retired Phillips on a deep flyball to the warning track in right-center.
Palmese gave up just one hit and struck out four in 2 2/3 innings of relief. Slater went 7 1/3 innings and struck out nine.
“This is the fourth time we played East Lake and we won the last one (6-1 in the 8A-7 district championship game) but that doesn’t mean much in baseball,” Ciaravino said. “But this group has gotten more confident as the season has went on. This was a great win.”
Games at 7 p.m. Wednesday
8A: Plant City at Seminole
8A: Tallahassee Chiles at Strawberry Crest
7A: Osceola at Venice
7A: Viera at Leto
6A: Cape Coral Mariner at Dunedin
6A: Dunnellon at Jesuit
5A: Melbourne CC at Lakewood