If you were counting the number of pitchers used in yesterday's Florida-Severn baseball game at Saw Mill Creek Park, Severn Post 276 had a 4-to-1 advantage over the visitors from Coral Gables.
Unfortunately, it's not a good sign when a team has to use that many pitchers, as was the case in Severn's 8-4 loss to Florida in the Continental Amateur Baseball Association 18-and-under World Series game.
While Florida left-hander Ralph Suarez went the distance, scattering eight hits to go with two walks and two strikeouts, opposing coach Willie Dominguez watched his four hurlers get blasted for 14 hits, with two walks and no strikeouts.
The loss evened the records of the two teams at 2-2 in the six-team Division II. The top four teams qualify for Saturday's championship playoffs, where they'll face the top four Division I teams in a six-day, double-elimination tournament.
"Our pitching was off, that's all," said Dominguez, whose squad entered the game tied for second place with Newark, Ohio. Both trailed division leader Washington (3-1).
"Usually, we can hit anyone and anything -- junk, or whatever," said Dominguez. "I thought we were going to win tonight, but I have no excuses, other than that our players just did not perform."
But Suarez did perform for Florida.
"We knew they could hit the ball," said Suarez, a 6-foot, 170-pounder. "I just tried to keep them off balance, going in and out."
Severn played Ohio at 8 p.m. last night [past the Anne Arundel County Sun's deadline] and is scheduled to complete an unfinished game against Washington today at 11 a.m. Severn had a 6-5 lead in the second inning of Tuesday's game when it was halted because of rain.
Yesterday, it was Suarez -- and more specifically his curveball -- that halted Severn, as Florida turned a 1-0 second-inning deficit into an 8-1 lead entering the seventh.
"You saw him use the curveball to get ahead of the batters. They got a few hits, but mostly they hit ground balls and pop-ups," said Florida coach Orlando Castro, whose squad entered the game tied with Nevada for the second-to-last place, in front of winless Reisterstown.
"If we were throwing fastballs, they would have been hitting us more. But [Suarez] kept it kind of slow and kept changing the pace," said Castro. "I had scouted them very well, so I knew they had power hitters, but so do we."
With the majority of its players from Gable South High, the district and regional champion with a 26-5 record, the team's offense established a rhythm behind hitters like Hector Nardo (2-for-3, two RBI, one run scored), Elicier Marrero (2-for-3, one run), Albert Valdes (2-for-3, one walk, one RBI, one run) and Mike Lowell (2-for-4, one RBI, one run).
Florida left fielder Jeff Rodriguez went 1-for-2, with a walk and one RBI.
Suarez, meanwhile, continued to baffle Severn batters.
"This guy wasn't anything tough, and I don't know why we weren't hitting him," said Severn's Chad O'Brien, who went 2-for-3 with an RBI. "Nobody seemed like they were into the game. I think we took them too lightly."
Severn went up, 1-0, after Donnie Shump singled, then scored two outs later when third baseman Marc Rodriguez cleanly fielded Derek Hasslehoff's grounder, but overthrew second base trying to get K.C. Murphy.
Severn tried to rally, but fell short in the seventh after consecutive run-scoring singles by Joy Hoyer and Mike O'Brien were followed by Chad O'Brien's two-out sacrifice fly.
Suarez walked the next batter, but got Russ Curry for the game's final out on a come-backer.
"It seemed like we were all waiting for someone to come around, but we picked the last inning to do it and that was too late," said Chad O'Brien.