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Venice Uses Big Inning To Blank Palmetto Ridge

Games are won and lost by the big inning many times. Such was the case Wednesday night when Venice put its all into an eight-run third inning to beat Palmetto Ridge 8-0 in a 7A regional quarterfinal.

The Indians (23-5) also got a strong pitching performance from Caleb Williams, who allowed two hits and struck out six in six innings, helping Venice advance to host Naples in a regional semifinal Tuesday.

“Caleb Williams was the best he has been this year, walking no one and commanding three pitches,” Venice manager Craig Faulkner said.

Rylee Buckmaster smacked the ball over the right-field fence for home run to lead off the third. Tyler Gardner laid down a basic bunt that turned into a triple with an error throw to first, and Brent Killam’s base hit knocked him in. Scott Dubrule got a base hit, and two batters later, the hitting continued with a single by Mitch Donofrio to load the bases. Joe Kinker walked, allowing Killam to score, and Shane Shifflett followed with a single, bringing Dubrule. A walk by Trevor Holloway plated Donofrio. Buckmaster’s walk produced another run as Kinker crossed home. Gardner reached on a sacrifice fly, allowing Shifflett to score, and Killam’s sacrifice fly brought home Holloway.

“We played long ball and used our short game to create a lot of havoc on the field, which led to an a big inning,” Faulkner said.

Faulkner said Tuesday’s match-up with Venice will be a challenge, but one that he welcomes.

“Naples has a very good baseball team,” Faulkner said. “We expect to see their left-hander, and we are looking forward to hosting them at Venice High School. Their pitcher throws a lot of strikes, and they have a lot of strong hitters. It will be a great match-up and a great baseball game to watch.”

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