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Venice Holds Off Lakewood Ranch For District 7A-8 Title

The 2024 District 7A-8 champion Venice Indians.

Box Score

The Venice Indians have some new hardware to add to the team trophy case… if they can find any space for it.

Thursday night, Venice battled for a 3-1 victory over the Lakewood Ranch Mustangs to win the District 7A-8 championship. It is the team’s first title since the 2021 season, and the 16th overall during the 26-year tenure of Manager Craig Faulkner. Venice (24-3) also advances to the regional playoffs, where it will host the Winter Haven Blue Devils (16-9) on Tuesday night.

As has been the case all season, the pitching set the tone for the Indians. Carter Cox made the start and delivered five scoreless innings to earn his tenth win of the year. The left-hander allowed a hit and two walks, and also hit a batter, while striking out three. Nate Winterhalter closed out the final two frames to earn the save, surrendering an earned run on two hits and two walks, with two strikeouts.

Venice plated two runs in the bottom of the third that were the difference, and added a valuable insurance run in the fourth. After August Backman reached on a fielder’s choice sacrifice bunt, Brady Schumaker laced a shot to center and raced around the bases for an RBI triple. David Dubrule then reached on an error that plated Schumaker, and Jonny Mauro drove in Michael O’Connell with an RBI ground out in the fourth.

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