DUNEDIN — It was only fitting for Wednesday's Pinellas County rivalry game between Dunedin and Seminole to end the way it did.
The night started with the retiring of former head coach Tom Hilbert's No. 13 jersey during a ceremony in front of home plate at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. About three hours later, it ended with a wild Dunedin walk-off win in extra innings.
Leadoff hitter Trevor Jensen slammed a Jeffrey Swett offering into the left-center gap for a two-run, game-winning double in the bottom of the eighth that capped an improbable 7-6 come-from-behind win.
“I just wanted to get a pitch to hit,” the junior said after his 4-for-4 night at the plate. “All three at bats I was struggling by getting into two-strike counts and I just tried to put the bat on the ball. That pitch was right there and I put a good swing on it.”
Jensen's hit came four at-bats after sophomore Adrian Comas breathed new life into Dunedin's dugout with a base-clearing, three-run double into the left-field corner.
The Falcons (2-2) entered the home-half of the extra frame trailing 6-2 and deflated from watching Seminole (0-4) post a four-spot and send 10 batters to the plate. But once Justin Glover (hit-by-pitch), Logan Jones (single) and Aaron Turman (walk) opened the inning by loading the bases and Comas followed with his big hit, the scene was set for another dramatic finish on a field that's seen plenty in the past.
“It was almost scripted,” said first-year head coach Ron Sexton. “We talked before the game about winning this one for Coach Hilbert and everything he had established. He talked before the game about the history between these two teams and it was very fitting that it would go extra innings.”
Had Dunedin not pulled off its comeback, the Falcons would've had plenty of what-if moments to look back on.
Baserunning miscues and fielding errors dogged Dunedin from the start. The Falcons grabbed an early 1-0 in the first inning but were limited to the single run because two runners were thrown out on the base paths.
“The first inning we could've exploded but it just happens like it did,” said Jensen, who led the frame off with the first of his four hits and scored the opening run.
The mistakes continued in the top of the third when Dunedin gave Seminole new life with a two-out error that led to Jacob Silverstein's RBI base hit.
In all, Dunedin ran into six outs on the base paths. Seminole catcher Douglas Borgh threw out four attempted base-stealers.
The Falcons responded quickly to Seminole's equalizer in the bottom of the third and it was Jensen that started it once again. The junior led off with a single, stole second, advanced to third on Eric Sexton's fly ball to right and scored on a throwing error.
“I just moved him up to the leadoff spot after our last game to get him more at bats,” Coach Sexton said. “He was hitting in the three hole, but we don't have enough pop in our lineup to afford to end games with him on deck.”
Unable to add to its slim 2-1 lead, Dunedin looked like it would still come away victoriously because of a strong relief-pitching effort from Comas. The sophomore righty took to the hill when starter Eric Sexton was pulled after two perfect, four-strikeout innings. Sexton is less than eight months removed from Tommy John surgery and being eased back into Dunedin's rotation.
Comas went the next five innings and surrendered only two hits and two runs (one earned) while striking out three.
Seminole got to Comas in the seventh, though, without recording a base hit. Cody Miller touched home after leading off with a walk and stealing second. He moved to third on a fly ball to right and scored when Matt Tharp grounded out to second.
That set the stage for both team's eighth-inning theatrics.
Dunedin gets back to .500 with the win and will play at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium again Friday night against Class 5A District 8 opponent Sunlake High.
Seminole finds itself in an unfamiliar place at 0-4 to start the season. The Warhawks are faced with another tough task Friday night when they host Naples Barron Collier.
Sem - 001 000 14 --- 6-4-2
Dun - 101 000 05 --- 7-13-3
WP – Kevin Jones (1-0)
LP – Jeffrey Swett (0-1)
Douglas Borgh – 1-for-4, 1 RBI – Defensive Catching: 4 CS
Jacob Silverstein – 1-for-2, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 SB
Austin Lamoreux – ND, 4.0 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 5 H, 2 K, 0 BB, 1 HBP
Trevor Jensen – 4-for-4, Game-winning hit, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 SB, 1 IBB
Logan Jones – 3-for-4, 1 RBI, 1 R
Adrian Comas – ND, 5.0 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 H, 3 K, 3 BB – 1-for-4, 3 RBI, 1 2B