Saturday, March 10, 2012

Prep baseball: 7A-District 11 will be interesting down the stretch

(photo by Paul Videla) Trevor Beeman and the Manatee Hurricanes may have been on the tail end of a 9-1 score Friday night at Braden River, but they control their own destiny following the first round of district play in potent Class 7A-District 11.
The loss dropped the Canes (6-3 overall) to 4-1 in district play, though they still own a one-game lead over Sarasota (3-2) and Venice (3-2). Braden River and Charlotte are each 2-3, though the Tarpons defeated the Pirates, and Port Charlotte is 1-4.
A six-team district means the top-two seeds receive a bye into the semifinals, which they would host. Manatee earned such a luxury last year, hosting the Class 5A-District 10 semifinal and final and winning both en route to the state final four.
Here are some key district games on the way involving the district's two county teams:
Venice at Manatee, March 30: The rivals meet during this week's Sarasota Baseball Classic in a non-district game. The March 30th affair, however, will have more serious ramifications. Manatee won the first meeting behind ace Correlle Prime, who has pitched well against the Indians throughout his career, and the lanky right could see Venice again.
Sarasota at Braden River, April 1o: Don't sleep on the Pirates, who cruised past the Canes on Friday, beat the Sailors earlier this year and lost by a run to Venice. Veteran coach Mike Verrill, currently in his first season at Braden River, has the Pirates playing well. And a win here over Sarasota could give them a higher seed, and perhaps a first-round home game, come district play.
Braden River at Manatee, April 5: The action shifts to G.T. Bray for what will be Manatee's final district game of the regular season. A lot can happen between now and then, but this game should have some relevance on the district playoffs, which begin April 24.

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