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Piper Walks Off On South Plantation In District Clash

Piper’s Jorge Vega and South Plantation’s Rhys Friedman staged a pitchers’ duel Tuesday in an 8A-14 contest Tuesday. It came down to the bottom of the seventh as the Bengals walked off on the Paladins 1-0 for their second win in a row.

After an out at first on a dropped third strike, Joe Sallustio reached on an error. Ryan Taylor also reached on error following a strikeout. Enrique Guilbee roped a line-drive single to center field and Sallustio rounded third and came home on the throw to win the game.

Vega pitched a complete game, striking out 10, walking none and allowing three hits, while Friedman struck out seven, walked none and allowed six hits. The pitchers cruised through mostly quick innings, and behind them, the defenses played solidly. In one key play, South Plantation tagged out a Piper runner trying to steal home in the bottom of the second. Vega also came up with a big strikeout in the top of the seventh when South Plantation had two runners on.

John Burke went 2-for-2 to lead the offense for the Bengals (8-2), who can now turn their attention to their top threat in the district, St. Thomas. The teams will square off at 7 p.m. Thursday at St. Thomas. The Raiders are at the top of the district at 3-0, followed closely by Fort Lauderdale, whom the Raiders beat 10-0 Tuesday. The Flying L’s are 3-1, and Piper is third at 2-1. Piper lost 3-0 to Fort Lauderdale on March 2nd.

Piper’s 8-2 start is the continuation of a steady improvement process under second-year manager Pat Pisani. The Bengals improved from 9-13 in 2014 to 12-12 last year.

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