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Behind Coumoulos' cloud burst, Spring Hill earns summer's third state title

Hernando Today Correspondent

Published:   |   Updated: August 3, 2013 at 06:36 PM

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Everyday objects like clouds in the sky are separated into four classifications.

One of the most common is Cumulonimbus.

Cumulonimbus (from the Latin cumulus (heap) and nimbus (cloud) is a dense towering vertical cloud associated with thunderstorms and atmospheric instability - something Floridians deal with frequently, particularly during the summer rainy season.

On Wednesday during the Dixie Senior Boys (age 14) All-Stars State Baseball Championship at the City of Sebring's Max Long Baseball Complex, a (Paul) Coumoulos cloud of instability rained down on West Seminole.

Leading 5-3 and facing the bases loaded with nobody out in the bottom of seventh inning, West Seminole's third pitcher, Michael Cheraquoi, was asked to extricate his team from a mess.

But on a subsequent 1-1 offering, Spring Hill's Coumoulos rained on West Seminole's upset bid by launching a grand slam homer to right field over the 305-foot fences for a hard-to-duplicate state championship walk-off win, 7-5.

Behind Coumoulos' second homer of the game, Spring Hill (6-0 states, 10-0 overall) not only captured the five-day, 12-team 39th annual tourney in dramatic fashion, but earned a trip to represent Florida on Aug. 3-8 in Seneca, S.C.

"Paul's hit was a no-doubter," beamed Spring Hill skipper Shawn Laferty, who captured his third Dixie Baseball state championship to tie Brooksville's Tim Sims for the county high. "We went into the seventh down (5-2); all I told the kids to do was be patient. That helped calm them all down.

"Once West Seminole took their off-speed guy out in the sixth, we started getting better looks," recalled Coach Laferty.

Laferty attempted to pinpoint the reasons for his team's continued success, "This (state championship run) started last year when we lost to Sebring (8-7). They were the two-time World Series champs, and we had them beaten and gave them the state title. It's something this group never forgot."

On comparing districts to states, "We had three guys from the 'Bomb Squad' that hit homers in Sebring who didn't hit one in Brooksville," noted Coach Laferty. "The biggest thing I heard from opposing coaches was how tough our lineup was 1-9 - and that there's no one to pitch around."

Laferty said he was most proud of "How the kids played. This team isn't about 1-2 guys. It's great when you don't have to rely on a couple (of) guys. It really helps take the pressure off when we get contributions from up and down the lineup."

The other Hernando County team in the event, Brooksville, finished 2-2.

Coach Ed Ritter's nine, who finished third after being outscored, 30-12, in District 6 Tourney in Brooksville, opened on the wrong foot of a 12-0 shutout at the hands of Avon Park.

Ritter's club bounced back to trim Sumter County (12-2) and longtime nemesis Bartow (10-7) before being ousted by West Seminole, 8-5.

In recapping the tourney for the state champs, southpaw Noah Siem, who was "off" in Brooksville, captured the first of two state victories in the opener against Key West, 18-0 (5 innings).

Siem, who departed after two frames ahead 12-0, allowed one hit and one free pass against six strikeouts.

Brett Maharaj hurled the next two scoreless frames yielding three hits while notching two punch-outs.

Trevor Vendrone hurled the final scoreless inning allowing one walk.

At the plate in a 12-hit attack, Siem, Coumoulos, Luke Laferty and Stephen Bienstock each rapped a team-high two safeties.

Luke Laferty rapped an RBI double highlighting a five-run first inning and scored three runs.

Bienstock sparkled with a two-run single in the first, a two-run double in the fifth and a bases-loaded walk to force home a run in the seven-run second inning. He finished with a game-high five runs batted and plated three runs.

Coumoulos finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two runs batted in.

Siem went 2-for-2 with two RBI and game-high four runs scored.

Spring Hill crushed West Seminole in Game 2 behind the first of two state no-hitters, 15-1.

On the hill, Dominic Marrone left after three frames ahead, 11-0. The hard-throwing right-hander did not issue a walk and fanned five.

Bienstock replaced Marrone and twirled the final two innings, yielding one run (unearned run in the bottom of the fifth) on one walk against three Ks.

In Spring Hill's 16-hit parade, Luke Laferty, Bienstock, Marrone. Morgan Ashton, Zach Lawrence and Robert Bunyon each rapped two hits.

Bienstock finished 2-for-3 highlighted by a three-run triple in a five-run third inning, plus an RBI double in the fourth and two runs scored.

Ashton enjoyed an RBI double highlighting a six-run second inning, along with a two-run double in a four-run fourth.

Luke Laferty went 2-for-3 with an RBI double in the fourth and plated two runs.

In Game 3, Spring Hill jumped out to 5-0 cushion after two frames to never look back against District 6 runner-up Wildwood, 12-3.

Coumoulos (1-0) started on the mound and went the first 2 2/3 innings permitting one run on two hits and three free passes against four Ks.

Maharaj replaced Coumoulos and hurled the next 2 1/3 frames yielding two runs on one hit against two strikeouts.

Luke Laferty worked the final two scoreless frames not allowing a hit against three punch-outs.

Of Spring Hill's 11 hits, Nick Nguyen, Ashton and Marrone led the winners with two safeties apiece.

Ashton clubbed an RBI in the first while Nguyen and Marrone combined for three runs batted in.

Luke Laferty finished 1-for-3 with a two-run homer to left-center in a three-run second inning and scored three runs.

Bienstock also went 1-for-3 with a solo dinger to right-center in the fourth and scored two runs.

Siem was spectacular in Game 4 behind a five-inning, 72-pitch no-hit shutout over host Sebring, 10-0 (5 innings).

Siem (2-0) permitted three free passes against a tourney-high 10 strikeouts.

In a game which Spring Hill was limited to six hits, Bienstock paced the winners with a 2-for-3 effort with two runs scored.

In a three-run third inning, Bunyon (single) and Luke Laferty (double) reached before Siem helped his own cause with a three-run homer to right-center. After a Bienstock single, Ashton ripped an RBI triple to right field, 4-0.

In a turn-out-the-lights six-run fifth inning, Luke Laferty walked before Bienstock launched a two-run homer to center field.

Avon Park, which trailed 7-0 after 2 1/2 innings, lost Game 5, 12-4.

Marrone (2-0) couldn't quite finish the game, working 6 2/3 innings before tiring out. Marrone yielded four runs on nine hits and one walk against five strikeouts.

Maharaj wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh behind one pitch.

Coumoulos, Marrone, Siem and Luke Laferty each smacked two of Spring Hill's 11 hits.

Coumoulos finished 2-for-3 with a solo homer in a three-run fifth inning to right-center and plated three runs.

Marrone enjoyed RBI doubles in the second and in the seventh.

Siem's efforts featured a two-run homer in the second to center plus an RBI single in the fifth.

Luke Laferty tied Coumoulos with three runs scored.

Recapping the title game against West Seminole, Bunyon hurled the first five innings and departed trailing, 4-2. Bunyon permitted four runs on seven hits and two walks against six strikeouts.

Lawrence (1-0) worked the final two frames, permitting one run on two hits, and did not issue a walk against one punch-out.

Spring Hill opened the lucky seventh against West Seminole's second pitcher, Kevin Rios.

Siem was plunked on a 3-2 offering before advancing to second base on a wild pitch.

Bienstock, who finished 2-for-3 along with Coumoulos, walked bringing up Ashton. Up to this point Ashton had struggled fanning thrice in his first three at-bats.

This time, Ashton laced a clutch RBI double to right-center to plate Siem to whittle the score to 5-3.

Cheraquoi replaced Rios and immediately walked Marrone to load the sacks setting the stage for Coumoulos' cloud burst.

2013 Dixie Senior Boys (age 14) All-Stars State Baseball Championship

at the City of Sebring's Max Long Baseball Complex

Hardee County 17, Havana 2 (5 Innings)
Wildwood 12, Mulberry 7 (6½)
West Seminole 4, Bartow 0
Spring Hill 18, Key West 0 (5)
Avon Park 12, Brooksville 0
Sebring 13, Sumter County 1

Havana 12, Mulberry 8
Bartow 8, Key West 6
Brooksville 13, Sumter County 2
Wildwood 16, Hardee County 12
Spring Hill 15, West Seminole 1
Sebring 12, Avon Park 2

West Seminole 10, Hardee County 0 (4½)
Brooksville 10, Bartow 7
Avon Park 18, Havana 5
Spring Hill 12, Wildwood 3

West Seminole 8, Brooksville 5 
Avon Park 14, Wildwood 4
Spring Hill 10, Sebring 0 (6)
West Seminole 5, Sebring 4
Spring Hill 12, Avon Park 4

Spring Hill 7, West Seminole 5 (6½)

2013 Final Dixie Senior Boys (age 14) All-Stars State Baseball Tournament Standings

at the City of Sebring's Max Long Baseball Complex
- Compiled by TONY CASTRO
1. Spring Hill*   6 0     1.000 74 13
2. West Seminole  4 2 .667 33 31
3. Avon Park   3 2 .600 50 33
4. Wildwood   2 2 .500 35 45
4. Sebring   2 2 .500 29 18
4. Brooksville   2 2 .500 28 29
7. Hardee County  1 2 .333 29 28
7. Havana   1 2 .333 22 37
7. Bartow    1 2 .333 15 20
10. Mulberry   0 2 .000 15 24 
10. Key West   0 2 .000 06 26
10. Sumter County  0 2 .000 03 26  
TOTALS (12)   22 22 .500 
* Advances to Aug. 3-7 12-team World Series at Seneca, SC.

Past Florida Dixie Senior Boys (age 14) State Champions
1975   Larsen Center
1976  Northeast Pensacola
1977  Northeast Pensacola
1978  Medulla
1979  Lynn Haven
1980  Lynn Haven
1981  Pensacola
1982  Brent
1983  Brent
1984  Lynn Haven
1985  Lynn Haven
1986  Northeast Pensacola
1987  Lynn Haven
1988  Eagle Lake
1989  Pensacola-Pace
1990  Northeast Pensacola
1991  Northeast Pensacola
1992  Calhoun County
1993  Marianna
1994  Marianna
1995  Marianna
1996  Sebring
1997  Marianna
1998  Bartow
1999  Pensacola-Bellview
2000  Bartow
2001  Sebring
2002  Panama City-Southport
2003  Sumter County
2004  Sebring
2005  Avon Park
2006  West Volusia
2007  Panama City-Southport
2008  Spring Hill
2009  West Seminole
2010  West Seminole
2011  West Seminole
2012  Winter Haven-Florida Baseball Academy
2013  Spring Hill

Previous Hernando County Dixie Baseball State Champions (1983-2013)
- Compiled by TONY CASTRO

1983  Brooksville Majors (ages 17-19)  n/a       Ernie Chatman
1993  Brooksville Pre-Majors (ages 15-16)  n/a   Tim Sims
2000  Brooksville Majors (ages 17-19)  n/a   Tim Sims
2005  Brooksville Pre-Majors (ages 15-16)  4 1 .800 Tim Sims
2005  Spring Hill National AAA Minors (10-U) 7 1 .875 David Smith
2008  Spring Hill Senior Boys (age 14)  5 1 .833 Mike Sollazzo
2008  Spring Hill American AAA Majors (11-12)  6 1 .857 Shawn Laferty 
2010  Spring Hill National AAA Majors (11-12) 6 0     1.000 Al Sorrentino
2010  Spring Hill Pre-Majors (ages 15-16)  4 1 .800 Frank Vitale
2011  Spring Hill National AAA Majors (11-12) 7 0     1.000 Shawn Laferty
2011  Spring Hill Junior Boys (age 13)  5 0     1.000 Jeff Hamilton
2013 ## Spring Hill 15-Under     3 1 .750 Anthony DiSciascio 
2013  Spring Hill American AAA Minors (10-U) 6 0     1.000 Erik Andress
2013  Spring Hill Senior Boys (age 14)  6 0     1.000 Shawn Laferty   
TOTALS (11)        -14-
## Denotes co-state champions with Winter Haven

2013 Spring Hill Senior Boys (age 14) All-Stars
1 Stephen Bienstock* SS/OF
2 Bodhi Sbashnig* RF/2B
3 Luke Laferty*  SS/C/2B/P
4 Logan Ross*  CF/2B
5 Brett Maharaj  CF/LF
7 Noah Siem*  P/1B/RF
9 Trevor Vendrone* P/LF/3B
13 Robert Bunyon* P/LF/3B
23 Morgan Ashton 3B/SS/2B
24 Paul Coumoulos P/CF/3B
25 Dominic Marrone* 1B/P/3B 
28 Nick Nguyen*  C/RF
77 Zack Lawrence* C/3B
* Denotes 2012 Junior Boys all-star
Head Coach - Shawn Laferty
Assistant Coach - Tony Siem Assistant Coach - Dale Ashton

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