Chiefland baseball reaches state title game

Published: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 8:40 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 8:40 p.m.

FORT MYERS — Freshman pitcher Trevor Castell scattered nine hits, produced two hits of his own with two RBIs and Tim Reidy scored twice with a pair of hits, including a shot off the left field green monster, as Chiefland beat Panama City Bozeman 4-1 in the Class 1A state semifinals at JetBlue Park, spring training home of the Boston Red Sox.

The Indians (18-7) advance to Thursday’s state final against either Trenton or Bonifay Holmes County, which played Wednesday night.

Chiefland chased Bucks’ eighth-grade starter Michael Cullen, scoring three runs in the second inning off three hits and the first of two Bozeman errors to take the lead. The Indians, who had three errors, also made some outstanding plays in the infield, particularly first baseman Payton Parnell, who dug out several low throws that could have spelled trouble.

“It’s a great feeling, great for these kids,” said Chiefland coach Kyle Parnell, who is in his 15th season. “I’m proud of the way they came out and battled today. They made a few errors here and there, but we made the plays when we had to make them. I’m proud of Trevor, he pitched a great game, a complete game. We had some timely hitting. Proud for these kids to get to experience this.”

The Indians left 11 runners on base, eight in the first three innings. But all that didn’t matter for Chiefland, which in its first state tournament appearance will be playing for its first state title in baseball

“I was certainly hoping it wasn’t going to bite us at the end,” Kyle Parnell said. “We had a lot of opportunities, but that’s a credit to Bozeman and the way their kids played.”

Clayton Smith went 3-for-4 at the plate for the Chiefland and Payton Parnell got on base three of the four times at bat without a hit and had a sacrifice fly to score Reidy in the sixth.

Indians loaded the bases the first three innings, cashing in in the second with Castell’s two out, two-run single to left, scoring James Corbin and Reidy. Kyle Weeks, who opened the second with a single, eventually scored when Cullen attempted a pickoff throw at second base and there was no one there, leading to the game’s first score.

Logan Strausbaugh had three hits for Bozeman (19-10), which lost in the state semifinals for the second straight season.

“I have never been one to get nervous before a game,” Castell said. “Yes, there were nerves, but I’ve pitched a lot. I felt good going into it. I knew my team had my back. I just needed to keep throwing the way I have been.”

Castel had one strikeout and one walk, with the Indians’ defense making a lot of plays in the infield and outfield.

“He hasn’t played like a freshman all year,” Kyle Purnell said. “He’s a big, strong kid who finds the strike zone. We made some plays behind him. When we give him some run support, he is pretty tough.”

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