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Radloff hurls Lakewood Ranch HS into Regional Semi-Finals
Written by Doug Fernandes and Dennis Maffezzoli on May 10, 2023 | Herald-Tribune

Class 7A-Region 2 quarterfinal

Lakewood Ranch 6, Winter Haven 1

LAKEWOOD RANCH - The host Lakewood Ranch Mustangs broke open a scoreless tie with six runs in the fifth inning and went on to a 6-1 victory over Winter Haven on Wednesday night in a Class 7A-Region 2 quarterfinal baseball game.

The win moved the Mustangs’ record to 19-7 and put them in a regional semifinal game Saturday night at 7 against top-seeded Plant, which beat Sarasota 14-2 on Wednesday night in another 7A quarterfinal game. The loss ended the Blue Devils’ season at 19-8.

The victory went to Mustang starter Lochlan Radloff, who pitched the complete-game win, allowing the one Winter Haven run, which was unearned. Blue Devil starter Bubba Miller took the loss.

Lakewood Ranch takeaways

Mustang head coach Colton Chupp couldn’t say enough good things about his starter, junior left-hander Lochlan Radloff, who pitched a complete game, allowing four Winter Haven hits and one unearned run. He came into the game with an 0-1 mark and a 3.40 ERA, though he had 70 strikeouts in 47.1 innings. “I’ve watched him since he was a freshman,” Chupp said. “The man has done a great job mixing up speeds; curve ball, change-up. He’s probably one of the best pitchers I’ve seen around here. His last two games have probably been his best two starts this season.”

Chupp said he was able to pick up an early tell from Winter Haven starter Bubba Miller with men on base. “After the first three innings, he switched it up,” Chupp said, “but when he was looking at the plate, he was going over to first. And when he was mixing it up and looking at the runner, he would go home. I wanted to see if we should go on his first move.” The Mustangs stole just one base in the game, but it came in their sixth-run fifth.

A true freshman has been starting in center field for the Mustangs. Carter Sprague, who had two hits against the Blue Devils, scored a run and knocked in one, batted .286 on the season and led the team with 20 runs scored and eight stolen bases. “I played here,” Chupp said, “and as a senior we actually had one freshman who started, but he’s a great athlete. He can move and catch balls and he can hit. He’s done tremendously well for us.”

Last year, the Mustangs finished 10-16. This season, they’re 19-7 and headed to a regional semifinal. What’s been the difference? “Pitching, defense, and timely hitting,” Chupp said. The Mustangs got that Wednesday night. In the fifth, when 10 men came to the plate, Ranch got five hits, a walk, and took advantage of a Blue Devil error. Sprague, Jack Muller, Luis Flores Guerra, and Hayden Antonelli all had RBIs in the frame. And in their last three games, Mustang pitchers have allowed just two runs.

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