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Baseball: Pinellas beats Hillsborough in All-Star game

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Mon. May 26, 2014 | Rodney Page and Kelly Parsons

Baseball: Pinellas beats Hillsborough in All-Star game

ST. PETERSBURG — Pinellas County had a wealth of pitching this season, and that was on display Sunday night in the Pinellas vs. Hillsborough Senior All-Star Game at Tropicana Field.

Ten pitchers combined to allow six hits over nine innings to help Pinellas to a 5-2 win.

Pinellas got a two-run double from Northeast’s Bret Maxwell, named Pinellas’ MVP, in the fourth and added three in the eighth.

Sickles’ Shane Haight was the Hillsborough MVP after starting and pitching two scoreless innings.

Northeast’s Josh Hale, who pitched a scoreless third inning, earn the win.

Double duty: Pitchers Keith Weisenberg (Osceola) and Brad Deppermann (East Lake) also played in Saturday’s Florida Athletic Coaches Association All-Star tournament semifinals in Sebring. They had the option of staying for Sunday’s games but chose to return to St. Petersburg.

“It was either sit out in the 95-degree heat in Sebring or come here in the 72-degree cool,” Weisenberg said. “Kind of a no-brainer.”

Both pitched two scoreless innings in Sebring, but neither appeared in Sunday’s game.

Clearwater Central Catholic’s Brenden Overton also was selected for both events and stayed in Sebring on Sunday.

Weisenberg is expected to be a high pick in June’s draft. He said he has no other All-Star games and only a few workouts planned.

Dream come true: Maxwell’s family has season tickets for the Rays (Section 106) and estimates he has seen hundreds of games. He said playing at the Trop is the perfect way to end his senior season.

“My first (at-bat) was a little groundout, so I’m glad I was able to redeem myself,” he said of the double. “It’s one of those things you’ll never forget.”

Running adventures: In the eighth, Dixie Hollins’ Joe Simmons doubled, advanced on a fielder’s choice then stole home. St. Petersburg’s Richie Rivera, who was on second, later stole third and scored on a passed ball.

“Joe talked to me about stealing home, and I told him he better make it or people are going to think it was my idea,” Pinellas (and Pinellas Park) coach Pat Russo said. “He got a great jump and made it easily.”

Saying goodbye: The first Hillsborough-Pinellas All-Star Game, in 2006, was coached by Gaither’s Frank Permuy and Jefferson’s Pop Cuesta. This season marked their last as coaches, and Sunday, they threw out ceremonial first pitches.

Gaither infielder Randy Oliva and Jefferson shortstop Jose Cuellar caught the pitches.

“He taught me good things on the field. He taught me how to play,” Cuellar said of Cuesta. “I was sad a little bit (to see him retire) because I know that he is loved.”

Permuy, who spent 30 with the Cowboys, announced his retirement before the season.  Cuesta waited until his Dragons fell in the region quarterfinal to announce his after 43 years.

Sunday was Cuesta’s first time throwing out a first pitch at Tropicana Field. But he’ll be back Aug 15, when he is scheduled to do so before the Rays’ game against the Yankees.

Busy day: It was a big week for Jesuit’s Ryan McCullers. Three days removed from helping the Tigers win their first state title since 2000, he and the rest of the team were recognized on the field before the Rays’ game against the Red Sox. Then he was one of Hillsborough’s four catchers.

McCullers said he stayed for about five innings of the Rays game before leaving, catching a bite to eat and heading back for the second game.

“It was great to win a state championship, and then it was an honor to come out here and represent Hillsborough County on the All-Star team,” McCullers said. “It’s been a great week and a great way to end my senior year.”

Family affair: Just like he did for Tampa Catholic all season, Paulie Russo led off for Hillsborough. And there were coaches in both dugouts pulling for him.

The USF signee is the nephew of the Pinellas Park coach. Pat Russo also coached his nephew at Tampa Catholic for a season before taking over the Patriots.

Paulie Russo, who reached once on a walk, said he spent Saturday night at his uncle’s house.

“Just all good things about the game,” Paulie Russo said. “But when we’re playing, there’s always a little bit of competition that comes out in both of us.”

Still hot: The last time Calvary Christian’s Daniel Broeseker took the mound, he defeated rival Clearwater Central Catholic in the Class 3A region semifinals. It was the Marauders’ only loss of the season. Against Hillsborough, he pitched a perfect fourth with two strikeouts.

“I’m just glad I could be out here,” said Broeseker, who will attend Barry in the fall. “It was extra special because I got to pitch to (Calvary catcher) Tommy Georgevich.”

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