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ST. PETERSBURG — It has been a week since Tarpon Springs and Dixie Hollins were able to play a game. The layoff didn’t seem to hurt the Spongers, who rolled to a 9-0 win Friday over the Rebels in the Pinellas County Athletic Conference championship game.
Tarpon Springs (21-4) pounded out 14 hits and scored in five of seven innings against Dixie Hollins (17-8). The Rebels, making their first PCAC championship game appearance in 21 years, managed only three hits against three Tarpon Springs pitchers.
Despite district play beginning Tuesday, both teams started their aces. Tarpon Springs’ Michael Dunnigan pitched four scoreless innings, while Dixie Hollins’ Matt Harris lasted only 22/3 innings after giving up four runs.
“This was important to us, but next week is what really matters,” Tarpon Springs coach Dickie Hart said. “But I’m really proud of our guys. There are a lot of good teams in this county. For us to be first in the PCAC is pretty awesome for us.”
The Spongers were led by David Miklavcic, who went 4-for-5 with an RBI. Miklavcic used to go by his middle name, Cole, before the public address announcer at a Clearwater Central Catholic game called him David. After getting four hits in that game, he has gone by David ever since.
Miklavcic said winning a PCAC championship was on the Spongers’ to-do list.
“We wanted this,” Miklavcic said. “If we win districts, which I think we should, then we can say we’re the best team in two counties.”
Tarpon Springs got to Harris in the first inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, Brenden Overton ripped a double to the centerfield wall that scored all three runners.
The Spongers scored a run in the third, fourth and sixth innings. Meanwhile, Tarpon Springs’ pitching held the Rebels to few scoring chances. Their best chance came in the third inning, when they had runners on second and third with two outs. But Dunnigan struck out Anthony Mosgaard to end the inning.
The game got out of hand in the seventh when the Spongers tacked on three more runs. Anthony Bariso scorched a double that scored Caleb Koulianos. Kyle Johnson and Shane Ludlow followed with RBI singles.
Ethan Lichtenburg came on to pitch the seventh inning and close out the game.
“They were throwing strikes and getting ahead of our hitters,” Rebels coach Jason Szafarski said. “And then they took advantage of our mistakes.”