Baseball: Tarpon's Dunningan throws no-hitter as Spongers reach final

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Thu. March 29, 2012 | Rodney Page | Email

DUNEDIN — Michael Dunnigan added another interesting chapter to the Tarpon Springs-East Lake rivalry in the semifinals of the Dunedin Spring Tournament on Wednesday night. The Spongers senior right-hander threw a complete-game no-hitter in Tarpon Springs’ 8-0 win over the Eagles.

The Spongers advance to Friday’s championship game against Osceola, an 8-0 winner over Clearwater Central Catholic in the other semifinal. East Lake will play in the third-place game against CCC at 5 p.m. Friday.

“I had a lot of adrenaline from the first pitch,” Dunnigan said. “I wanted to beat those guys. This was my only chance to pitch against them and they are our rivals.”

The game was intense throughout but got very tight in the seventh, despite Tarpon Springs’ eight-run lead. Dunnigan got the first out then an error allowed the next batter to reach.

With two out and a runner on first, East Lake’s Nathan Montano laid down a bunt to third. The ball bounced off Ethan Lichtenburg’s arm and was ruled an error. Dunnigan got a fly out to end the game and preserve the no-hitter.

The Spongers have won all three meeting against the Eagles this season.

Offensively, the Spongers were paced by Brendan Overton, who had three hits, including two triples, and five RBIs. His bases-loaded triple in the first scored the Spongers’ first three runs.

Like Dunnigan, he was fired up to play East Lake.

“We’re used to playing these guys,” Overton said. “There’s more excitement when we play them.”

Overton broke the golden rule of no-hitters: He mentioned it to Dunnigan in the fifth inning.

“We were joking about it starting in the second inning,” Dunnigan said. “Then he came up to me in the fifth and told me I had a no-hitter going. I said, ‘What are you doing?’ ”

In the second semifinal, Osceola scored twice in the first and added four more in the fourth. Pitcher Justin Kremer threw six innings and allowed three hits.

Josh Townsend led off the game with a double against CCC starter Dean Coston. One hitter later, Rickey Whiteman drove him in with a single. Kremer had an RBI in the inning to make it 2-0.

In the fourth, the Warriors put their first three batters on and Jordan Ramsey hit a sacrifice fly. Jaret Helinger and Whiteman also had RBIs in the inning. Meanwhile, Kremer cruised through the first three innings and didn’t give up a hit until the fourth. He pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth.

Ethan Wheeler closed out the game.

“I’m a contact pitcher so as long as my defense is playing well, we’ll win games,” Kremer said. “The defense played very well behind me.”

The Warriors tacked on two insurance runs in the sixth, highlighted by an RBI double from Helinger. Osceola outhit CCC 9-3.

St. Petersburg Catholic defeated River Ridge 4-3 in one loser’s bracket game. Carrollwood Day beat Calvary Christian 6-5 in nine innings. Countryside beat Pinellas Park 2-1.

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