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4A-8 baseball: Nature Coast, Hernando pull off upsets

BROOKSVILLE — Wednesday night in the Class 4A, District 8 semifinals, Brooksville turned into Upset City.

Nature Coast, the sixth seed of the tournament, continued its run with a 3-1 victory over second-seeded Land O'Lakes while host and fourth-seeded Hernando upended top-seeded Wiregrass Ranch 4-2.

The Sharks (11-16), coming off an upset win over Citrus in Tuesday's quarterfinals behind the pitching of ace Danny Colon, had to rely on junior Tony Webster to carry the load Wednesday. He passed the test with flying colors.

Webster threw a complete game, retiring 12 in a row at one point. He struck out two, walked only one and scattered four hits.

"I was just pounding the outside corner and got into a groove," Webster said.

"I kept myself focused all game long."

Colon, who by rule couldn't contribute on the mound on consecutive nights, scored two of the three runs for Nature Coast. He led off the fourth and sixth innings with singles and scored both times.

Land O'Lakes (17-10) was one of the favorites to win the district coming into the season. But the Gators were stunned as ace Jason Garcia took the loss despite striking out eight and walking one.

The Leopards (18-9) made sure it was an all-Hernando County final for Friday night, although the result was in doubt all the way up until the last inning.

Hernando was one-hit by Wiregrass Ranch (20-7) and starter John Michael Gant for the first five innings. But in the sixth, the Leopards broke through. After a leadoff single from Kall Daniel, Matt Brady hit a hanging curveball for a long two-run homer to put them up 2-1.

The Bulls tied it in the bottom of the sixth, but Hernando threw another two-spot on the board in the seventh to clinch the victory for starter Justin Gates (complete game, 11 strikeouts, no walks).

"Short memories for a long time," Hernando coach Tim Sims said. "It's what we've been saying all year long, and the kids have really bought into it."

4A-8 baseball: Nature Coast, Hernando pull off upsets 04/28/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 11:17pm]
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