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Baseball: St. Petersburg's turnaround timely

St. Petersburg baseball coach Dan Breece stands in wonderment at his team's turnaround.

Five weeks ago, the Green Devils became the first team to lose to Gibbs since 2006.

Since then, St. Petersburg has been one of the hottest teams in the county, winning 10 of its past 12, culminating with a 9-4 victory over the nation's previous top-ranked team, Sarasota, to claim the Class 6A, District 7 title.

"I think that was the biggest win of the season with what was at stake and us being the underdog," Breece said. "There's a lot of history with that program (Sarasota) and it's a big deal to be able to go down there and beat them."

Breece attributes the recent streak to the team's leadership. The Green Devils (18-9) returned 14 players, including 10 starters from last season.

"I think we started to wake up a little bit," Breece said. "The guys that were veterans started contributing like they should be."

Initially, the goals were modest. St. Petersburg wanted to play well at the Dunedin spring tournament. Check. Then the Green Devils wanted to beat Osceola and win the Pinellas County Athletic Conference's south division. Check.

Then came the district tournament.

"We just broke the season down a little more and got on a roll," Breece said.

The timely hits have come from Dakota McLean, Tyler Moll and Clarence Wilson. And the pitching has been strong, led by Kyle Chavez and Dylan Benedict.

"Hopefully, we can keep it going," Breece said.

fast facts

Region baseball quarterfinals

All games tonight at 7 unless noted.

Admission: $6.

At stake: The winner advances to the region semifinals Friday.

Class 6A

Plant (18-10) vs. St. Petersburg (18-9) at Huggins-Stengel Field, 4

Class 5A

Largo (9-17) vs. Dunedin (23-3) at Jack Russell Stadium, 7:30

Seminole (22-5) at Pinellas Park (18-9)

Class 4A

Jesuit (25-3) at Osceola (22-5)

Class 3A

Lakeland McKeel (17-10) at Clearwater Central Catholic (17-8)

Class 2A

Northside Christian (13-13) at Community School of Naples (19-7)

Fort Myers Evangelical Christian (18-7) at Shorecrest (19-8), 4

Class A

Canterbury (16-11) at Sarasota Christian (8-4)

Baseball: St. Petersburg's turnaround timely 05/03/10 [Last modified: Monday, May 3, 2010 9:49pm]
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