EAST LAKE — At no point this past fall was Tarpon Springs at the center of the Pinellas County baseball discussion. The Spongers, after all, started last season 1-7 and finished with a losing record.
Yet one week into the 2011 season, Tarpon Springs is 3-0.
The Spongers' unexpected transformation continued in the final of the Lee Byers Invitational on Saturday, where they defeated Springstead 7-4. The Spongers, one of just a handful undefeated teams in Pinellas, now have confidence going into a Class 5A, District 11 showdown with Dunedin on Tuesday.
"I like where we're headed," said Tarpon Springs coach Dickie Hart, who had to sit out the championship game after being ejected earlier this week. "I think we can win a lot of games."
Michael Dunnigan pitched a complete game in the tournament final, allowing seven hits, six of which came in the first 2 2/3 innings. It was the second win in the tournament for Dunnigan, who was named to the all-tournament team. Other Spongers who were on the all-tournament were Tommy Grill, Danny Robison and Cole Miklavic.
Counting preseason games, the Spongers have won five straight.
"We're really starting to come together," Hart said. "We formed an AAU team in the offseason and the guys have played a ton of games."