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Spring Hill wins state Dixie baseball title

Champs: The under-14 Clearwater Lady Bombers won the Road to Orlando World Series, a 53-team event, on Saturday.

Photo courtesy of Christie Felts

Champs: The under-14 Clearwater Lady Bombers won the Road to Orlando World Series, a 53-team event, on Saturday.

Until Wednesday, host Sebring had won each of its four games of the Dixie Boys (ages 13-14) state championship by at least 10 runs.

Not only did that run end, but Spring Hill (6-1) bounced back from a 16-6 loss to Sebring on Monday to win the first of a two-game final, 4-0 at the Max Long Complex.

J.P. Gates, who had hit three homers in five games, showed off his arm, pitching six scoreless innings. The victory earned Spring Hill, the defending state champion, a winner-take-all rematch immediately afterward.

And in the third meeting between the clubs over four days, the Hernando County team won 14-11 win to earn a berth in the Dixie Boys World Series in Bossier City, La. Spring Hill will represent Florida starting Aug. 2.

Down 6-3 in the top of the fourth, Spring Hill put up seven runs. Sebring brought it back within 11-10, but another three-run burst in the sixth clinched the win. Among the runs scored in the fourth was a two-run homer from Zach Funkhouser, his first of the tournament.

"Our top pitcher tossed the first game and changed the momentum," Spring Hill coach Mike Rado said. "Our bats came alive, and that was enough."

The lead was extended from there as it became the third Spring Hill Dixie representative to advance to the World Series this season, joining the Minors (9-10) and Ozone (10-11) teams. Playing in the Junior Boys state championship last year, this same group came up one game short of the World Series. The emotion was evident as it broke through Wednesday night.

"They are ecstatic," Rado said. "They have been working hard all summer, and this is just icing on the cake."

Baseball

Wednesday

Dixie Boys (13-14) state championship

Spring Hill 4, Sebring 0

Spring Hill 14, Sebring 10

Today

Big League World Series

Clearwater vs. Orwall National (Texas), 4:15

Friday

Little League Majors (11-12) state championship

South Brandon vs. Winter Garden, 1

Bayshore vs. North Springs, 1

Little League Juniors (13-14) state championship

West Pasco vs. North Springs, 1

Belmont Heights vs. Union Park, 10 a.m.

Little League Seniors (15-16) state championship

Dade City vs. Section 8, 4

Citrus Park vs. Section 5, 4

Spring Hill wins state Dixie baseball title 07/23/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 11:09pm]
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