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Region baseball preview

All games Tuesday at 7 p.m. unless listed otherwise Admission: $6

Class 6A

Durant (13-12) at Gaither (22-6)

The Cowboys are the prime example of what a young team can do in the postseason when it gets some confidence. Gaither starts just two seniors, but the Cowboys just won the area's most competitive district, beating Alonso and Mitchell no-hit king Patrick Schuster along the way. Junior centerfielder Drew Doty is a county player of the year candidate (.442, nine homers, 28 RBIs, 22 extra-base hits). The Cougars come from a tough district, and they beat national power Sarasota twice.

Alonso (24-3) at Lakeland (24-2)

The Ravens, ranked 20th in the nation this past week by ESPN Rise, are coming off a loss to Gaither in the district title game, which ended Alonso's 13-game winning streak. Four Alonso hitters have at least 25 RBIs, and pitcher Thomas Dorminy has held opposing hitters to a .186 batting average. The Dreadnaughts were once ranked No. 2 in the nation but lost two straight. They've won five in a row since then. Ace Drew Hutchison is 6-1 and has 100 strikeouts in 58 innings.

Class 5A

Central (12-12) at Armwood (22-5)

The Hawks are coming off their first district tournament title since 1989. They allowed just two runs a game in three district games. Armwood has some solid pitching, anchored by ace Robert Benincasa (10-0, 1.09 ERA). Shortstop Zack Powers leads Armwood with six homers. Central is coming off a 7-0 loss to Wesley Chapel.

Brandon (20-6) at Wesley Chapel (12-14)

The Eagles had won five straight before losing to rival Armwood in the district final, but Brandon has still outscored its opponents 50-19 since their march to the Saladino Tournament quarterfinals. Michael Smith leads the Eagles with a .474 average and seven homers. Wesley Chapel has won five or six since dropping two of three games in the Saladino Tournament playing against Hillsborough County teams.

Jesuit (25-2) at Dunedin (21-5), 7:30 at Englebert Complex

The Tigers won their first 23 games of the season and were the nation's consensus No. 1 team, but they are just 2-2 since then. Greg Dupell is hitting .507 and has two homers this postseason. Dunedin, the defending Class 5A state champions, has won 11 straight and is one of the hottest teams entering the region tournament, having outscored opponents 24-4 in the district tournament.

East Lake (17-10) at Plant (19-7)

The Panthers are on a roll right now after their 10-1 win over Jesuit in the district final. Plant has won seven of nine — and both of those losses came to nationally ranked Alonso. Mychal Givens, who is hitting .451 on the season, is also 7-2 with a 1.10 ERA as a pitcher. East Lake just lost 12-2 to Dunedin in the district championship game.

Class 3A

Cardinal Mooney (16-9) at Tampa Catholic (20-6), 4

The Crusaders have won 19 of their past 21 games — their only losses coming to nationally ranked Jesuit and Alonso. That includes an impressive 11-1 district championship win over St. Petersburg Catholic, a team that beat Cardinal Mooney just two weeks ago.

Class 2A

Winter Haven All Saints (21-7) at Tampa Prep (15-12)

The Terps won their district tournament easily, beating opponents by a combined 22-6 margin. Joey Bobo leads the Terps with a .389 average and 28 RBIs. All Saints brings an impressive resume, including a seven-game winning streak earlier in the season, even though it lost to Fort Meade in the district final.

Class 1A

Bayshore Christian (7-12) at Sonrise Christian (6-7), at Saddle Creek Park

Bayshore has lost eight of nine heading into the region tournament, while Sonrise is coming off a 12-5 win over Seffner in its district championship game.

Seffner Christian (6-14) at Cambridge (15-7), 4 at Doc Nance Field

Cambridge should easily advance past Seffner in hope of their second consecutive trip to the Class 1A final. Trent Tagliarini leads Cambridge with a .516 average and 33 RBIs.

Region baseball preview 05/02/09 [Last modified: Saturday, May 2, 2009 11:37pm]
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