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Ridgewood to play Gulf for tourney title

Ridgewood head coach Larry Beets set up the Pasco County Preseason Baseball Tournament to give the six Pasco County teams some playing time. The Rams made their workout as brief as possible with a pair of victories shortened by the 10-run rule. The Rams shut out Land O'Lakes 10-0 in the opening game of the double-elimination playoffs. Ridgewood defeated the Hudson Cobras 14-1 in the second game.

"I don't think there were any losers today," Ridgewood coach Larry Beets said. "It's a beautiful day, we're not freezing and we get to play baseball."

Ridgewood will meet Gulf on the Buccaneers' field today at 4 p.m. for the tournament championship. Pasco will face the winner of Monday night's Land O'Lakes vs. Zephyrhills game at 4 p.m. on the Ridgewood field for third place. Pasco downed Hudson 11-1 in a loser's bracket game Monday night.

The Rams pounded out a 6-0 lead in the first inning against Hudson starter Mike Taylor, who gave up two runs on a bases-loaded walk and a wild pitch. Ridgewood centerfielder Eric Barcelo slapped a two-out, two-run single to key the quick start.

That lead expanded to 9-0 in the second inning when Jaime Ballew doubled and third baseman Joe Bertucci followed with a two-run home run barely inside the leftfield foul pole. Pinch runner Paul Whritenour later scored on a single by Ken Szylagyi and a two-base error by Cobra outfielder Dan Clem.

Bertucci stroked his second home run, a three-run shot, with two outs in the third inning. That blast pushed the Rams to a 12-0 lead.