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Inverness All-Stars dominating foes in softball sectional

The ponytails and windmill pitching techniques tell you this isn't the 1927 Yankees, but the bats and the numbers tell a different story.

It's one of power, domination, humiliation _ a softball equivalent of "Murderer's Row.

The Inverness Senior All-Stars are a team that is larger, more powerful and more experienced than any it has faced. Scoring a total of 32 runs on 29 hits in two games against what was supposed to be better competition at the Section I tournament is an example.

"My kids are just fighting. They're playing like underdogs," Inverness manager Mike Reynolds said after his team's 9-0 whipping of Callahan in the winners bracket final. "We thought there would be tougher competition, but you've got to give these kids credit; they've never had a lull throughout this whole tournament."

In the five games it has played, Inverness has dispatched opponents by the 10-run mercy rule three times. West Hernando, in the district final, and Callahan are the only teams to go seven innings, and neither of those games was very close.

Callahan, which played Tri County Monday night for the right to face Inverness in today's 7 p.m. final, was a worthy opponent, if only for a couple of innings.

Inverness took a 2-0 lead in the first, then added four more runs in the second on five hits, and another in the third. Inverness was held scoreless in the fourth and fifth, but capped the win with runs in the sixth and seventh.

Gina Reynolds (the No. 3 batter, and Lou Gehrig if you're making the comparison) and Laura Helt (Babe Ruth) drove home four of Inverness' runs. Edie Poe, who led off Saturday's 23-2 win over Deland with a solo homer, also plated two runs in her 2-for-4 performance that included a triple. Helt, whose numbers would be higher if she were not pitched around with regularity, finished 2-for-4 with a double.

"We've got seven 15-year-olds and most of these girls have been playing together since they were 10 years old," Reynolds said. "I've been telling them that this is our year, that we won't get a second chance."

While they may play together on an Amateur Softball Association or National Softball Association team in the future, this is the last year of Little League competition for the 15-year-olds.

That includes Helt, Reynolds and Kim Richards, all of whom started for the Citrus High varsity team.

BASEBALL: While not faring as well as their older female counterparts, the Inverness 9-10 boys team was still alive as of Monday and was scheduled to play Niceville in the Section I losers-bracket final at Lady Lake Little League. Inverness lost 13-6 to Jacksonville Saturday but bounced back with an 11-10 win over Deland.

The Crystal River Majors, meanwhile, were bounced from the Section I tournament in DeFuniak Springs, losing in two straight games to R.L. Turner (Panama City) and Deland.