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Hernando Dixie Majors ousted

If you were listening to the Hernando Dixie League Majors game on WWJB-AM Tuesday night, announcer Steve Manuel said it all.

Actually, he didn't say anything, and that told the story.

Manuel's broadcast was interrupted by 45 seconds of stunned silence following Hernando's 6-5, extra-inning loss to Lake-Sumter and subsequent elimination from the state tournament.

"Different people take different losses in different ways,' said Hernando coach Tim Sims. "You could tell this one affected them."

Hernando, the defending state champions, led 4-2 after B.J. Hart ripped an RBI double in the top of the fifth inning, but Lake-Sumter came back to tie the score. Hernando scored again in the top of the eighth, but Lake-Sumter capitalized on two key throwing errors to steal the victory.

The problem came when a pick-off throw to second, which wasn't called for by Sims, ended up in centerfield to score the tying run. Hernando's centerfielder then picked up the ball and tried to get the runner going to third, but, as Sims put it, "the ball hit me in the lap. And I was in the dugout."

"For some odd reason, everything that could go wrong did," Sims said. "But I know this group will bounce back and come to play next year."

Sims' squad wasn't the only local team to take an early exit at state. The Hernando Pre-Major 14-year-olds also were eliminated.

In Pensacola, the Hernando National Major 10-year-olds lost their first game to Chipley but rebounded to beat Chipley 4-1 and remain in the state tournament.

Hernando beat Chipley despite managing only one hit, a single by Ryan Cook. It scored three runs in the fifth inning on a fielder's choice and two errors.

Hernando was to play Sebring Wednesday night.

LITTLE LEAGUE SOFTBALL: Kennedy Park's Major All-Stars squad, which advanced to the Section 1 tournament by winning the District 15 title, was eliminated in three games in Dixie County.

Kennedy Park lost 15-3 Monday to South Daytona, ending its run. Previously, the Brooksville squad came back from an opening 12-9 loss to Bel-Med of Jacksonville with a 29-13 victory over Tri-County, a team from the western tip of the Panhandle.

_ Staff writer Rick Gershman contributed to this report.