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Land O'Victories more appropriate for Gators

A compilation of items by John C. Cotey at 869-6261 and Damian Cristodero at 869-6237.

The Land O'Lakes baseball team won 20 games for the first time, finishing at 21-9. Even though the Gators' season ended with Wednesday night's 7-2 loss to Ridgewood in the Class 5A, District 8 semifinals, coach Cal Baisley said the team should be proud.

"Twenty wins is a good season," he said. "We didn't make all the goals we wanted to, but 20 wins is big. I've been doing this a long time and I know how hard it is to get 20 victories."

DECISIONS, DECISIONS: After the Ridgewood game, Baisley was asked if he questioned his decision to start his son, Brad, a potential first-round draft pick, Tuesday against weak River Ridge and Matt McCleary against Ridgewood.

McCleary lasted just 2 innings, giving up seven runs. Baisley blanked Ridgewood the rest of the way.

"I guess you could," coach Baisley said. "But the hole we dug ourselves was not the pitching. We should have been out of the first inning."

Thanks to three errors, Land O'Lakes gave Ridgewood a 3-0 first-inning lead from which it did not recover _ thanks, in large part, to a four-hit, 10-strikeout effort by winning pitcher Mike Rabelo (10-0).

"Too much Rabelo, and we didn't play good enough to win," Baisley said. "If he's pitching against you, you have to play real good."

SIGNED, SEALED, READY TO DELIVER: Coach Baisley said shortstop Adam Shorts has signed with Seminole Community College in Sanford. The senior batted .359 (33-for-92) with 19 RBI.

"It's an opportunity for him to go over and play," Baisley said. "And they have a good reputation for moving kids along once they play there."

Land O'Lakes volleyball coach Jerry Stacy said Wednesday night that two of his players had signed with colleges.

Outside hitter Jessica McCoy, who also was a starter on Stacy's district championship basketball team, signed with the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne. FIT, a Division II school, plays in the Sunshine State Conference with Saint Leo.

Also signing was setter Tracy Fowler, who will attend Piedmont College in Demorest, Ga., on a volleyball scholarship.

GIVING THE BRUSH: Ridgewood catcher Jason Remmel got a little too enthusiastic for coach Larry Beets' taste during Wednesday night's game. Hit in the left shoulder by a Baisley pitch, the junior mockingly wiped his right hand across his shoulder as he trotted to first base, indicating he wasn't hurt.

Beets immediately went from his third-base coaching box to midway up the first base line to express his displeasure to Remmel. "You don't do that," Beets said. "That's baseball. You get hit, you get hit."

The coach said he would have an appropriate punishment ready at Thursday's practice. "I'm not going to let it go," Beets said. "He will understand you don't do those things."

SAC VERSUS GCAC: The first Coca-Cola Senior Baseball Classic is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. May 15 at Springstead High School. Seniors from the Sunshine Athletic Conference will face seniors from the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference in a doubleheader. The teams were selected by the coaches. Admission is $2.

SAC: Gulf _ Brian Davis. Hudson _ Brett Steen, Derrick Victor. Land O'Lakes _ Todd Babij, Brad Baisley, Matt McCleary, Adam Shorts. Pasco _ Kendale Antoine, Beau Blessing, Bobby Smith. Ridgewood _ Jamie Carreiro, Matt Lemming, Tommy MacLane, Mike McMillan, Mike Rabelo, Robby Weimer. River Ridge _ Tim DeCubellis. Springstead _ John Caruso, Nick Duprey, Sean Stalton. Zephyrhills _ Tony Alvarez.

GCAC: Central _ Joe Martin, Trent Viau. Citrus _ Jason Berlin, Mike Doolittle, Lloyd Hamilton, T.J. Hudson, Jeff Lee, Jeremiah Naas, Keith Posta, Bobby Thimmes. Crystal River _ Bruce Bellamy, Bo Jefferson. Dunnellon _ D.J. Mulladey. Hernando _ Brent Ferguson, B.J. Hart, Lance Robinson, Chan Sprinsgtead, Kyle Tuttle. Lecanto _ Joe Hann. South Sumter _ Curt Williams.

WHO NEEDS HITS? Land O'Lakes saw its softball season come to an end Wednesday night, but not because the other team outhit it.

Sure, for the game Sickles had more hits in the 5-2 win. But the key inning was the third, when Sickles scored three runs to take a 3-1 lead _ all without the benefit of a hit.

Of course, this was nothing new for Sickles. Against River Ridge the night before, Sickles scored its first five runs on just three hits. For the tournament, the Gryphons have scored 13 runs on 13 hits, which you could say is making the most of a little offense.

THE BEST OF THE BEST: This has been the busiest week of the season for high school teams, what with two district tournaments in softball and baseball, two district track meets, and four district golf tournaments. Did we mention state tennis, where three county teams and two other individuals competed?

Some notable performances may have slipped past you. Here is our list of the top five so far:

1. Jameica Duncombe of Saddlebrook adequately replaced Tennessee-bound Young-A Yang by earning medalist honors with a 73 and helping the Spartans win another district title.

2. Okay, we know Lindsey Murvine had a better finish, but Alyssa Caughey might be the best golfer you never heard of. The Ridgewood golfer shot a 91 to finish fifth at the district meet, beating some more publicized golfers.

3. Land O'Lakes-Ridgewood Part III. This is what the district playoffs should be about: two top teams playing, winner goes on, loser goes home.

4. On that note, how about that Mike Rabelo guy? Four hits allowed, 10 strikeouts and a 10-0 record on the mound. Not bad for a guy whose hitting stats are the ones that make your eyes jump out of your head.

5. The Zephyrhills tennis team beat who it was supposed to at state, but had no gas left for Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons (who we hear was second in the Davis Cup competition last year) and Tampa Jesuit. Still, to score three points at the Class 4A state tournament is a notable accomplishment.

A compilation of items by John C. Cotey at 869-6261

and Damian Cristodero at 869-6237.