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Plant hands yet another loss to East Bay

Plant continued Friday to be the only team around with the correct formula for beating East Bay. The Panthers captured the Class 5A, District 11 championship with a 7-2 win over the Indians.

All the losses by East Bay in its 24-3 record, came from the bats of Plant. The Panthers are 23-6.

The Indians beat the Panthers once to win the Western Conference.

"I thought we played relaxed tonight," Panther coach Phillip Page said. "(Jessica) Linsky pitched a great game and our defense was really tough. When they beat us in the Western Conference, we made five errors in the first inning. Tonight, we made only one in the game. But look, East Bay has a great team and I would like to meet them one more game this season."

Both teams continue on in post-season play. Because they are in opposite brackets, it is possible for the two sides to meet a fifth time in the state 5A finals.

The Panthers scored first early.

With one out in the second inning, Kristen Abbott and Kristine Chamblee got on base with a single and a walk respectively. They advanced on a wild pitch and came home on a single to deep center by Jennifer Gillis.

After reaching first on a single then moving to third on a sacrifice and a steal, Valarie Morgan added the third run in the third inning on an infield error.

Mandy Schuerman scored East Bay's first run in the third. With blazing speed she turned a comfortable double into a spectacular triple, then two pitches later scored on a wild pitch.

Plant used two runs and an East Bay error to score twice more in the bottom of the fifth. Chamblee drove in both runs with a single to left.

Jessica Dupree scored East Bay's second run in the top of the seventh off a single by Wendy Wendell.

6A-5: Chiefs edge Cowboys

TAMPA _ Something had to give.

With the score tied at 1 entering the seventh and neither Gaither nor Chamberlain making a move, somebody had to take charge. That's when Chiefs first baseman Nicolette Webster stepped into the batter's box.

She blasted a double to right to lead off the seventh, left for a courtesy runner, who advanced to third on a sacrifice and scored on a Kristine Thompson base hit through a drawn-in infield to deliver the district championship to Chamberlain, 2-1. It was the first district title for the Chiefs (22-8) since 1995.

It was not as if Gaither (21-6) folded in the bottom of the seventh, though. The Cowboys put runners on second and third with two out before Alissa Leef (19-6) coaxed a game-ending grounder to short off the bat of Jill Matthew.

It was another missed opportunity for Gaither, which got four runners to third, but brought just one home.

"It was one of those games where we had all the opportunities, and Chamberlain didn't, but they made it happen," Gaither coach Jerlyn Shaw said.

Cowboys starter Katie Dugger (13-5) was excellent, allowing just three hits and striking out nine. Just two Chiefs runners got past second, but both scored.

The first was Morgan Vecera, who reached on an error in the third, then scored when Kylie Moord beat out a beautifully placed bunt with two strikes and two out. Gaither's run came in the bottom of the the third.

Andrea Klaus, who batted ninth but was the Cowboys' offensive star _ going 2-for-2 with a walk _ led off with a single. She advanced to second on a wild pitch, stole third, then came home when Chiefs catcher Jen Shirley's pickoff attempt sailed into leftfield.

_ ERIC RANGUS

5A-8: Sickles falls, 4-0

LAND O'LAKES _ Sickles had thrived on the other team's mistakes in the tournament, turning errors into runs and bunts into run-scoring hits as it swept through two games against the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds.

Friday night at Land O'Lakes, the Gryphons went for a sweep of the top three seeds, but No. 1 Ridgewood did not oblige.

The Rams had only one error. They fielded every Sickles bunt, every Sickles line drive with ease. And they won 4-0 to capture the district championship.

"We had the errors tonight," said Sickles coach Tammy Overcash. "We made some mistakes and we got down. But we're a young team. You'll see us for the next couple of years."

Only one error proved costly, though. In the third inning with a runner on second, first baseman April Flasher dropped a looping pop-up by Kerri Lane. As she and second baseman Natalie Zora discussed the error, Amy Birch raced home from second for the first run of the game.

It was the only run Ridgewood (18-11) needed as Birch threw a three-hitter for her second straight shutout with six strikeouts.

"Out bats weren't on," Overcash said. "They weren't the No. 1 seed for nothing."

The Rams added four hits and three more runs in the sixth inning to advance to Tuesday's regional quarterfinals when they host South Lake.

Sickles (17-6) will travel to meet Ocala Forest.

_ JOHN C. COTEY

3A-9: Berkeley blasts AHN

TAMPA _ The scoreboard at the end of the game showed Berkeley Prep defeated Academy of Holy Names 14-4 to win the championship, but this was a classic case of the game being much closer than the final score indicated.

Leading 5-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Berkeley allowed AHN to load the bases with no outs. But freshman Kelsey Cook got the Jaguars to ground into two force outs at home, then she struck out the final batter to get out of the inning unscathed.

"I was just thinking I had to hit my spots," Cook said. "I wasn't worried about the base runners. I just wanted to concentrate on getting the batters out."

After surviving the scare, the Buccaneers put the game away with nine runs in the top of the seventh.

Berkeley took the lead for good in the top of the fifth. Trailing 2-1, Hilary Parsons hit a two-out triple knocking in two runs, then came home herself after an errant throw back into the infield by AHN.

Berkeley coach Sally Scudder said the win was a great team effort.

"We had a lot of confidence coming into this game," she said. "But we knew we'd have to play well to win. Everybody showed terrific heart out there and that was the key."

AHN coach William Garcia said it just wasn't his team's day.

"It may sound strange, but I knew we were in trouble when the score was 2-1," he said. "The two runs we scored were a gift, and when we had chances to score, we just couldn't pull the trigger."

_ KEITH PEARLMAN

2A-10: Tampa Prep rallies to win

TAMPA _ Faced with the possibility of never playing another home game, Tampa Prep's seniors decided to take matters into their own hands.

The result was a dramatic 10-9, come-from-behind victory over Temple Heights and a district title for the host Terrapins, which translates into at least one more home game, a regional quarterfinal.

Senior Jolene Patton, who was hitting .509 coming into the contest, had three hits, including a bases-clearing triple and the game-winner in the bottom of the seventh. Her single and two throwing errors by the Eagles on the play allowed teammate Laura Csere to score the winning run from first.

That made a winner out of senior Ann Csere (7-2), who relieved her sister in the first, as Temple Heights struck for six runs en route to an early 9-3 lead.

"Our seniors really came through," Tampa Prep coach Dean Walters said. "Jolene had the big hits, and Ann made the big pitches."

The Terrapins were outplayed defensively until the final inning and had a tough time solving seventh-grader Katie Timpone, Temple Heights' starter. Timpone repeatedly worked out of jams until the seventh, when she gave way to Erin Holbin (6-6).

"We had a rough season, with illnesses and things like that," Eagles coach Angela Nelson said. "I'm proud of this team."

Courtney Cavall had a two-run double and a triple to pace Temple Heights offensively.

_ TODD TUBERGEN

A-9: Lancers win easily

LAKELAND _ Erin Hicks threw a four-hitter with seven strikeouts to lead Seminole Presbyterian past Lakeland McKeel Academy 9-2 in championship game. The Lancers (24-2), defending Class A state champions, will host the District 10 runner-up in Tuesday's region quarterfinal.

Tracy Salgado and Emily Psalmonds each were 2-for-4. Psalmonds had a no-hitter with 14 strikeouts in Thursday's 10-0 semifinal victory over Lakeland Evangel.

_ SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

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