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Tarpon Springs shuts Rams down

They came, they saw, they shut everybody down.

Tarpon Springs' pitching staff completed a remarkable three-game run at the Class 5A, District 8 tournament Friday night with a 2-0 victory over host Ridgewood in the championship game.

Starter Steve Richie and closer Grant Abrams combined to three-hit the heavy-hitting Rams and struck out 11. For the tournament, Tarpon Springs allowed just nine hits.

"I'm very proud of them," Tarpon Springs coach Scott Decatur said.

Tarpon Springs (20-9) hosts District 7 runner-up Ocala Vanguard in a regional quarterfinal Tuesday. Ridgewood (23-7) travels to District 7 champion Belleview.

Richie (5-1) went four innings, allowing two hits and striking out six. This after he tossed a complete-game three-hitter in a 1-0 first-round victory Tuesday over Sickles.

Abrams went the last three, giving up one hit and striking out five to get his sixth save.

It was the first time in a long time Ridgewood coach Larry Beets could recall his team being shut down that way. On the other hand, Beets said, "We never faced two guys who threw like that."

Ridgewood's pitchers didn't do badly either. Starter Justin Case (4-4) went the first four innings, giving up four hits. One was a second-inning single by Anthony Thran that scored Jamie Gonzalez, who had doubled.

Tarpon Springs' other run came in the third on a two-out throwing error that allowed Abrams to score from first base.

Tommy MacLane relieved in the fifth inning, giving up one hit and striking out five.

But Ridgewood did nothing at the plate. It threatened in the second inning, but Ronny Wiemer was out at home when Matt Lemming missed a squeeze bunt.

"If we get that ball down, it's 2-1 and it's a whole different ballgame," Beets said.

Ridgewood had runners on second and third and none out in the third. But Richie struck out Danny Toner and Bobby Wiemer, and first baseman Steve Patterson made a leaping stab of Mike McMillan's looping liner to end the inning.

"That was a big play," Beets said. "That right there shut it down."

In the fourth, Richie got Pete Ruvelas to pop out to short right field for the third out with a runner at third.

"I'm just glad we have a chance to redeem ourselves," Beets said of Tuesday's game. "It's time to be a man and step up. It's time to see how good we are."

4A-8: Pasco

pounds Hudson

ZEPHYRHILLS _ One drought ended, another continues.

Defending Class 4A state runner-up Pasco made short work of Hudson starter Derrick Victor (two innings) and two Cobra relievers with 13 runs on 10 hits through the first four innings, cruising to a 13-7 title game victory at John F. Clements Field.

With the win, coach Rick Giles' No. 2-seeded Pirates earned Pasco's (14-11) first district crown since 1984 as Alex Cruz, Kendale Antoine, Bobby Smith and John Kutsch each collected two hits.

Bobby Smith (6-3) went the first five innings, retiring the top-seeded Cobras (14-13) just once in order. The senior right-hander scatterd five runs on seven hits before Shane Boyett hurled the final two frames.

The win enables Pasco to host the Lake Weir Tuesday at Death Valley, while Hudson travel to Citrus.

The loss spoiled the Cobras' first chance in 11 years of a district crown. Hudson still hasn't won a title in 23 years of competition.

Hudson could've easily rolled over, trailing 13-1 entering the bottom of the fourth thanks to six errors while stranding seven batters.

"I really thought going in that this was going to be our tournament," Cobra coach Jay Collins said. "Credit Pasco, they came out smoking. The key was the first few innings, but I will say, our kids never laid down."

Giles, soaking from a post-game Gatorade bath of icewater, agreed.

"We went to the show (state championship) last year as runners-up," he said. "It can be done. But I'm so proud of this bunch. (Winning pitcher) Bobby (Smith) jump-started us on the mound and we backed him up early. Just once, I wished we wouldn't be so complacent once we get to the fifth inning. We've had that pattern all year."

The Cobras were paced by Victor with two hits while Kenny Davis hit his third homer in the first inning.

_ TONY CASTRO

4A-7: Citrus wins

in extra innings

In the halls of Citrus High, Sam McLain may be just a freshman. But in Friday's district final, he was the hero of a 3-2, nine-inning victory.

After replacing starting pitcher Ray Mailett in the sixth inning, McLain struck out eight of the 13 batters he faced, allowing only one hit, to hold Lake Weir scoreless and send the game into extra innings.

In the bottom of the ninth, with the bases loaded, McLain came through again with the bases loaded, ripping a line drive to win.

Seniors Keith Posta and Jake Levere had three hits apiece for Citrus.

_ ALYSSA ROENIGK

5A-8: Northside scores 14

but loses to Tampa Prep

TAMPA _ During the district final at Tampa Prep, the scoreboard was lighting up like a pinball machine. And when the game was over, Tampa Prep had made history.

The Terrapins secured their first-ever district baseball title, surviving a wild 16-14 slugfest with Northside Christan. Tampa Prep (17-8) hosts Fort Meade Tuesday in a regional quarterfinal game. Northside Christian (8-17) visits Lakeland Santa Fe.

The game featured 32 hits (14 for extra bases) and lasted almost 3{ hours. Tampa Prep jumped out to a 10-0 lead after two innings, and led 13-3 before Northside Christian struck for seven runs in the fourth.

The Mustangs added four more in the sixth to pull within 16-14 and had the game-tying runners aboard with one out, but reliever Nick Rodriguez, the Terrapins' fifth pitcher, doused the fire by striking out cleanup hitter Rob McNeal and getting Charlie Branham to fly to right to end the threat.

B.J. Quigley (8-2) picked up the win. The Terrapins were led offensively by Ryan Devars, who had a two-run homer in an eight-run second and three total RBI, and Ryan Quigley and Adriel Fiallo, who also drove in three runs apiece. David Kellogg added four hits and scored three runs.

Starter Bob Alsina (0-3) was the loser for Northside Christian, which has lost to the Terrapins three times this season. The Mustangs had their chances early, but stranded seven runners in the first three innings.

"I'm proud of our guys, especially our seniors (Mark Gillette and Chris Wiggins)," Mustangs coach Bob Dare said. "To come back and play like we did after being down by 10 runs when it was 13-3, I thought we might have folded up our tents at that point."

The Mustangs had 10 hits. Gillette had three hits and a pair of RBI, and Alex Yourkinson added two hits, including a bases-clearing triple in the fourth.

_ TODD TUBERGEN

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