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Balk provides winning run for Cougars

Off-and-on showers and thunderstorms caused tournament officials to move one game from Durant to Wharton, but the day ended mostly dry and with a win for Durant.

Riverview senior right-hander Roberto Martinez battled Durant sophomore southpaw Mike Maslar until the bottom of the fifth, when the Cougars scored on a balk for a 1-0 win. Pinch-runner Will Irwin walked in for the score after replacing Jose Hernandez at second with two outs.

Martinez and Maslar both struck out seven.

In other action, Armwood edged East Bay 3-1 to set up an important East Division game Thursday at Durant between the Hawks and the Cougars.

"We expected this to be a tough game with Martinez on the mound," Durant coach Gary Graham said. "He always gives us a hard game. He had to be throwing some of those fastballs 90 mph. But our little sophomore did a great job, too. There were a couple of times he could have gotten rattled but didn't."

Junior rightfielder Brett Perez made a pair of acrobatic catches. One was high at the rightfield fence and could have scored a couple of runs.

The other was in foul territory behind first base and near the fence in which he slid across the wet grass.

"Perez is in the lineup for a reason," Graham said.

"He is an excellent player and made some great catches tonight."

The Cougars scored after the fifth inning appeared to be over.

Hernandez reached on a fielder's choice and went to second on another fielder's choice. Irwin came in and stole third.

Before Martinez was called for the balk, he picked off Irwin. However, the plate umpire called the balk, scoring the run.

"This is a tough pool with Riverview, Armwood and East Bay," Graham said. "(Tuesday's) win was a big one for us."

In other games, Plant City defeated Bloomingdale 8-1 in the 10 a.m. game at Durant, which was followed with showers that caused the Wharton-Robinson game to be moved across town to Wharton. Wharton won the game 8-4.

Then after the field dried out at Durant, Armwood defeated East Bay 3-1.

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