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Rains can't dampen team's major victory

With West Pasco leading 3-1, hometown fans were in the mood to celebrate when heavy rains halted Monday night's District 12 major baseball final at Plummer Field.

"That double play sealed East Lake's fate," public address announcer Jim Bilancione said, alluding to the play that completed the fourth inning seconds before a downpour halted play at 8:40 p.m.

Two hours and 20 minutes later _ and after several failed attempts to dry the field between bursts of rain _ District 12 administrator Bob Gibson declared West Pasco the winner.

The double play on Matt Seidel's grounder, turned by shortstop Kyle Trouton, second baseman Josh Poole and first baseman Richey Ardizzone, ensured the minimum requirement of four innings would be played and made the game official.

It also resulted in the first major baseball championship in West Pasco's history.

"I was thinking (of throwing the ball to) first (base) all the way," said Poole, who made a quick pivot at second. "I knew that that was going to be the last pitch and we had to get two outs. I didn't have a good grip on the ball, but I still chucked it over there."

Seidel, who had East Lake's only hit, a leadoff single in the second inning, couldn't get good traction out of the batter's box. His slip ensured West Pasco of its second double play in the district tournament.

Seidel's hit was the only one allowed in the last 10 innings by winning pitcher Charlie Mohr, who tossed a no-hitter in Saturday's 10-0 win against Safety Harbor National.

West Pasco advances to the Section IV tournament, which begins Saturday at Cross Bayou.

West Pasco and East Lake came into Monday's game with matching 5-1 district records. One of West Pasco's earlier wins was an 11-3 victory against East Lake.

West Pasco struck quickly with Mark Rose's two-run home run to rightfield in the first inning. Eric Slotter, who drew a leadoff walk, also scored for a 2-0 lead.

West Pasco could have had an even bigger inning, but Seidel struck out Anthony Nicoletti with the bases loaded and two outs.

East Lake shaved the lead in half in the bottom of the first. Mohr hit leadoff hitter Blake Oliver with a pitch and Oliver later scored on A.J. Caesar's sacrifice fly.

In the third, Mohr gave West Pasco its final run with a home run over the left-centerfield fence. The blast came two pitches after he pulled a ball over the fence, but just outside the foul pole.

Before Monday's game, West Pasco manager Greg Connors discussed with his players the importance of taking an early lead.

"I said, "If we get some runs early, the fact that we beat them before, maybe they'd hang their heads.'

"I'm not going to say we wanted it more, but we had to have it."

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