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County gets elusive Series berth

Citrus County's 12-year Dixie League Baseball drought is over.

A 7-4 win against Lake Region on Thursday gave Crystal River the county's first World Series berth since Mike Hampton led his team to the state title in 1989.

Crystal River posted a 5-0 record in the state tournament and picked up where it left off in a 6-1 victory over Lake Region on Tuesday.Crystal River scored six runs in the first two innings Thursday, then held on behind the pitching of starter Bobby Stack and Jimmy Metz.

"We knew we had a good team, and we knew if we played good we could dominate," said Ryan Lindeman, who allowed just one hit in Tuesday's win. "They only put up one run against me, so I knew Bobby could come in and do the job."

Stack scattered 7 hits over 6 innings and struck out 4. Metz, who came on in relief in the seventh, allowed just one base runner.

Crystal River enjoyed a five-run second inning that put Lake Region in a hole.

Crystal River took a 1-0 lead in the first when Marcus Galvan singled home Kyle Griffin, who led off the inning with a walk.

Scott Miller led off the second with a triple and scored one batter later on an error. Consecutive walks to Stack and Matt Maggiore loaded the bases for Jonathan Runnels, whose two-run single broke the game open. Clayton Trenary (2-for-4, RBI) doubled home Maggiore and later scored on an error.

"The pitching in this tournament wasn't all that dominant," Galvan said. "We took some time to adjust to some of the slower pitchers, but when they brought in the good pitchers, we just stroked them."

Will Bleakley completed the Crystal River scoring with a solo home run in the fifth inning.

"This team really is a well-oiled machine," manager Russ Lindeman said. "They hit the ball well, played good defense, and we had good pitching."

Crystal River will leave next Friday for the Dixie League Majors World Series in North Charleston, S.C. It will play its first game Saturday.

The team will be practicing at Crystal River High School throughout the week.