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Dunedin grabs Juniors crown

Published Sep. 3, 2005

The end of Dunedin's season was standing 90 feet from home plate.

With a runner on third and no outs in the bottom of the seventh, Citrus Park appeared to have the Section 7 Junior baseball title at its fingertips. But Dunedin's Tyler Schmidt slammed the door shut to send the 6-6 game into extra innings.

In the top of the eighth, Josh Paquette's leadoff home run pushed Dunedin in front 7-6. Dunedin tacked on two more runs, but Citrus Park still had life.

Down to its last out, the District 6 champion mounted a comeback. Daniel Hatcher walked and Chadd Moss followed by ripping a single back up the middle. Mike Bletsch's RBI single closed the gap to 9-7, but Schmidt came up huge again, getting a strikeout to end the game with the tying run on second.

The victory gives Dunedin a berth in the state tournament at Niceville on Saturday.

Dunedin was on the brink of elimination in the top of the seventh, too. Mitch Murdock greeted reliever Justin Bowman with a bases-clearing double to tie the game.

SENIOR BASEBALL: After an 11-1 win in its first game against Pinellas Park, defending state champion Palm Harbor took care of Palma Ceia 10-4 on Sunday to take first place in round-robin play.

MAJOR BASEBALL: The title went to Palm Harbor on Sunday as it shut out Bayshore 4-0. Bayshore, the District 6 champion, was victimized by defense in the first, leading to all four Palm Harbor runs.

9-10 BASEBALL: With victories against Pinellas Park Sunday and Tampa Bay on Monday, East Lake claimed first place.

East Lake had staked itself to a 3-0 lead vs. Tampa Bay behind Brett Donnelly, who was 2-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored entering the fourth. Tampa Bay jumped in front with a seven-run fourth, but East Lake countered with six runs in the next two innings for the 9-7 victory.

Tampa Bay and East Lake will meet again tonight to determine the sectional champion.

JUNIOR SOFTBALL: Pinellas Park made a furious comeback in the sixth, but it wasn't enough to overtake Tampa Bay for the championship on Sunday.

Trailing 6-0 entering the top of the sixth, Pinellas Park exploded with a five-run inning. Kayla Griffith slapped a bases-loaded double to bring home two runs to cut Pinellas Park's deficit to 6-3. Casie Goelz followed with a two-run single as Griffith slid in under the tag to close within one.

But Tampa Bay catcher Kerri Croney fielded Joanie May's bunt and tagged out Goelz at the plate. Croney then gunned down pinch-runner Brittany Rose trying to steal second to end the inning.

Pinellas Park went down in order in the seventh to end the game.

9-10 SOFTBALL: Palm Harbor used an 11-run fifth inning to overtake Northside 13-9 on Monday. With Cross Bayou already eliminated from the tourney, Northside will get a rematch at 7 tonight for the championship.