First, Suwannee County bounced Hernando Youth League into the losers bracket of the Majors state tournament. Then, it bounced out the locals.
HYL _ a collection of 17- and 18-year-old players from Hernando, Central and Springstead high schools _ managed just one hit in a 5-2 loss that ended its run in the double-elimination tourney in Avon Park.
Jamie McElfresh produced the hit with a squeeze bunt. Hernando had a 2-1 lead with two outs in the sixth inning, but Willie Fifer took the loss in relief.
Still, coach Donnie Whitehead was pleased with his squad's performance.
"When you try and combine kids who have not played together all year round, it can be hard, but they bonded pretty well," Whitehead said. "We had a short amount of time to get everybody clicking as a unit, but we did it pretty well.
"They handled the different personalities and approaches, especially with me trying to do some things different to get the right lineups," he said.
Crystal River won the tournament for the second consecutive year.
TRYOUT: Whitehead said McElfresh, a second baseman who batted .333 his senior season with Central, is expected in the immediate future to have a tryout with St. Johns River Community College in Palatka and perhaps Saint Leo.
Hernando alums Drew Innes and Nick Westbrook, a member of Whitehead's HYL club, played for St. Johns last year.
_ BRANT JAMES