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Another title not in cards

The West Pasco Ponytails (ages 11-12) will not get another shot at a Dixie Softball League World Series.

The defending state champions, who finished third in last year's World Series lost the state final Monday 8-5 to Wewahitchka.

The Ponytails went 3-2 at Okeechobee, leaving the Angels (9-10) as West Pasco's lone representative in a World Series.

The final was marred by the controversial removal of first base umpire Brandon Jacobson, who West Pasco manager Kelly Skulas said was removed by Wewahitchka manager Charles Crice.

Following arguments over Wewahitchka pitcher Samantha Rich being called for illegal pitches, and the input of state director Clarence Jordan, Jacobson was removed from the game.

"Basically, (Grice) got what he wanted," West Pasco coach Dave Richards said. "He ejected the umpire."

"In the history of sports I never heard of the umpire ejected and not the coach," Skulas said.

Jordan said home plate umpire Darrell Crosby made the decision to remove Jacobson.

Making matters worse, Skulas learned before the game that her ex-husband's mother, Goldie Saclerides, died in a car crash in South Carolina.

"It wasn't meant to be," Skulas said, alluding to the championship loss. "It was quite overwhelming."

Both of West Pasco's losses were to Wewahitchka. Wewahitchka, eliminated by West Pasco in last year's state semifinal, defeated West Pasco 3-0 in the third game.

"We struggled," West Pasco coach Rusty Horn said. "In the games we needed it, we didn't get the key hits."

West Pasco had its most productive game in the opener, a 15-0 win over Clewiston.

"It kind of pumped them up for the rest of the tournament," Horn said.

Tenisha Dixon doubled, tripled and had five RBIs against Clewiston. Tosha Richards drove in two runs with Carly Mountain, Christina Skulas (Kelly's daughter) and Sara Swartz each adding an RBI.

West Pasco beat Bonifay 5-1 before being shut out by Wewahitchka. Skulas went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and a run scored against Bonifay. Tosha Richards drove in a run. Dixon and Rebekah Stockowski scored a run apiece.

Before the rematch with Wewahitchka, West Pasco defeated Okeechobee 2-1. Shayleen Urena and Brianna Rish each drove in their first run of the series. Skulas and Patricia Dobraski scored the runs.

Horn lauded his players for their effort in the championship game.

"They gave everything they had," he said. "Even through all the shouting, they kept playing ball."

Dixon and Skulas paced West Pasco's offense, each batting .421. Swartz (.333) was the only other West Pasco player to hit at least .300.

On the mound, Dobraski went 2-2 and Richards earned two saves. Richards finished with 19 strikeouts. Skulas fanned 17 and Dobraski 11.

The West Pasco Angels play in the World Series on Aug. 3-8 in Eufaula, Ala.