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Bears save Cseh work with double plays

High in the lineup of baseball cliches is the maxim about double plays _ pitcher's best friend and all _ but there is an obvious underlying truth.

Especially when you're pitching for the first time in 2{ weeks, your right arm is fatigued, and the first batter keeps reaching in the late innings.

Just ask Central senior Randy Cseh, who got double plays in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings Tuesday to preserve a 6-3 win over Hernando and break the Bears' three-game losing streak.

"The leadoff guy kept getting on, and I had to pitch from the stretch," said Cseh (2-1), who allowed 3 runs on 5 hits in 6 innings. "It's tough when you haven't pitched in so long. I was getting a little tired in the sixth.

"It's tough to get your arm back into shape," he said. "I think twice I pitched to live hitters and that helped a little bit, but throwing that many pitches, you can't practice that."

Central's record improved to 4-3. Hernando fell to 3-5.

A 6-4-3 double play ended a three-run Hernando rally in the fourth and allowed Central to maintain a 4-3 lead.

Tommy Hessler lined into a 4-6 double play to end the fifth, and with the bases loaded and one out, pinch-hitter Alex Hensley tapped into a 1-2-3 to end the sixth.

In the fifth, "I threw him a 2-0 curveball, and he hit a line drive on it," Cseh said. "That was big, because getting the double play really saved me a lot of pitches.

"In the sixth, I used a changeup, which I get most of my double plays on because it moves down. I made a good pitch, it was right there and dropped, and it came back to me."

Hernando coach Tim Sims second-guessed his strategy in the three key situations.

"Should you bunt or not bunt?" Sims said. "We sat back in two instances, and not with Hessler who has been one of our better hitters, and he hits a line drive dot.

"We sat back with the two guys where we probably should have been aggressive and moved the runners."

REWARD: Cseh's victory ended a streak of good pitching being wasted. He allowed 4 runs in 6 innings in a 4-0 loss to East Lake in the Tom Varn Invitational championship Feb. 22, Josh Smith took the loss after throwing a complete game in a 2-0 loss to Land O' Lakes on Feb. 27, and Smith took another loss in eight innings of a 1-0 defeat by Crystal River (5-1) on March 6.

"We had three outstanding pitching performances and lost all three," Central coach Gary Buel said.

"We were frustrated at the plate and not dinking and dunking it around like we should, taking pitches we should hit and swinging at pitches we should take."

_ BRANT JAMES

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