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Land O'Lakes softball advances

Well, at least Joe Garrison was half-right.

The Land O'Lakes president predicted District 13 championships for two of his league's all-star teams.

The Junior Softball team came through, but the Major Nationals did not.

"We're trying to help Joe out; make at least half of his prediction come true anyway," said Steve Goldsborough, who managers the softball squad.

Scott Hilgenberg, the Major Nationals manager, said, "I still feel that we were one of the better teams out there."

After watching his team win the first two games before dropping the latter two due to errors, walks, wild pitches and passed balls, Hilgenberg said, "We unraveled big-time.

"If we were a woven towel, we would have just been hanging by a thread."

Now there is only one Land O'Lakes team left in the playoffs. The Land O'Lakes Junior Softball team plays the Section IV opener July 20 at East Bay.

In winning a district title, Land O'Lakes avenged a loss to Bloomingdale in the Tournament of Champions. In the district tournament, Land O'Lakes won 6-3 and Bloomingdale won 11-8 to force a third game, which Land O'Lakes won 10-2.

"I guess they just wanted to play an extra game; get a little practice in," Goldsborough said of the loss, in which Land O'Lakes committed eight errors and allowed nine unearned runs.

Ashley Goldsborough (4-1), the manager's daughter, pitched a two-hitter, struck out seven and walked three in the title game.

Land O'Lakes scored seven in the second to clinch it. Christy Ambler highlighted the inning with a two-run single. Brittney Scott, Sara Ippolito, Autumn Getz and Goldsborough also had run-scoring hits with Kailey Kuhl scoring on an error.

Six errors and a combination of eight wild pitches and passed balls led to the Major Nationals' 6-5 loss to New Tampa on Thursday. That dropped Land O'Lakes into the losers' bracket and preceded a 7-6 loss to East Point, in which Land O'Lakes made four errors.

Charlie Fischer and Charlie Neely, who had 10 strikeouts against New Tampa, each took a loss.

"I think the pressure got to our kids, and they started taking it personal," Hilgenberg said.

In Junior Baseball, Land O'Lakes fell well short of last year's all-stars, who came within one victory of the World Series. This year's team bowed out of the district tournament Wednesday and finished 2-2 after a 5-4 loss to New Tampa in 10 innings.

Anthony Santa pitched all 10 innings against New Tampa.

Land O'Lakes' last victory came Tuesday, 13-1 against Antioch behind Shane Stone's complete game.

For the tournament, Brad Patton threw out six baserunners attempting to steal and Matt Smith hit .636.

DISTRICT 4: Dade City's 9-10 baseball All-Stars, who fought its way out of the losers' bracket with three victories to reach the district semifinals, were eliminated 8-7 by Plant City American in Bartow.

"We started off all right, but it didn't end too good for us," said manager Ricky Gude, whose team saw a 7-2 lead disappear during the final two innings.

Dade City had won three in a row after losing its first game last week. Gude said despite the finish, he was pleased with the team's persistence and effort.

"I was proud of the kids," he said. "I think we could have done better, but we still ended up fourth in the district."

_ STEVE LEE, GREG AUMAN

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