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RALLY PUTS COUNTY TEAM IN SOUTHERN REGIONAL

Palma Ceia/Tampa Bay/Interbay won the major softball state championships Monday, defeating Plant City 6-3.

PC/TB/IB fell behind early to Plant City, as two errors allowed two base runners to reach and later score. Plant City added a run in the second to take a 3-0 lead. PC/TB/IB responded with pitching and defense as Caroline Ellis threw four no-hit innings in relief helped by strong defense.

PC/TB/IB's outfield made up of Ashton Hill, Sarah Miller, Meghan Murphy and Natalie Franklin recorded six flyball outs. Caroline Bado had two hits with an RBI, while Franklin, Alexis Jackson and Ashley Cozart each drove in a run.

Manager Lee Pitisci said the team is built from the ground up with every player in the lineup adding something.

"The bottom line is I don't think we have one superstar like a lot of teams," Pitisci said. "We have a scrappy little team who has come from behind time and time again and found ways to win."

The win earns PC/TB/IB a spot in the Southern Regional Tournament at Gulfport. The eight-team tournament begins Friday with PC/TB/IB playing Franklin, N.C., at 4 p.m.

The five-day tournament consists of eight state champions from Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia and Virginia split into two pools.

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