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WEST HERNANDO'S ARMOR HAS FEW CHINKS

The West Hernando Little League junior baseball team is going somewhere Friday that no other West Hernando Little League team has gone before - the state finals.

The team went 3-0 during last weekend's sectional play in Dunedin to reach the state tournament in Port St. Lucie.

Looking around at his team during Wednesday's practice at Springstead High, coach Jim Wright said this group is among the biggest 13- and 14-year-olds he has seen.

The players have power at the plate and are strong defensively. West Hernando put up 28 runs on its sectional competition, while holding opponents to a combined eight in three games.

West Hernando, which has a strong batting lineup throughout, was led by Bobby Pasarela (4-for-6, with one home run that went over 400 feet, and one double), Ryan Beaton (5-for-10, two doubles), Julian Perez (3-for-6, two doubles), Patrick Dwyer (8-for-11, three doubles), J.R. Wright (2-for-8, two doubles) and Lewis Colaicomo (6-for-11, a double).

But after watching his team rack up 70 runs in five district games, Jim Wright knows the players can do even better. That's why the squad has practiced hitting every day this week; each player taking anywhere from 100 to 200 pitches.

The team also brings a solid defense and talented group of pitchers to this weekend's state tournament.

Pasarela, J.R. Wright, Beaton, Brett Maggard, Mark Frederick, Vince Owens and Dwyer combine to give the junior squad a pitching rotation that is solid from top to bottom.

During the last sectional matchup - a 6-4 win over Palm Harbor - Pasarela and J.R. Wright combined for seven innings to give up one earned run and strike out five.

Kellie Dixon can be reached at kdixon@sptimes.com or (352) 544-9480.

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