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District softball: Dunedin earns second straight title

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Sat. April 20, 2013 | Bob Putnam | Email

DUNEDIN — This time last year Dunedin was on edge and in a state of disbelief after winning the Class 5A, District 12 softball title, the school’s first since 1991.

It was a story of a plucky underdog that had its moment.

A year later Dunedin was back, this time as a No. 2 seed hosting No. Bradenton Bayshore in the championship game.

And this time around, the Falcons were not in a trance. Despite falling behind early Friday, Dunedin calmly mounted a comeback and prevailed 7-4 for its second straight district title.

“I knew this was going to be a tough game,” Falcons coach Roy Silver said. “Bayshore has a good coaching staff, and their players keep getting better. We lost a couple of players from last year, and we know we can be beaten on any given night. But these girls were able to stay loose and relax and come through with the win.”

The Bruins were cast as upstarts after knocking off No. 1 seed Lakewood this week. Bayshore had gotten this far with a potent lineup of players who are adept at hitting the ball far.

The offense delivered early as Bayshore led 3-2 in the top of the second inning. The Falcons (16-8) responded by scoring in the bottom of the second and added two more runs in the third to go up 6-3.

That was all Dunedin starter Aubrey Ehlers needed. She kept the Bruins off balance the rest of the night by throwing her changeup to get ahead in the count.

The Falcons offense, meanwhile, continued to stay hot. Ehlers, Olivia Silver and Abbie Sexton each had two hits.

“Everyone was focused and ready to play,” Olivia Sexton said. “We lost a few players from last year, but we still thought we could come back and win another district title.”

At the start of the season Dunedin struggled, losing its first three games. But the Falcons found a way to regroup, winning 16 of their past 21 games.

“We had to figure some things out at the beginning of the season,” Roy Silver said. “But I told the girls it doesn’t matter how you play in March. It matters how you’re playing at the end. And right now, we’re playing our best ball.”

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