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Duo does it for Bulls

Bloomingdale shuts out Seminole 4-0 behind the play of Stacey Bronson and Courtney Raney.

By STEVE LEE, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 31, 2002

HUDSON -- Seminole repeated as a finalist in the Rams Classic, but Bloomingdale battery mates Stacey Bronson and Courtney Raney helped send the Warhawks home without a title -- again.

Bronson and Raney were named tournament co-MVPs Saturday after leading the Bulls to a 4-0 championship victory against Seminole, which lost last year's final to host Ridgewood.

In Saturday's other final-round games at Veterans Memorial Park, Sarasota shut out Ridgewood 5-0 for third place, Hernando routed Crystal River 13-4 for fifth and East Lake defeated Gulf 7-0 for seventh.

Bronson, who plans to sign with Florida Southern in April, went 3-0 on the mound during the tournament to improve to 10-3 overall.

She allowed one unearned run on five hits and struck out 37.

Raney, a catcher who has signed with Florida Atlantic, had an extra-base hit in every game but the final. Against Seminole, she hit a run-scoring single and scored twice.

Her second run came on a double-steal when she slid around the tag of Seminole catcher Jessica Garrett. "We like to share everything," Bronson said. "We've been pitcher and catcher (at Bloomingdale) for four years."

"I'm not going to miss these two," Bloomingdale coach Mike Claymon said with a smile as Bronson and Raney walked off the field together.

Bloomingdale, the state's No. 2 team in Class 6A, won the Jon Sinclair Memorial Spring Fling Invitational last year during spring break.

In the Rams Classic, the Bulls went 4-0. That included Friday's decisive 11-1 win against defending champion Ridgewood.

"The big difference is we didn't know these teams," Claymon said. "You just go out there and play ball."

Seminole, a 5A team that went 1-1 against 6A teams in the classic, clinched a berth in the final after a 23-1 win against Gulf.

Shawna Hawthorne pitched a two-hitter in that contest to improve to 8-0.

Ridgewood entered the tournament with six consecutive shutout victories, but scored seven runs on 14 hits in splitting four games.

"Considering we won two of those games, that's not bad," said Rams coach Greg Bollinger, noting that his team went 0-2 against two state-ranked teams (Sarasota is ranked fifth in 6A).

Errors reigned in the battle for fifth place as Hernando and Crystal River combined for 10 miscues.

Hernando ace Ashley Rogers, who lost the Leopards' first two tournament games, redeemed herself and improved to 9-5 in the win against Crystal River.

Gulf, outscored 65-2 in four losses, committed 14 errors.

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