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Pitching, defense frustrate Pirates

By RICHARD BURTON
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 31, 2002

CRYSTAL RIVER -- Crystal River left its chances for victory against Flanagan on the basepaths and in the field in Saturday's final. The Pirates (17-2), ranked No. 3 in Class 3A, stranded seven baserunners in the first three innings and committed seven errors in an 8-2 loss to the Falcons.

Flanagan (16-3), ranked No. 8 in Class 6A, used its version of small ball to frustrate Crystal River.

Using their bunting prowess, the Falcons put the pressure on the Pirates and starter Jimmy Metz (6-1). Metz allowed just six hits, but walked a season high five batters and hit two. To make matters worse, his defense let him down.

Flanagan scored a pair of runs in the opening inning on a two-run double by Jesse Naber after an error and a hit batsman.

This was a sign of things to come as three Falcons reached on errors during the game and later came around to score. Crystal River was 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position in the first three innings, which included stranding the bases loaded with one out against Falcons starter Larry Owens.

Owens gutted out six-plus innings and allowed two runs, both in the seventh inning, while walking five and striking out five.

The Pirates' only runs came on an RBI single by Marcus Galvan and when Scott Miller was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

Jonathan Runnels had two of Crystal River's five hits, including a double.

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