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Mustangs cruise behind big inning

By SAM STANTURF
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 14, 2002

ST. PETERSBURG -- Shorecrest pitcher Sean Wiggins managed to keep his team within striking distance of Class A No. 1 Northside Christian for five innings Saturday, but he tired in the sixth and the Mustangs scored 11 times on 12 hits to win 16-2.

Northside senior Jeremy Hunt led the barrage with a 400-foot home run to center as his team came within one batter of batting around twice. Hunt went 4-for-5 in the game with a team-high six RBIs.

"We needed a game like this," Hunt said. "I think we showed a lot of composure today by staying focused and eventually putting the game away with our bats."

Wiggins and Northside's Todd Redmond battled control problems early, but both teams struggled to get runners across the plate.

In the first five innings, the squads stranded seven runners apiece.

Northside's Brian LeClerc opened the sixth with a single and promptly stole second. Andy Park followed with a walk and accompanied LeClerc on a double steal. When catcher Zach Wendkos' throw bounced away from second baseman Clay Burke, LeClerc came home to start the route. Park scored one batter later when Lastings Milledge tripled to right-center to put the score at 7-2.

Northside posted 19 hits in all, including eight extra-base hits, while Shorecrest managed only one infield single against the pitching of Redmond and Hunt.

"I don't think the score was truly indicative of the way this game transpired," Northside coach Darrell Don said. "While our pitching wasn't the best today, our hitters really stepped up and made the difference."

With districts a little more than a week away, Northside Christian (24-2) is gearing up for a run at the state title. The successful return of designated hitter David Scott will be a key to Northside's success. Scott went 1-for-3 with an RBI double in his first action in 18 games since breaking his collarbone.

"David will play a key part in our offense," Don said. "He's just one more bat we can send up there."

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