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Close call helps Hurricanes hold on

By STEVE LEE, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 26, 2002

INVERNESS -- The outcome of Thursday's Class 3A, District 6 semifinal between Hernando and host Citrus hinged largely on a reversed call.

The Leopards, who once trailed 5-0, believed they had tied it at 5 when Christine Dennis, who moments before hit a run-scoring triple, scored on Nicole Young's popup down the third-base line.

Initially ruled a fair ball by home-plate umpire Wayne Colton, the call was reversed after Citrus coach Scott Waters argued the ball did not hit third baseman Sarah Salozzo before rolling foul. Young then grounded out to pitcher Krystle Cummings, and Citrus hung on for a 5-4 victory.

The Hurricanes play in tonight's final at 7 against Crystal River, which beat Williston 7-0 behind Cassie Pearson's one-hitter.

"We asked all three (umpires), "Did you see the play clearly,"' Waters said. "It was foul and overruled rightfully so."

"(Colton) said he never saw it hit anybody," Hernando coach Ernie Chatman said. "That's one play and, yes, it ties it up. But we could have done a better job in the first inning."

Citrus took a 4-0 lead in the first on Alycia LePage's leadoff home run, Salozzo's two-run single and two Hernando errors.

Ashley Bullion tripled and scored in the first against Williston. And Melissa Coburn hit a two-run double to back Pearson, who limited the Red Devils to Jennifer Kordgien's pinch-hit single in the sixth.

"I wasn't even thinking no-hitter," Pearson said. "But I almost did it."

Pasco to face state No. 1

ZEPHYRHILLS -- Pasco used a three-run fourth inning to take a 4-1 lead over Mulberry in Thursday's semifinals. Pasco pitcher Christina Harris made sure the lead stuck, holding Mulberry to two hits and an unearned run.

Pasco (12-12) earned a berth in tonight's final against Bartow, the No. 1 team in Class 3A. Bartow and Pasco each clinched playoff berths, but the winner of tonight's 7:30 game will get home field in the first round and a district championship.

Bartow crushed host Zephyrhills 10-0 in five innings in the late game. Bartow's Lindsay Littlejohn and Ericka Jenkins combined for a no-hitter with nine strikeouts.

Zephyrhills (10-14) struggled against Bartow's aggressive baserunning. Bartow (27-2) scored six unearned runs thanks to five Zephyrhills errors. The Bulldogs also had six wild pitches.

Ashley Farmer led Pasco, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored. Tara Walters added an RBI triple, and Jami Pass was 2-for-3 with an RBI.

"We get to play next week but I want to go where Bartow thinks they're going," Pasco coach Ray Carver said. "We're not highly recruited. We're just a little community team."

-- WAYNE GRUMET

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