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Crystal River deciphers Cummings for title

By KEITH NIEBUHR, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 28, 2002

INVERNESS -- Panic never set in inside Crystal River's dugout, but there were some tense moments during Friday night's dramatic 2-1 win over Citrus in the Class 3A, District 6 final.

"Everybody was getting a little down," first baseman Ashley Bullion said.

Rightfully so.

Citrus pitcher Krystle Cummings (12-5) no-hit the Pirates (17-7) for 51/3 innings. Several balls were hit hard, but the Hurricanes kept anything from dropping in.

"We were very frustrated at first," Crystal River third baseman Melissa Coburn said. "Everybody was popping everything up. We needed one hit. Once we got that, we were pumped."

Pirates shortstop Ashley Williams ended the drought with a single to right in the sixth, but Crystal River failed to score after putting runners on second and third.

In the seventh, Coburn opened with a bloop single. Two batters later, Emily Bayer stroked another single that moved Coburn to third.

"I was just looking to get a base hit," Bayer said.

Seconds later, a wild pitch scooted to the backstop, scoring one run. The winner crossed the plate when the throw to home got away.

"They got a couple of bloop hits, and we didn't do what we needed to do," Citrus coach Scott Waters said. "We played a pretty good game. Krystle did what we needed her to do. She controlled them all night."

Citrus' penalty for losing: A playoff road game at 26-3 St. Augustine Bartram Trail on Tuesday. Crystal River will play host to 11-14 St. Augustine Nease.

The Pirates went 8-2 against district competition, 3-0 vs. Citrus. They reached the regional final last year when they went 15-16.

"We're very confident," Coburn said. "We needed that win. To be able to play at home (in the playoffs) is awesome."

Citrus (18-8) has won 11 of 13.

"We really came together as a team in this tournament," Hurricanes shortstop Alycia LePage said. "I know we're going to go far (in the playoffs). During the season, a lot of people didn't really care and just wanted the season to end, but this really has brought our team so close."

Rounds 1, 2 and 3 went to Crystal River.

A fourth meeting, which would come in the regional final, is a distinct possibility.

"It's a twisting road, it could happen," Waters said. "But right now, we're just going to concentrate on the next game."

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