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Class 4A, Region 2 quarterfinal

By BRANT JAMES, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 28, 2002

WHO: Ridgewood (23-7) at Central (15-12).

WHEN: Tuesday, 7 p.m.

WHERE: Central.

ADMISSION: $5.

NOTES: If regular-season results matter, the Bears got a bad -- and unexpected -- draw. Ridgewood, the top seed in District 8, crushed Central 11-0 in the regular season, and Hudson eked out a 4-2 victory in the Tom Varn Invitational. That game was the Bears' first of the season. Both losses were at Central. But Hudson's 8-5 win for the District 8 championship Thursday sent the Rams to Brooksville. ... Four errors were critical in the Rams' loss. Ridgewood got home runs from Aaron McLamar and Monte Werner. Werner leads the Rams with a .391 batting average and 37 RBIs. Richie Hittel has 50 steals for a go-go Rams team. That could be a major problem for a Central squad that is one of the worst in recent history throwing out base stealers. ... Ronnie Low led the Ridgewood pitching staff in the regular season at 9-1. He had a 0.69 earned-run average and 99 strikeouts (just 15 walks) in 60 innings. ... Central's 1-2 pitching punch was effective in the district tournament. Senior Thomas Lobianco (7-3, 2.97) was wild but allowed just 5 hits and 2 runs in a 6-2 semifinal victory over Springstead. Junior Josh Smith (5-3, 3.45) surrendered 7 hits and 2 unearned runs in an 8-2 championship win against Leesburg, working quickly, getting ahead and keeping his defense sharp behind him. ... Central made just one error in the tourney. ... Bears coach Gary Buel has not named a starting pitcher for the regional opener. First baseman Sean Steele would have been the district most valuable player had there been one. He went 5-for-6 (was hit once), scored 3 times and knocked in 1. ... Central won the second district title in its history. The previous was in 1999. The Bears never have captured a region crown.

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