By JOHN C. COTEY and ANTHONY GAGLIANO
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 19, 2002
"I think it worked out perfect."
Doug Lee, Lynn Haven Mosley coach, on his team's 7-0 deficit. The Dolphins rallied to win their first state baseball title 8-7 over East Lake with four runs in the sixth and seventh innings.
Pinellas County had a chance to win four titles, an impressive feat considering the county competes in four classifications (there are no Class 6A schools and just one 3A school -- Osceola). But only Clearwater Central Catholic came through with a title, winning the Class 2A final. East Lake lost a chance to win its first by blowing a big lead, leaving Pinellas County's all-time mark in state championship games at 10-11. The Bay area had eight teams in the state finals -- CCC, Northside Christian, Ridgewood, Dunedin, Crystal River, East Lake, Chamberlain and Bloomingdale. The local fans helped set an attendance record while their teams compiled a 5-7 record.
The 5A and 6A finals drew a combined 2,319 fans Saturday, extending the attendance record set Friday night. For the week, the tournament drew 21,813, breaking last year's mark of 19,357.
1B -- Kyle Pearson, Jr., Lynn Haven Mosley: Pitched his team into the final, allowing five hits and striking out eight in a 3-1 win. In the 5A championship against East Lake, he drove in the first two Dolphins runs with a double and had another RBI in the decisive seventh-inning rally.
2B -- Chris Campbell, Jr., Jacksonville Bishop Kenny: His first of six RBIs in two games started the key rally in a 4A semifinal, and then he had a double and blasted a home run against Ridgewood to lead the Crusaders to their first title.
3B -- Gilbert Gonzalez, Fr., Miami Brito: In two games, the No. 9 hitter went 4-for-5, and in the Class A championship win, he doubled, singled and scored the winning run in the sixth inning.
SS -- Gaby Sanchez, Sr., Miami Brito: The University of Miami signee did it all for the Panthers, going 5-for-8 with three doubles and four RBIs to help his team win its semifinal. On the mound, he earned the save in the Class A final.
C -- Nate Huegel, Jr., East Lake: His home run and three RBIs vaulted the Eagles into the 5A final, and against Mosley, he reached base three times and scored twice.
OF -- Chris Petrie, Jr., Jacksonville Bolles: Scored both runs in the 3A championship, including the game-winner in the sixth in a 2-1 win over Bartow. He went 1-for-2 in the semifinal against American Heritage.
OF -- Lastings Milledge, Jr., Northside Christian: Team fell short in the Class A final but Milledge went 4-for-7 in two games with 4 runs, 3 RBIs, a stolen base and an inside-the-park home run, setting the state RBI record in the process.
OF: Chad Lewis, Sr., Bartow: Hitting under .200, Lewis won't go down as one of the stars in this tournament, but they'll always remember how his grand slam, his first homer of the year, led the Yellow Jackets into the 3A final.
UT: Jamie McKean, Sr., Clearwater Central Catholic: Was 3-for-7 with three RBIs, including a two-run single in a semifinal, and his defense preserved the semifinal win.
DH -- Jeremy Hunt, Sr., Northside Christian: Pitched five-inning shutout with 10 strikeouts in Class A semifinal, and went 4-for-6 with two doubles and three RBIs in the tournament.
P -- Justin O'Keeffe, Sr., Clearwater Central Catholic: Turned in the most masterful pitching performance of the tournament, shutting out Florida Christian 5-0 on a three-hitter in the 2A final. At the plate, O'Keeffe reached base seven of eight times, with three hits and three walks.
P -- Ronny Lowe, Sr., Ridgewood: The lefty beat Dunedin in a 4A semifinal. Enough said.
P -- Tyler Rhoden and Jon Hollis, Jacksonville Bolles: Both allowed one run in complete-game victories. Rhoden gave up seven hits and struck out three in the 3A title game, and Hollis allowed six hits with four strikeouts in the semifinal.
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