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Stingers capture state title, national berth

© St. Petersburg Times
published June 2, 2002

The St. Petersburg Stingers under-12 baseball team is national-tournament bound.

The Stingers won the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) state championship earlier this month to qualify for the national event in July in Burnsville, Minn.

"We were the ninth seed in the tournament, coming in with a 19-9 season record," manager John Lancaster said. "We had a tough schedule, but I think it helped us prepare and peak for the state tournament."

The Stingers won all six of their state games. The first victory was over the Lake County Predators, 11-3, behind the pitching of Brandon Hamilton and Joey Cuda. Mitchell Todd connected for an inside-the-park homer.

Brad McAllister fired a one-hitter against Winter Springs, and Johnny Lancaster contributed a two-run hit for a 2-0 victory.

In the third pool game, against the Tampa Bay Tornadoes, Todd belted two inside-the-park home runs in a 14-0 win. Kory Delange faced just 11 batters.

Cuda produced three RBIs and Luke Schmidt had two against the Tampa Panthers in an 8-7 quarterfinal victory. The Stinger's 4-1 semifinal win over Team Tampa saw a six-inning pitching effort by Cuda and two RBIs from Ryan Andrzejack.

St. Petersburg faced the third-seeded Sarasota Snappers in the championship. Jordan Clay opened a five-run first inning with a double. McAllister and Delange combined on the mound, and Luther Garrett caught the final out for a 5-1 Stingers triumph.

"What I am most proud of is the fact that all 11 of our players are from Fossil Park," Lancaster said, "and they all play there in the Florida Little Major League. We do a lot of things together off the field, so we're really close.

"Every player stepped up at some point in the state tournament and contributed to the win," he said. "That's the way we like it, and that's what we try to teach. Baseball is a team sport, and every player is important."

AAU BASEBALL: The Stingers' under-10 team finished 11th in its state contest. This weekend, the under-11 and U-13 squads are competing.

GIRLS BASKETBALL: The Clearwater Green Wave advanced three teams to the AAU National Championships with high finishes in the Florida State Championship. Clearwater's under-11 and U-14 girls squads placed second to qualify for this summer's nationals. The under-10 team was fourth.

GYMNASTICS: Medalist All-Star Ryann Matthews qualified for Team A in the AAU Junior Olympic National Championships with a third-place all-around performance in the AAU tryouts in Port Charlotte. Earning a spot on Team B from Medalist were Briana Stiles, Dalila Lemezan, Jamie Oakes, Christine Sayler and Jeniece Rahn. Claire Ferrari and Stacy Ostlund advanced to the individual competition. The nationals are in Knoxville, Tenn., the first week of August.

TWIRLING: The Drum Majorettes of America had its Florida State competition in New Smryna Beach. Florida Twirling Institute members captured nearly 70 top-five placements. First-place winners included Tiffany Jockers with nine; Katrina Nichols three; Victoria McFadden, Codi Martens and Melissa Foote two; and Megan Beacom, Kristin Russell, Catherine Gaylor, Angela Moore and Cassandra Gaylor one. In team competition, FTI collected 15 first-place awards.

ROLLER SKATING: Southland Skating Club members earned five first-place awards in the Sunshine State Games competition in Lantana. David Ellender won men's figures and solo dance and paired with Nancy Phillips to take team dance. Melissa Holmes was first in Star 1 solo dance, and Jerry Trissel won Star 2 figures. Holmes was second in Star 1 figures, as was Phillips in ladies figures. Trissel skated with Pat Schremmer to place second in veteran team dance and in Star 3 team dance. Lee Remley and Jim Singletary were second in masters team dance. Judy Holmes was fourth in ladies figures and fifth in Star 2 solo dance. Next up for the club is the Southern Regional Championships, June 17-22 in Pensacola. The top three finishers advance to national competition.

SWIMMING: First-place finishers in the Pass-a-Grille Challenge 100-meter Open Swim were the St. Petersburg Aquatics' Patrick Zimmerman (10-and-under), Tracy Rorer (11-12) and Noel Wells (senior). Haley Skaggs was the overall female swimmer and Paul Zimmerman the overall male. ... In the Hurricane Man 2.4 Mile Swim, SPA's Stase Michota was first in girls 11-12. Cameron Chambers won in 11-12 boys and Michael Moody in senior.

SOCCER: The Dunedin Stirling Soccer Club played host to 65 teams that competed in four girls divisions and eight boys classes in its first Memorial Day Tournament. Local winners included the Belleair under-10 girls, Clearwater Chargers U-12 girls, Countryside Lightning U-11 boys and Palm Harbor Nighthawks U-12 boys. Runners-up among the girls were Seminole under-11 and Palm Harbor U-15. Second on the boys side were Oldsmar under-11, Chargers U-13, Dunedin U-15A and Countryside U-15B.

THIS WEEKEND: The Tampa Bay Junior Lightning is having an open house 12:15 p.m. today at SunBlades Ice Center for those of high school age interested in hockey. For information, call 399-9803. ... The Tampa Bay Swim Classic concludes today at St. Petersburg's North Shore Pool for nearly 370 area competitors. The event is a qualifying meet for state and national championships. ... The Florida Youth Soccer Association concludes its State Cup today in Cocoa Beach. Local teams include the St. Petersburg Raiders under-15 girls; Clearwater Chargers U-15, -16, -18 and -19 girls and U-19 boys; and Countryside Lightning U-14 girls.

-- News for this column may be faxed to Nancy Morgan, 445-4119, e-mailed to or sent to 710 Court St., Clearwater, Fla. 33756. Please include phone number.

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