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Land O'Lakes holds off Pinecrest

By ANTHONY GAGLIANO
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 23, 2002

The Land O'Lakes 9-10 softball team withstood a three-run comeback by Pinecrest on Saturday to move into the District 13 championship game.

"If you would have asked me (how I was feeling) 10 minutes ago, I was about to have a heart attack," Land O'Lakes coach Will Herrera said after his squad rallied for a 7-6 victory. "When they were able to tie the game (in the bottom of the sixth), I was very nervous. But I have a lot of confidence in my girls to come back and score some runs and get back ahead."

Land O'Lakes held a 6-3 lead in the bottom of the sixth before Pinecrest scored three runs to tie the game. But Land O'Lakes scored on a wild pitch in the top of the seventh to win.

Kasey Murray pitched the final inning and got two strikeouts for the save.

In the title game, Land O'Lakes will face Bloomingdale, which shut out Land O'Lakes 14-0 on Thursday.

Saturday's loss capped a great comeback week for Pinecrest.

It lost to North Brandon in the first round then fought through the losers bracket, beating East Bay before rallying from a 7-0 deficit to beat New Tampa 19-9 on Friday to reach the final.

"Well, the girls played a good game (today) and we tried to pick them up," Pinecrest coach Teddy Davis said. "I tried to get them to hold their heads up. They came a long way."

9-10 BASEBALL: New Tampa set up a rematch with Land O'Lakes American by beating North Seminole 12-3 on Saturday.

"I'm very proud of the team," New Tampa coach Harold Hatter said. "We lost the first game, and in the losers bracket it feels like we've played every night with the rain. I think our team's ready to keep it going."

Land O'Lakes American beat New Tampa 8-5 in the first round, but behind a complete-game, 10-strikeout performance by Cory Nelson, who also went 3-for-4 at the plate, New Tampa advanced to the Field A championship game.

In Field B also at Land O'Lakes, Bloomingdale American edged out a 4-3 victory against North Brandon to reach the Field B championship game. Bloomingdale American will have to beat South Brandon twice to be a part of the district championship.

District 6

9-10 SOFTBALL: Northside, South Tampa and the Keystone-Bayshore winner all advanced in the winners bracket.

Northside's 12-0 victory against Tampa Bay earned it a 1 p.m. meeting with host Citrus Park today. As for South Tampa, it used some creative baserunning and a few walks from West Tampa to score six runs in the second without getting a hit.

"That's what we told the girls before the game: Baserunning will win or lose the game at this level," South Tampa coach Laurie Steckel said after her club's 11-1 victory. "Pitching is inconsistent. They were smart on the bases and we got a victory."

South Tampa will face the Bayshore-Keystone winner today at 1 p.m. West Tampa meets the Bayshore-Keystone loser in an elimination game at 3:30.

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