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Gulfport squad in need of offense

By RODNEY PAGE, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published July 6, 2002

After battling rain for most of the season, Gulfport Post 125 finally got in some games this week at the Veterans Memorial Tournament in Bradenton. Post 125 was 1-2 at the tournament through Thursday and is 5-7 overall and 4-4 in the South division of Legion "A".

Gulfport is going to have to hope for more good weather before July24, when the region tournament begins at the Naimoli Complex. The team has played far fewer games than its opponents because of rainouts (it has had seven this season).

In order to have a strong showing at the region tournament, which sends the winner to the state tournament, Gulfport must continue its solid pitching and improve its hitting. Pitchers James Coffman (Admiral Farragut), Cliff Otto (Lakewood) and Justin Pashak (Boca Ciega) have done well. Otto recently threw a nine-inning, two-hitter against the Sarasota Baseball Club.

However, hits have been hard to come by. David Reid (Gibbs) and Marshall Hampton (Admiral Farragut) have been the top offensive threats.

"We haven't given our pitchers enough run support," Gulfport coach Mike Smith said. "We have to find a way to get more hits."

Gulfport is the only county team in the southwest region's South division. It is grouped with tough teams such as Bradenton Post 24, Venice Post 159 and the Sarasota Baseball Club. Prior to the Veterans Memorial Tournament, Gulfport was ahead of only the Sarasota Riverview Baseball Club in the five-team division.

"We haven't been able to play many games lately," Smith said. "We've got a lot of doubleheaders to play to make them up."

YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM: The newly formed Pinellas Police Athletic League team recently competed in the Junior Olympics tournament in Jupiter. After winning its first three games in pool play, PAL lost in the field of 32.

Aside from playing in a quality tournament against teams from throughout the Southeast, the tournament also served as a talent pool for the Junior Olympics under-16 team.

None of the Pinellas PAL players made the cut of 32 players selected from the Junior Olympics tournaments in Jupiter and Arizona. Those 32 players are currently playing in Arizona in the hopes of being selected to the final roster of 18, which will compete at the Pan Am Championships in Venezuela in August.

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