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Dunedin secures spot in Senior softball final

© St. Petersburg Times
published July 17, 2002

DUNEDIN -- The Dunedin All-Stars are the first team to advance to the Senior Softball State Tournament championship game after a 10-0 win over Citrus Park on Tuesday.

Dunedin scored the first run in the first inning when Christina Ionata reached on a bloop over a drawn-in infield and went to third on a wild pitch. Apryl Wall's ground ball to first allowed Ionata to score easily.

The flood gates opened in the third when Dunedin struck for eight more runs.

Sarah Kohlbrenner had two hits, including a triple, and scored two runs. Ionata also scored two runs.

Kalli Cora shut down Citrus Park's offense with six strikeouts. Dunedin's infield frustrated Citrus Park batters by handling all but one ball put into play. Citrus Park hit only one ball out of the infield.

"All year long that's what we work on more than anything else," Dunedin coach Vince Ionata said. "We believe with our pitching, catching and defense, nobody is going to catch up with us. The pressure is on them to get past our pitching and defense."

Citrus Park managed only one hit against Cora. Chelsea Vance hit a ground ball that appeared to be rolling foul up the third-base line but was ruled fair after Carlie Trudell touched the ball. Vance ended up at second but was stranded.

The game was moved to Dunedin's home field at Fisher Park due to schedule conflicts caused by rain.

"A pleasant surprise," Ionata said. "The girls love it."

In addition to clinching a berth in the championship game, Dunedin will also be the only team to have a night off since Saturday. The rest could be an advantage for Dunedin because all four of its pitchers will be eligible to play in the final. "I think it's a pace more than anything," Ionata said. "Our goal was to stay in the winners bracket no matter what, because come Thursday night, everyone is available."

The championship game will be played at Bomber Stadium in Clearwater at 6 p.m. Thursday. If necessary, a second game will follow at 8.

In Monday's late session, Dunedin defeated Sebastian 11-5. Brandy Holmes and Kristina Hilberth each had triples. Kohlbrenner hit a triple with the bases loaded to cap a six-run rally in the fourth. West Pasco appeared to be on track for a championship showdown with their District 12 rival Tuesday. However, four unearned runs in the bottom of the eighth helped Winter Park win 6-5.

With the scored tied 2-2, West Pasco took the lead in the top of the eighth when Shauna Kortas and Melissa Kurzweil scored on wild pitches.

Rachael Ridway knocked in the game-winning runs for Winter Springs with a two-run single in the bottom of the inning.

Olivia Tuporowsky pitched all eight innings for Winter Springs, striking out nine.

The loss eliminates West Pasco from the tournament.

JUNIOR BASEBALL: Northeast claimed the District 5 championship with an 8-4 win over Cross Bayou.

Chris Hamm had three hits and drove in two runs. Chris Gutierrez pitched five shutout innings in relief for the win.

Northeast forced a second and deciding game after beating Cross Bayou on Monday.

Northeast scored four runs in the seventh to tie the game, and then scored four runs in ninth for the win.

Ryan Luker pitched three shutout innings in relief for the win. Matt Stull, Anthony Janicki and Nick Bunch had three hits each.

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