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Citrus Park wins to force showdown

By ROVEN YAU
© St. Petersburg Times
published July 19, 2002

CLEARWATER -- Citrus Park staved off elimination and gave Dunedin a taste of its own medicine in a 3-1 win Thursday in the championship game of the Senior Softball State Tournament. On Tuesday, Dunedin hurt Citrus Park on the scoreboard with a 10-0, five-inning victory over the youngest team in the tournament. Most of Dunedin's runs that night were the result of errors.

On Thursday, Citrus Park answered back with a nearly flawless defensive performance and hurt Dunedin emotionally.

"We just needed to give them a little pow-pow," Citrus Park coach Marisol Hester said.

Dunedin threatened in the first, but with two runners in scoring position, Citrus Park starter Elizabeth Marra got Kristina Hilberth to pop up and Carlie Trudell to ground out.

Marra pitched all seven innings for the win.

Citrus Park broke through against Dunedin starter Bryce Crouch in the bottom of the third, when Stacy Overholt drove a ball into the soggy dirt down the third-base line and beat out Trudell's throw to first. Erika Sanjuan then hit an 0-2 pitch into the left-centerfield gap for a RBI triple.

Chelsea Vance scored the eventual game-winner in the sixth on a throwing error. Jackie Testerman scored an insurance run on the same play.

The lone Dunedin run was scored in the seventh on Christina Ionata's RBI single to rightfield.

Dunedin had the tying run in scoring position with two outs, but Apryl Wall grounded out to Sanjuan to end the game.

Sanjuan made six putouts at shortstop for Citrus Park.

"We gave them infield practice," Dunedin coach Vince Ionata said.

Citrus Park's payback could not have come at a better time. The win forces a one-game showdown tonight at 7 at Bomber Stadium against Dunedin with the state championship at stake.

Rain caused a delay of more than an hour to start the game, making it impossible to squeeze in the second game Thursday.

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