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Two Citrus Park teams lead way

The District 6 champs in major softball and junior baseball both win twice, advancing to their title games.

By ANTHONY GAGLIANO
© St. Petersburg Times
published July 21, 2002


TAMPA -- Citrus Park is poised to have two teams advance to the state Little League tournaments next week in Debary.

The District 6 champions in major softball and junior baseball, Citrus Park continued to dominate those divisions as both finished first in pool play Saturday to move onto the finals of the Section 7 tournament at Interbay.

Citrus Park's major softball team showed its offensive prowess, overpowering Seminole 11-3 and District 12 champion Safety Harbor 11-1.

In its opener against Seminole, Citrus Park surrendered three in the first, but Richelle Mirabal shut down the District 5 champs from there and supplied a run-scoring double in the fourth. Khrystyne Ely went 2-for-2 with a triple and reached base all four times.

Against Safety Harbor, the District 12 champs, Ely and Morgan Grove fueled the offense; each had a pair of triples in the first two innings to help Citrus Park take a 10-0 lead.

Citrus Park faces Safety Harbor again at 1 p.m. today for the title.

Citrus Park's junior baseball team won its opener 6-3. Leadoff man Justin Bowman was too much for Northeast, scoring three runs, then pitching five innings of relief, yielding one run.

Daniel Hatcher singled in the winning run in the bottom of the seventh to thrust Citrus Park past Dunedin American 6-5 for first place in the junior tournament.

Citrus Park and Dunedin, which beat Northeast 13-0, meet Monday at 7 for the sectional crown.

In junior softball, Tampa Bay cruised to victories against Pinellas Park and Safety Harbor to win pool play and move on to today's 1 p.m. championship contest.

Kerri Croney had a two-run inside-the-park home run to cap a four-run first inning in the opener, a 10-0 shutout of Pinellas Park. Katie Grimes and Lauren Rodriguez each went 2-for-4 with two runs. Elizabeth Chesser and Annie Pilger combined on the six-inning shutout.

Tampa Bay's second game saw Safety Harbor take a two-run lead after one. But Tampa Bay countered with a nine-run second, all after two were away. Rodriguez had a two-run single to equalize and Grimes followed with a two-run single to send Tampa Bay in front 4-2. Tari Owi stood out by going 3-for-4 with a double and Croney went 3-for-4 in the nightcap.

Mike Lashbrook almost single-handedly sent Bayshore's major baseball team into the final. In Bayshore's first game, a 10-1 win over Northeast, Lashbrook threw a 15-strikeout, three-hit gem and connected on a three-run home run in the sixth to put his squad up 8-1.

Lashbrook's homer was the first of back-to-back-to-back shots as Stef Lazzara and Carter Ingenfritz followed with dingers.

Bayshore was unsuccessful in the nightcap, losing 6-4 to Palm Harbor. Chris Kavouklis made things interesting with a two-run single with two outs in the bottom of the sixth.

Palm Harbor finished first in round-robin play, but Bayshore gets another chance today when the clubs square off at 1 p.m.

District 6 also got off to a good start in minor baseball and softball.

Garrett Ransom's run-scoring double helped Tampa Bay build an early lead, then it tacked on six more in the sixth to win 11-2 against Pinellas Park National. Pinellas Park, the District 5 champion, got a pair of walks from Travis Agosto, who scored both of its runs.

Tampa Bay gets a day off today before resuming at 7 p.m. Monday when it goes for first place in pool play vs. the District 12 champion.

With Kristen McGrath on the mound, Northside made short work of District 5 champion Cross Bayou, 12-1.

McGrath was stellar on the mound, pitching all four innings and striking out 10. Bayou's Jackie Carow ruined McGrath's bid for a no-hitter with a run-scoring single in the fourth. McGrath also had two doubles and went 3-for-4 and Shelby Heiser was 3-for-3 with a walk and two runs.

Northside will also come back at 7 p.m. Monday for the last game in pool play.

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