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Armwood advances to state

© St. Petersburg Times
published July 28, 2002

SEFFNER -- Down to its last out Saturday, Armwood Baseball Club rallied to defeat West Tampa Post 248 10-7, then later defeated Bloomingdale Baseball Club 13-3 to qualify for the American Legion state tournament Aug. 2 in Bradenton.

Playing its second of three regional games at Armwood High after two days of rain limited play to one game, Armwood beat West Tampa with four runs in the seventh. Steven Clark's two-run single gave Armwood the lead, and Clark also scored when the ball got by the centerfielder. Daniel Fox added a three-run homer.

Armwood (14-4) then romped past Bloomingdale with the help of a three-run homer by Kevin Clark and a two-run shot by Brandon McArthur. McArthur, who also had three hits in the West Tampa game, worked the first five innings for the victory against Bloomingdale. The game was stopped after six innings due to the 10-run mercy rule.

West Tampa (18-11) rebounded from its morning loss to eliminate Land O'Lakes Post 147 (11-8) with a 6-2 victory. Gerald Smith's grand slam in the fifth inning was the key blow. West Tampa will play Bloomingdale (20-4) at 10 a.m. for the right to accompany Armwood to the state tournament.

The winning manager can then decide to play Armwood for the title or allow Armwood to be declared the winner by virtue of its 2-0 tournament record.

"That's the best we've swung the bats all season," Armwood coach Joey Fernandez said. "Considering we were playing shorthanded, with some kids away on vacation and a couple kids hurt, the kids showed a lot of heart."

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