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Dragons ride ace against Indians

© St. Petersburg Times
published March 23, 2003

TAMPA -- Jefferson coach Pop Cuesta wasn't positive a one-run lead would stand up against East Bay, but with ace Brian Chambers on the mound, he liked his chances.

And Chambers delivered.

The Dragons scored a pair of fourth-inning runs and rode the arm of Chambers to a 2-1 victory against the Indians on opening day of the 23rd annual Tony Saladino tournament.

"You always want to get another three or four runs," Cuesta said. "But I felt pretty good the way Chambers was throwing the ball tonight."

Chambers (2-3) dominated the Indians, effectively mixing a 90-plus mph fastball with a biting curve. The senior right-hander went the distance, giving up two hits, striking out 12 and walking one.

"(Chambers) worked ahead in the count and that makes it tough," East Bay coach Bill Leiby said. "I would have liked to seen us a little more aggressive."

Chambers looked unhitable through the first three innings, fanning seven of the nine Indians he faced. He had at least two strikeouts in each inning except the fourth, and retired the side in order six times.

East Bay starter Dustin Doane struck out five and gave up three hits in five innings, but control problems in the fourth led to a pair of Jefferson runs.

"(Doane) did a great job keeping their hitters off-balance," Leiby said. "Other than the fourth, he was on top of his game."

Jefferson broke through when Santy Garcia and Julio Pacheco reached on a double and a walk. Both advanced on a wild pitch, and one batter later, Trevor Williamson's groundout scored Garcia. Another wild pitch with Yunior Tabares at bat allowed Pacheco to score.

Hillsborough and Bloomingdale joined the Dragons in the upper half of the six-team Blue Division.

Carlos De La Paz's three-run pinch-hit home run was the big blow as the Terriers defeated Riverview 12-4.

And Robert Flores surrendered two hits and struck out four in seven strong innings to help the Bulls beat Robinson 8-2.

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