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Saladino at Gaither

By SCOTT PURKS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 23, 2003

TAMPA -- The first round at Gaither offered a little bit of everything: a slugfest mixed with a load of errors followed by a well-played extra-inning affairand a blowout.

Unfortunately for those who enjoy keeping a tight schedule, the slugfest (a 20-12 victory for Durant against Freedom) lasted three hours, pushing back the next two games, which weren't exactly quickies themselves.

Brandon won the second game 4-3 against Chamberlain in eight innings, coming back from a 3-1 first-inning deficit.

The Eagles tied it at three in the top of the seventh when Mike Powell singled and came home with two outs on Chris Cates' doubled.

Brandon scored the winning run in the top of the eighth. Ryan Macko walked, stole second, went to third on a passed ball and scored on an infield single by Powell.

It was Chamberlain's first loss in 10 games this season while Brandon improved to 9-4.

In the nightcap, Gaither (6-4) picked up just nine hits but defeated winless Blake 19-0 in five innings, scoring a tournament-record 13 runs in the fourth. Gaither held the previous record for runs scored in an inning with 10 in 1990.

The victories give Brandon and Gaither a slim advantage in the White division, arguably the tournament's toughest with Chamberlain, Brandon and Gaither also in it.

Durant (11-2) also plays in one of the toughest divisions, Green, where the Cougars are joined by King, Plant and Freedom.

If Saturday's game were any indication, Durant will have to pick up its a game a bit to have a chance at a tournament title.

Durant took a 18-4 lead into the bottom of the fourth but allowed seven Freedom runs in the fourth. Overall, the Cougars committed five errors and allowed 14 hits.

Durant, however, did not throw its top pitchers Saturday.

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