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Preps

Error-filled inning helps PHU down Eagles

By JOHN C. COTEY
Published April 2, 2003

PALM HARBOR - There was the errant pickoff throw. The throw from rightfield that missed two cutoff men. The one-hopper throw home from third base. The misjudged fly ball in leftfield. The errant toss from the pitcher.

All in one inning. It might have been enough to drive East Lake coach Lee Byers a little crazy if he hadn't seen the same thing three nights earlier.

Playing for the first time since giving up nine unearned runs in one inning during a loss to Seminole, Class 5A No. 5 East Lake was once again foiled by one bad inning, falling to Palm Harbor University 7-4 Tuesday afternoon in District 9.

The Eagles (15-3) committed five errors in the fifth, leading to all seven Hurricane runs.

"It's similar in that we didn't play defense in either of those innings," said Byers, whose team lost its first district game. "You're going to have problems when you pitch from behind in the count and when you don't field the balls when they are hit. There's not many teams that are going to win when you can't shut down the big inning."

After a walk and errors by starting pitcher C.K. Gordon and catcher Nate Huegel put runners on the corners, PHU's Mike Palumbo doubled in the first run. Paul Smith followed with a two-run single and Dan Alcorn and Shawn Heuton added consecutive RBI singles to make the Eagles pay for their errors.

The Hurricanes (15-4) didn't get a hit off Gordon until the fourth but outhit East Lake 8-7.

"They made a couple of mistakes," PHU coach Greg Nichols said, "but we put the pressure on them. We hit the ball and that contributed to it."

Held to three singles in five innings by PHU starter Jason Kiley (5-1), the Eagles rallied in the sixth. Huegel drove in a run and Dan Boucher doubled in two more to make it 7-3.

But with two outs, Boucher tried to score behind Dan Kirkwood on Matt Cresta's single and was out at the plate on a perfect throw by Hurricane rightfielder Greg Mandilk.

"We think our defense is pretty strong," Nichols said. "And the throw by Mandilk was the key play. It killed their rally."

Kiley avenged his only loss this season, striking out five in 52/3 innings. Smith pitched a perfect seventh for the save.

SEMINOLE 15, ST. PETERSBURG 0: The red-hot Warhawks, ranked No. 8 in Class 5A for the first time this season, won their 13th straight game after a season-opening loss by beating the Green Devils in five innings.

Seminole, which scored nine runs in the seventh to win the Steve Georgiadis Tournament on Friday, scored seven in the first against St. Petersburg and six in the second, giving it 22 in three consecutive innings.

DIXIE HOLLINS 3, NORTHEAST 0: Senior A.J. Bozenhard tossed his third shutout of the season as the Rebels made the most of their two hits in the Class 5A, District 10 victory.

The Vikings committed five errors.

[Last modified April 2, 2003, 02:03:29]

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