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Ram a one-hit wonder

By GREG AUMAN, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 11, 2003

LAND O'LAKES -- Sending senior Anthony Redmond out for his first varsity start in a key district game, Ridgewood coach Larry Beets would have been happy with three or four solid innings from the left-hander.

Redmond did that and then some, taking a no-hitter into the seventh and finishing with a one-hit shutout as Ridgewood clinched the top seed in its district with a 2-0 win at Land O'Lakes.

"I was definitely not expecting this," said Redmond, who had not gone more than three innings in any previous appearances and struck out only one batter Thursday. "(Beets) told me (Wednesday) in school ... he said, 'You're the ace on Thursday.' I said, 'I'm ready for it.' "

Redmond (2-0) had retired 11 straight and was two outs from a no-hitter when Gators freshman Caz Piurowski hit a slow grounder past third baseman Aaron McLamar into leftfield. A night of strong defense was capped with a running, snow-cone grab by Monte Werner in rightfield for the second out and a routine groundout to second baseman Jon Koenigsfeld.

"That's the way to step up, isn't it?" Beets said. "He's been coming to our camp since he was 9 years old. I said, 'You're left-handed, you should go for it. It might take until your senior year, but you'll make it.' He's a great kid, and if he doesn't pitch again for two weeks, you'll never see a difference and he'll do everything he's supposed to."

Redmond's gem spoiled a strong night from Gators starter Ryan Nalls, who retired 14 in a row after giving up the game's only runs in the first. The Rams tagged Nalls (4-3) for three hits, scoring once on a double by McLamar and again on a bases-loaded walk to Danny Lotz.

Ridgewood (15-5, 10-1) now has a first-round bye in the Class 4A, District 8 tournament, and Land O'Lakes (12-6, 6-3) is one game ahead of Mitchell and Hudson for the second seed.

Beets called Redmond's performance a no-hitter, saying the grounder to McLamar glanced off his glove, but Gators coach Cal Baisley thought the ball went through cleanly and ruled it a hit in the home scorebook. Having seen many games lost by poor defensive plays this season, Baisley was impressed by the nearly mistake-free game the Rams played.

"We got beat, and that doesn't happen often," he said. "Most of the time in high school, games are lost and not won, but they won tonight. We hit the ball but they made great plays."

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