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Rally ends Knights' frustration


© St. Petersburg Times, published April 13, 2003

TAMPA -- It seemed Robinson was headed for another loss Saturday when pitcher Nelson Sanabria gave up a three-run home run in the first inning to Gaither. But with strong defense and a couple of home runs, the Knights rallied for a 5-4 win.

Robinson trailed the Saladino Tournament champions by four runs until the bottom of the third, when Sanabria drilled a home run to rightfield to make the deficit 4-1.

"It was perfect. I couldn't have asked for a better pitch," Sanabria said.

After the Knights lost both games of a doubleheader Friday, Sanabria said the team took the field Saturday with a new mind-set.

"We were embarrassed after yesterday, but we didn't quit today," Sanabria said. "We channeled out our anger today."

Junior Clint Ippolito relieved Sanabria to earn the win for Robinson after allowing two hits and four walks.

In the fourth, the Knights scored their second run when catcher Kyle Weihs came home on a wild pitch by sophomore Ryan Plate. Robinson tied the game in the bottom of the fifth on first baseman Adam Salhanick's two-run home run.

Plate gave up four hits and walked four in five innings before Patrick House came in to relieve for the Cowboys.

Salhanick came back in the seventh to help win the game for Robinson by reaching base on an error that scored the winner.

Gaither could have pulled ahead in the seventh. The Cowboys loaded the bases with two outs after Ippolito hit a batter and intentionally walked two others to avoid facing a left-handed hitter. But Robinson shortstop Milan Dinga ended the threat by hitting into a fielder's choice at second.

"I trusted my defense enough and they got me out of it," Ippolito said. "I like pitching in that situation. I think that's when I throw my best."

Robinson assistant coach Gary Ippolito said it was mental preparation that helped bring back a win.

"We knew we were already facing a tough team, and we came back hard and showed heart today," he said.

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