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Pinellas Park wins, then gets help for PCAC bid

By JOHN C. COTEY, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 23, 2003

Thanks to a clutch performance from coach Bill Rutencutter's current players, and one from his past, Pinellas Park is headed back to the PCAC championship game.

After his team knocked off Dixie Hollins 3-2 behind a Cory Birge home run and Danny Miller's complete game Tuesday afternoon, Rutencutter was on the phone with friends at the Osceola-St. Petersburg contest, only to get some bad news: the Green Devils were winning.

But a few moments later, Rutencutter got the news he was hoping for. Kyle Griffith, who Rutencutter coached in Pinellas Park Little League for five seasons, capped a two-run rally in the seventh with a winning single to give the Warriors a 3-2 win.

Pinellas Park, Dixie Hollins, St. Petersburg and Osceola all entered Tuesday 5-1 in the conference. The losers were eliminated first, and Pinellas Park won the tiebreaker over Osceola thanks to a 4-3 win over the Warriors on March13.

The Patriots (15-11 and winners of 9 of 10 games) are the first South Division team to make consecutive appearances in the title game. They lost last year's final 13-2 to two-time defending champ Dunedin.

The Falcons can clinch the North Division title tonight with a win over Palm Harbor U. If the Hurricanes win, conference officials will have to sort out a three-way tie between Dunedin, Seminole and PHU.

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