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Title belongs to Eagles alone

By KEITH NIEBUHR, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 23, 2003

INVERNESS -- Springstead earned at least a share of the first Gulf Coast Athletic Conference title in its 26-year history last week, but that wasn't enough to satisfy the Eagles.

"We wanted to take it all," coach Craig Swartout said.

They did, with help from Citrus.

The host Hurricanes committed four errors and Springstead used solid pitching and timely hitting to win 4-2 Tuesday and claim the conference championship outright. Citrus (14-7, 7-3 in the GCAC) needed to beat Springstead (17-2, 9-0) and have the Eagles lose their conference finale against Crystal River to force a tie.

"We gave them too much," Hurricanes coach Scott Waters said. "And we got some bad breaks. There were some calls that didn't go our way."

Springstead struggled early against Citrus starter Megan Rall (9-5) but had four of its five hits and scored all of its runs in the fourth inning. Emily Eicholtz and Caitlin DeCristofaro opened with singles, and Ashley Liberatore delivered a one-out RBI single for a 1-0 lead. After a Citrus error scored another run and kept the rally alive, Abbey Behensky brought home two with a single to leftfield to make it 4-0.

"Sometimes it takes us a while to figure pitchers out," Swartout said.

Behind three Springstead errors, Citrus pinch-runners Krystal Boardman and Jorlene White scored in the fourth. But Eicholtz (16-2) was practically flawless in every other inning, striking out six and finishing with a two-hitter. She retired the side in five of the seven innings she pitched.

"Sometimes we take her for granted," Swartout said. "Nothing she does surprises me.

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