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Next foe gets peek at 18-7 Hurricanes

By KEITH NIEBUHR, FRANK PASTOR
Published May 4, 2003

St. Augustine Menendez coach Butch Helmly was in the stands when Citrus beat Dunnellon 4-2 Friday night to win the Class 3A, District 6 final. The Falcons (10-14) play Tuesday at Citrus (18-7) in the region quarterfinals.

"They play real hard and have a lot of team speed," Helmly said of the Hurricanes. "I like the way they run the bases. They take a lot of chances."

Menendez lost to 25-3 Jacksonville Bartram Trail 1-0 in the District 5 final. Falcons pitcher Skylar Bailey is considered to be one of the best players in the Jacksonville area.

UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN: Lecanto's 4-3 loss to Springstead in Friday's 4A-7 title game marked the third time this season the Panthers lost to the Eagles by one run, including a 1-0, 18-inning thriller on April1.

"Lecanto is a good team, well coached," Springstead coach Craig Swartout said. "You don't win a state championship like Amy Lilley did (in 1996) without being a good coach."

The teams could meet a fourth time in the region final. Swartout, for one, would welcome the opportunity.

"Shock the world," he told Lilley following Friday's game, "and we'll see you again in three rounds."

Lecanto (13-11) plays Tuesday at River Ridge in the region quarterfinals.

TWO FOR ONE: Winning its first district title since 1999 was huge, but Citrus' biggest prize was a home playoff game. After the Hurricanes lost to Crystal River in last year's district final, they fell at Bartram Trail 3-0 in their playoff opener.

"I'm glad to be playing at home," Citrus catcher Whitney Gelin said.

Dunnellon (17-8) has the unenviable task of playing at Bartram Trail, a final-four team in 2002. "It's going to be tough," Tigers pitcher Melissa Seeber said. "I hear they have a very good team."

[Last modified May 4, 2003, 01:46:30]

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