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CLEARWATER - Believe in luck? There are a couple of pitchers who went head to head - Clearwater's Michael Booth and Dunedin's Kyle Mills - Tuesday who should.
Both performed superbly at Jack Russell Stadium, allowing just five hits and two walks combined. But it was the Tornadoes who got the game's only run (unearned), staying unbeaten (4-0) thanks to the 1-0 victory.
Asked what the outstanding factor was in the game, both coaches - Clearwater's Doug Banks and Dunedin's Tom Hilbert - had the same reply: Both pitchers performed really well.
"He's been doing it for us all year," Banks said of Booth. "He throws strikes. He came into the game with only one walk in 20 innings. But my hats off to their pitcher, too."
The lone run came in the second inning, and it was Booth who got the rally going, reaching base on an grounder to second. The throw to first by Bryan Garcia was in the dirt, putting Booth at second. He went to third on a groundout and scored on Kyle Mueller's clutch two-out single.
Mills was nearly untouchable after that; the senior right-hander gave up three singles and one walk, striking out eight - four of them coming in the fifth when Shawn Livernois reached base on a third-strike error by the catcher.
"We only had two hits and they only had three," said Hilbert, his team now 5-2. "We weren't hitting before, then we got 14 runs in (each of) our last two games last weekend."
As for luck, well, as Hilbert explained: "Kyle has pitched in both of our losses (this season), and he hasn't given up an earned run in either one."
For the Tornadoes, Booth allowed two hits and a walk, hitting one batter and striking out four. He was aided by two double plays turned by his defense, but the Falcons defense had its moments as well, ending two innings with pick-off plays at first and turning a double play, too.
"We got that clutch two-out hit," Banks said. "It doesn't matter whether you win 1-0 or 12-11 as long as you play as a team."