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Clearwater tops Northeast 2-1 in a game highlighted by dominant pitching.
By C.J. RISAK
Published March 25, 2005
DUNEDIN - Two of the best pitchers in the county met Thursday in the Dunedin Spring Classic
Clearwater and Northeast battled to the final out, with the Tornadoes emerging with a 2-1 triumph at the Englebert Sports Complex.
There was just one walk and one error in the game, and unfortunately for the Vikings, they had both. Senior Michael Booth was nearly untouchable for Clearwater (8-1), surrendering just four hits - all singles - with no walks and seven strikeouts. "He's been doing it for us all year," Clearwater coach Doug Banks said of Booth, who is 4-0 with an ERA under 1.50. "There's an old football saying, "Defense wins championships.' That's what we're doing right now, getting good defense and good pitching."
Northeast sophomore Josh Bowman also was tough. Bowman pitched 51/3 innings before reliever Mike Cherico came on; Bowman allowed one unearned run on six hits and a walk, striking out 11.
"He pitched good enough for us to win," coach Roman Johnson said. "He's got the highest strikeout-to-innings-pitched count in the county."
Clearwater got a run in the first with Edmond Rakipi opening with a walk. After a strikeout, he moved to second on an error and scored on a single by Booth, who helped his cause with two hits.
The Tornadoes added a run in the third on consecutive two-out singles by Justin Fletcher, Booth and Kyle Mueller, with Mueller's hit driving in the run.
Northeast (7-4) didn't get a hit until Nick Shaw's bunt single with one out in the fourth. Austin Gaines followed with a single, and Austin Smith delivered Shaw with a base hit. Shaw had two hits for the Vikings.
"We've had a lot of close games," Banks said. "If I'm dreaming, I hope no one wakes me up."
In a consolation bracket game, Pasco edged Palm Harbor University 3-2, with Stephen Roe outdueling Cory Glass for the pitching win. Roe worked 51/3 innings, giving up three hits and four walks with seven strikeouts. Kyle Hobbs got the save with 12/3 innings of relief, fanning three. Glass pitched all seven innings for PHU, allowing three runs on four hits with no walks and five strikeouts.