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Bucs lose with change of pace; Gator wins debut

By STEVE LEE
Published April 6, 2005


Gulf and Land O'Lakes started newcomers on the mound last week with varying results.

Aimee Hayes lost her Bucs' debut and the Gators' Maegan Bridwell won hers.

Gulf ace Shauna Whitetree played third base while Hayes, a first baseman, pitched for the first time in an 11-6 loss to Mitchell. Gulf coach Rick Hohenthaner hoped to bring in Whitetree as the closer, but did not get that chance thanks to Mitchell's seven-run outburst in the fourth inning.

"I wanted to change speeds," Hohenthaner said, alluding to the hard-throwing Whitetree taking a 10-0 loss to Mitchell earlier this season. "I wanted to give (Mitchell hitters) something they would see, but possibly get frustrated with.

"I'll use Hayes again."

Casey Soltys and Stephanie Donaldson, combined for eight hits, five doubles and five RBIs for Gulf vs. Mitchell.

A win would have been nice, but playing Mitchell close in the rematch was plenty rewarding for Hohenthaner, whose team had just two wins in the previous three seasons.

"They took that team to task, which tells me I don't have to worry about these girls in the future," Hohenthaner said.

Bridwell gave workhorse Rhiannon Bogaert a rest and scattered seven hits in a 6-2 win against Pasco. She benefitted from six Pirate errors, struck out two and walked five.

But what really impressed Land O'Lakes coach Jamie Martin was Bridwell's composure. The sophomore right-hander worked out of a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the top of the seventh inning by retiring Ashley McSwain on a grounder to preserve the win.

"Rhiannon's a workhorse for us and from time to time she's going to need a break," Martin said, adding Bridwell "did a good job of putting the ball in the (strike) zone and our defense was right there."

Bridwell played in Dade City Little League with a handful of current Pirates. That did not stop her from mowing down some former all-star teammates.

"I just felt like I had to go out there and do my stuff," Bridwell said.

DOGS' DAY: Before last week, River Ridge had not lost to Zephyrhills since 1999. That drought ended Thursday as the host Bulldogs won 3-1.

"He's got a good ballclub and they hit the ball pretty well," River Ridge coach Ernie Beck said of first-year coach Craig Milburn's team.

For Milburn, the victory reflects the balance among the Sunshine Athletic Conference's nine teams. All but one-win Hudson have at least four wins.

"I told Coach Beck I'm just amazed how close everyone is," Milburn said. "There's some good teams, I think. It's just a very competitive conference."

Caryn Allison blasted two home runs, one a two-run shot, to account for Zephyrhills' runs against River Ridge. Allison leads the county with four homers.

Zephyrhills then lost 1-0 to Wesley Chapel and defeated Pasco 4-3.

Wesley Chapel ace Dayna Glover pitched a one-hitter against Zephyrhills, allowing only Hayley Decker's triple.

"She can shut anybody down," Milburn said of Glover, who has an 0.81 ERA with 53 strikeouts.

River Ridge, coming off three straight state appearances, nearly lost twice last week. The Knights needed nine innings to beat Hudson 9-5.

"You slough off a little bit and somebody's going to bite you," Beck said.

Pasco has first-hand knowledge of that. The Pirates lost their first two games before reeling off an eight-game winning streak, only to lose their past three.

"Now we're 8-5, just like that," Pasco assistant Lisa Herndon said.

[Last modified April 6, 2005, 01:07:18]


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