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Gulf advances with win over Crystal River

Controversy mars a tight game highlighted by good pitching.

By DAWN REISS
Published May 7, 2005


CRYSTAL RIVER - Casey Soltys scored the winning run on a controversial fielder's choice in Gulf's heated 2-1 victory over Crystal River on Friday.

The game was tied at 1 in the top of the fourth when Crystal River second baseman Brandy Liepke tried to throw Soltys out at home. Soltys arrived at virtually the same time as the throw and was called safe, drawing a disagreement from Crystal River coaches.

"I was told by the umpire that Ja'Vonna's toe was down and not her heel," Crystal River coach Justin Wentworth said. "It was hard to tell whether she was safe or not from where I was, but that's not the reason we lost the game. We had our chances, we just didn't get all the little things done."

Crystal River tried to rally back in the sixth. Quincy Wilson singled to left. After University of South Florida signee Ashley Bullion struck out, Grimsley doubled to left while Wilson headed for third, setting up another controversial play. Gulf third baseman Stefani Giannakaris and Wilson both dove for the bag at the same time, resulting in a head on-collision. Both laid on the ground for a while writhing in pain, before the umpires call Giannakaris for obstructing Wilson.

"From my perspective the ball was clearly in her (Giannakaris') hand two or three steps before contact," said Buccaneer coach Rick Hohenthaner. "Which give her the right to be in that position. The umpire said she didn't have control of the ball, but if she did not have the ball in control, then why after she was knocked down did she still have the ball in her hand?"

A heated argument ensued among fans, causing police officers to try and quiet the stands. Ultimately Crystal River was unable to capitalize, leaving both runners on base.

Crystal River freshman Cassidy Rash remained the calm within the storm, striking out 12. Gulf's Shauna Whitetree threw a complete game, striking out nine.

Gulf took the lead early, aided by Crystal River miscues as Rash and Bullion committed errors..

Julie Wisniewski drove in the run on a sacrifice fly. Crystal River battled back when Elisha Fitzpatrick singled and went to second when Whitetree was called for an illegal pitch. Ashley Clark doubled to left to bring home Fitzpatrick.