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Spongers surprise Bucs

By FRANK PASTOR, Times Staff Writer
Published May 7, 2005

NEW PORT RICHEY - Bobby Shank's single through a drawn-in infield drove home Cody Bergen with the winning run as Tarpon Springs scored twice in the seventh to stun Gulf 4-3 on Friday.

Tarpon Springs (14-10) plays Ridgewood (14-11), a 6-2 winner over Wesley Chapel, in today's final at 1 p.m. at Gulf.

Gulf used first-inning doubles by Cory Patterson, Brandon Decker and Blaise Simon to jump out to a 2-0 lead and added a run on Norberto Navarro's home run in the third. Tarpon Springs pulled within 3-2 after scoring two unearned runs in the fourth.

It stayed that way until the seventh, when Kevin Fagan was unable to handle Derek Morris' bouncer back to the mound. Morris moved to second on a balk and was sacrificed to third before scoring on Bergen's triple down the first-base line.

With one out, Gulf intentionally walked Bobby Hartman and Karl Midgette to load the bases for Shank, whose single past a diving Willie Rogers put Tarpon Springs into the playoffs for a second consecutive season.

Gulf (13-12) came within two outs of making the postseason for the first time since 2001.

"You talk about a team that won two games two years ago, to go tooth and nail with the best teams around here, I'm just extremely proud of our players," Gulf coach Shaun Wiemer said.

In the first game, Jon Koenigsfeld pitched four innings of no-hit ball in his longest outing since breaking a bone in his hand. (He punched a bulletin board in frustration after striking out earlier in the season against Wesley Chapel).

Ben Koenigsfeld and Eva drove in two runs each as Ridgewood made the playoffs a 15th consecutive season.

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