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TAMPA - Alex Cooks, suspended after being ejected from Tuesday night's game against the Ravens Baseball Club, sat in the dugout wearing his red Terriers jersey and shorts Wednesday.
The Terriers made sure it wasn't the last time Cooks put on his uniform top this summer.
The Terriers Baseball Club (Hillsborough) got timely hitting and a gutsy performance from starter Matt Schurig to defeat the Ravens (Alonso) 7-3 and advance to the American Legion State Tournament.
The Terriers and Ravens split the first two games of the series, but Wednesday's win means Hillsborough will join West Tampa Post 248 (Jefferson) in the state tournament Aug. 4-7 at Clearwater's Jack Russell Stadium.
West Tampa qualified by having the best district record during the regular season.
Schurig went the distance in the 90-degree heat, fanning seven and holding the Ravens to five hits. Terriers coach Marcus Garcia consulted with his starter every inning after the seventh, but Schurig said he "wanted the ball."
"Matt just gave us an unbelievable effort," Garcia said. "He proved why he's been our best pitcher all summer the way he gutted it out (Wednesday night)."
It was the first time Schurig had thrown nine innings and the righty felt the effects after the game.
"All my energy was gone the last two innings," Schurig said. "I was running on fumes."
While Schurig was holding the Ravens in check, the Terriers' opportunistic bats took care of the rest. Hillsborough scored six of its seven runs on two-out hits.
"Two-out hits can be backbreakers," Garcia said. "Just when they thought they were almost out of the inning our guys came through in the clutch."
Trace Venegas, Orlando Bacon and Rick Acosta each delivered two-run singles, and Ronnie Cosse rounded out the scoring with an RBI base-hit, all off Ravens starter Matt Stephenson.
The Terriers play the first game of the state tournament at 9:45 a.m. Aug. 4. West Tampa Post 248 plays the last game of opening day at 7:45 p.m.
LEGION B: Brandon's B team, the Central Area champion, plays in the state tournament this weekend at Stetson's Conrad Stadium in DeLand.