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Land O'Lakes hands Ridgewood its first loss of the season, rolling to a 14-5 district victory.
By MIKE TOMPKINS
Published March 3, 2006
NEW PORT RICHEY - In an anticipated Class 5A, District 7 game between two of the county's three unbeaten teams, Land O'Lakes capitalized on just about every Ridgewood mistake, benefiting from four Rams errors, as well as a three-run Caz Piurowski homer, to cruise 14-5 Thursday night.
Land O'Lakes also received a gritty effort from southpaw Jeff Bloomer, who overcame control problems and a line drive off his right patella, to run its record to 4-0 overall, 2-0 in the district. Bloomer pitched five innings,
"We just kept it on them," Gators coach Calvin Baisley said. "No matter what the score was. I told (assistant) coach (Adam) Shorts "they can come back.' We just never felt comfortable. But any time you can beat Ridgewood you feel like you've accomplished something."
After a scoreless first inning, Land O'Lakes exploded for four runs in the second with a little help from the Rams.
With runners on first and second with no outs, Jono Cornelius laid down a sacrifice bunt. The ball was fielded by first baseman Matt Beck, who attempted to get the force at third. Beck underthrew third baseman Ben Koeingsfield, however, allowing pinch-runner Mike Weaver to score. The error allowed Jose Santa, who was on first, to advance to third, and Cornelius went to second.
The next batter, Ross Hughes, hit a chopper to shortstop Jay Mattos, who then underthrew Beck at first base. Mattos' error sent Santa across the plate and allowed Cornelius to advance to second. After two consecutive strikeouts and with leadoff hitter Danny Sutton at the plate, Rams pitcher Jeff Roxby threw a 2-1 curveball in the dirt, which got past catcher James Noto. Cornelius scored and Hughes moved to second, making the score 3-0. One pitch later, Sutton drilled a single up the middle, scoring Hughes, before Bloomer flew out to end the inning.
After two more Gator runs in the top of the third, Ridgewood (6-1, 1-1) finally got on the board with a three-run bottom half. After infield singles by Koeingsfield and Noto, freshman reserve Doug Burlett hit a three-run homer just over the leftfield wall to make it 6-3.
Land O'Lakes added two more runs in the top of the fourth, then pulled away with a five-run fifth inning, due in large part to Piurowski's blast, his third in four games.