tampabay.com

Gulf's shutout mired in controversy

By DAVID MURPHY
Published March 3, 2006


BROOKSVILLE - Typically, a 12-0 game is as interesting as an empty pizza box.

It is boring. Bland. Mind-numbing.

But when that shutout features a controversial second-inning play that one team rules a hit and the other an error, and when that ruling proves to be the balance in which a no-hitter hangs, things tend to get interesting.

For the record, Gulf beat Hernando 12-0 Thursday night. The Buccaneers scored nine runs in the top of the first, added three in the third, and soundly avenged their loss to the Leopards earlier this season.

"After (the earlier loss), to come back and spank them," Bucs third baseman Adam Decker said, "it feels good."

But the biggest question involved Gulf pitcher Kyle Troutmon's performance.

The junior picked up the win, pitching all five innings and striking out six while improving his season record to 2-0. Furthermore, he allowed just two runners to reach base.

One reached on a walk. The other? Well, that kind of depends on who you ask.

In the second inning, Hernando's Mike Devary hit a sharp groundball to shortstop, which Gulf's Chris Kaoler either muffed - or didn't - before making a wild throw to first. "My shortstop booted it," Gulf coach Shaun Wiemer said.

Which was certainly the party line in the visiting dugout.

But those in the home dugout, as well as the guy operating the scoreboard, saw it differently.

"In my opinion, even if the first baseman caught it, (Devary) would have been safe," Hernando coach Tim Sims said.

At the time, nobody knew a seemingly inconsequential play in the second inning of a game that was already a blowout would have such drastic ramifications.

"If they want to give him a hit, that's fine," Troutmon said. "But in my mind, it's a no-hitter."

Either way, the next matchup between the teams will be interesting. "To be honest with you, we overlooked them," said Sims, whose team faces archrival Pasco tonight. "But we won't overlook them next time."