Coach's admonishment spurs Terriers
By BRYAN BURNS
Published March 12, 2006
TAMPA - Trailing 3-2 with his team about to bat in the bottom of the third inning, coach Pat Russo, unhappy with Hillsborough's performance up to that point, called his players together in front of the dugout.
"I read them the riot act because we weren't doing everything we needed to do," he said.
Whatever Russo told his players, it was quite effective. Hillsborough (11-2) responded by scoring nine runs in that inning and cruised to a 13-3, five-inning victory over Gaither.
"That's happened to us four times this year where I've had to gather the team together," Russo said. "Each time they've responded by scoring eight or more runs in the following inning."
After loading the bases to begin the third, Hillsborough first baseman Victor Zamora lined a base hit that tied the score at three. Casey Nunez, the county's batting leader, followed with a double that brought two runners home.
Two batters later, Rick Acosta came to bat with the bases loaded and smacked a double that scored three runs and gave the Terriers an insurmountable six-run lead.
"Our magic number every game is 10 runs," Russo said. "If we score 10, I don't think anybody can beat us."
Two wild pitches from Gaither reliever Derrick Stultz, in for starter Shaun Gough, allowed two more Hillsborough runners to cross the plate in the third.
"Our pitching was atrocious," coach Frank Permuy said. "We couldn't get the ball across the plate when we needed to.
"Gough was nervous. It was the first time I had ever seen him like that. He's mostly a relief guy, and it was the first time he's gotten a chance to start. We tried to calm him down, but his control was spotty. Then we bring a couple of relief guys in, and they couldn't do the job."
Hillsborough went ahead early on Michael Burgess' two-run home run to left-centerfield in the first. Gaither got a run back in the second on a passed ball with the bases loaded.
The Cowboys (7-3) scored two runs in the third. Drew Malley hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded to tie it, and a throwing error with runners on the corners gave Gaither the 3-2 advantage.