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Top tournaments on the horizon

By JOHN C. COTEY
Published March 24, 2006


For those hoping for one of the dream matchups this season that hasn't happened yet - Dunedin vs. Northeast - you may not have to wait until the Pinellas County Athletic Conference championship.

Beginning Saturday, the No. 1 Vikings and No. 2 Falcons are on a collision course as the Dunedin Spring Classic kicks off Saturday night at the Englebert Complex.

Dunedin will meet Wesley Chapel in the first of five games. The Vikings start play Monday against Tarpon Springs.

Though neither coach wants to look forward, neither bracket is imposing enough to rule out a semifinal showdown on Wednesday. And that's just the top half of the bracket.

On the bottom, No. 4 Clearwater Central Catholic and No. 5 Clearwater compete in a much tougher bracket with Palm Harbor U. and St. Petersburg Catholic.

In all, 11 teams from Pinellas County will compete in the 16-team field, with the finale scheduled for Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Dunedin Stadium.

On Monday, the county's other spring break event, the Steve Georgiadis Tournament, starts at Seminole's Brinker Field as six more county teams take part.

Until they lost to Dixie Hollins this week, the hosts seemed to have an easy ride to the final. But the Rebels shocked the Warhawks 3-2, and dropped a 2-1 decision to Bogie in their previous game, perhaps making that road a little bumpier.

There's no doubting the tough path No. 2 East Lake has, with a first-round game against Sarasota Christian, then either Pendleton (which already owns a win over the Eagles) or a Bogie team that is flexing some serious pitching muscle of late.

The Georgiadis Tournament begins Monday with games at 4 and 7 p.m.

REVENGE IS MINE: During the summer American Legion season, Bryan Garcia took a 5-4 loss in the state tournament against a team from Deland that ended Dunedin's season.

Against many of those same players Wednesday, Garcia made sure there would be no repeat. Or hits.

In five innings, Garcia faced just one batter over the minimum (thanks to a fielding error) in throwing his first no-hitter in the Falcons' 10-0 victory over Deland. He struck out six, and only an outfield error prevented him from notching a perfect game.

DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE: Canterbury pitcher Joey Cuda picked up two wins over Northside Christian Thursday, finishing a game that had been previously delayed, then starting the nightcap and getting the win there as well.

Cuda was nearly flawless, but had a lot of support in a pair of 15-0 victories.

NOTABLES: Bogie starter Donnie Albro has 25 strikeouts in his last 11 innings, and his 0.40 ERA and 58 strikeouts lead the county. For the season, Albro is averaging more than two strikeouts per inning. ... Shorecrest's Anthony Katchuk needs two wins to set a school record. ... CCC leadoff hitter Sam Mende needed to look at just one pitch to figure out the starting pitcher for Hillcrest last week; the second one he sent over the fence to jump-start a 12-0 Marauders rout. ... Pendleton Academy out of Bradenton might have set a record for most wins over county schools by a noncounty school with Thursday's 3-2 triumph over PHU. Pendleton is playing an independent schedule this season and giving the county some good competition - and quite a few losses as well. Pendleton has two wins over PHU and one against St. Petersburg, East Lake and Clearwater (though CCC managed a no-hitter against the mighty visitors from the south).

Got news? A story idea? A fun fact? E-mail John C. Cotey at cotey@sptimes.com