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SEMINOLE - East Lake slugger Evan Huegel has a theory about playing this week at the 19th annual Steve Georgiadis Holiday Tournament.
"Spring break, just have some fun," he said, moments after driving in the winning run to lift the Eagles over Sarasota Christian 4-3 Monday in the opening round.
With East Lake down 3-0 in the third inning, Huegel smacked a bases loaded-double to deep left-centerfield to tie the score. The fence was 388 feet from the plate and the ball landed between outfielders about 385 feet away.
"All I was thinking about was our bats were pretty cold tonight," he said. "It was a must for me to do my job and I got my pitch."
The score was still tied at 3 in the bottom of the seventh when Huegel came up with the bases loaded again. This time he drilled a hard single into leftfield to end the contest.
"It was a great win," Huegel said. "It put us one step closer to winning the tournament."
East Lake (11-4-1) had eight hits. Derek Saari, batting ninth, had three including a double. Sarasota Christian (8-7) had five hits, including Matt Hester's two singles.
The Blazers got hot in the third inning, ironically at the same time the Seminole concession stand grill caught fire. Three hits and a walk led to two runs and gave the Blazers a 3-0 lead. The fire was put out and so was Sarasota Christian's offense as the Blazers were shut out the rest of the way.
In another opening-round game, Dixie Hollins reached the semifinals by defeating Lakewood 7-0. The Rebels were 4-11 coming in, but coach Jeff Schellhouse said the shutout was proof his team is improving.
"We've been playing well in our last couple of games," he said. "We're starting to believe in ourselves and starting to build some confidence."
Schellhouse said the victory was big because the Rebels took second place at the tournament last year.
"This tournament is one of the ones we look forward to," he said. "We're playing against some of the best teams in the area."
Keith Stanton was the winning pitcher with a three-hitter and 12 strikeouts. He also went 3-for-3 at the plate with three RBIs. Irving DeLa Concha and Mark Danna both had two hits for Dixie Hollins. Mike Alberts, Brian Tench and Eugene Tichenor each singled for Lakewood.