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Pirates dispatch county rival

By ERIC MUSKATEVC Times Correspondent
Published March 1, 2007


NEW PORT RICHEY - Justin Balk was visibly upset.

Trying to turn a last-chance single into a double, Balk was thrown out at second base. In the battle of unbeatens, Pasco stretched its run of quality ball, scoring in the last three innings to win 5-4.

"They're a great team and always have been. They can flat out crush the ball," Ridgewood coach Larry Beets said.

Down 5-2 in the bottom of the seventh, just after Balk's single, Jay Mattos batted in a run to cut the Rams' deficit to two. Ben Koenigsfeld blasted a 330-foot home run to cut it to 1. But Joshua Schofield got the Pirates off the field with a win after a popup.

Ridgewood's Mike Kenna (41/3 innings) started and got a rare 5-4-3-2 triple play after allowing back-to-back leadoff hits. The Rams then took a one-run lead with a leadoff single by Balk, a double by Mattos and an RBI from Koenigsfeld.

The Pirates (8-0) went to work in the second, leading with a single and a double from Quenten Jones and Jonathan Brown worth two runs. James Johnson got the win from the start with 41/3 innings before Schofield came in relief. Balk also pitched in relief for the Rams (6-1).

Softball

ZEPHYRHILLS 4, GULF 3: The Bucs (4-3, 2-3 4A-8) mounted a two-out rally in the seventh inning, highlighted by a Julie Wisniewski two-run double, but stranded the tying run at second. The Bulldogs (6-2, 5-1) scored all of their runs in the third, including a two-out two-run single by Haven Mills to make it 3-0.

RIVER RIDGE 10, SPRINGSTEAD 0: The Royal Knights (7-1) backed the strong pitching of sophomore Sarah Simon in her first start for a five-inning victory against Springstead (3-4).

NATURE COAST 4, WIREGRASS RANCH 0: The Bulls (0-11) finished their first complete game, allowing four runs on seven hits.

Izzy Gould, Times staff writer