By DAVID MURPHY AND JOHN C. COTEY
Published April 13, 2007
The first baseball game between Pasco and Nature Coast was a pitchers duel. The second? Well, you can find out tonight at Death Valley in Dade City.
JOHNCOTEY: So it's rematch time, and I gotta be honest with you, the second go-round between Nature Coast and Pasco isn't giving me goose bumps.
DMURPH003: It isn't an R.L. Stine book. It's a baseball game. And I'm a little taken aback that you referred to it as "meaningless" in the comment you posted on my MySpace page
JOHNCOTEY: Well, for your guys, maybe it means something. But sheesh dude, the least they coulda done is NOT lose to Hernando.
DMURPH003: Nature Coast ran into a really hot team. But let's keep in mind, since the last time these teams played, the Sharks have beaten Zephyrhills and a team from Key West that was ranked in the state at one point.
JOHNCOTEY: And lost to Hernando.
DMURPH003: I realize Pasco already has the No. 1 district seed locked up, and Nature Coast has the No. 2 seed locked up, but the players aren't taking it lightly.
DMURPH003: Nature Coast has "little man's disease." They've got that chip on their shoulder; they desperately want to beat Pasco.
DMURPH003: It's like Rocky II. Not as good as Rocky I, but still worth watching.
JOHNCOTEY: Well, that's too bad, considering the Pirates are throwing Apollo Creed ...errr, Dustin Brown again. Oh wait, Apollo lost in Rocky II didn't he?
DMurph003: You're telling me you weren't impressed with Nature Coast the last game? You certainly were impressed with their hamburgers. Plural.
JOHNCOTEY: I prefer cheeseburgers ...and not having to wait for the fifth inning so the grill can get hot. You won't have to worry about that at Death Valley (note to self: call Pasco concession crew; make sure they have my back).
DMURPH003: What's not to like about Nature Coast? They're scrappy: six players with on-base percentages over .400. They're fast: leadoff hitter Kyle Kuzniar has 27 stolen bases. They've got good pitching: Bryan Daniels is 6-2 with a 1.88 ERA.
JOHNCOTEY: Yawn. Didn't you hear me? Brown is pitching. They haven't hit him in six straight innings. Can Kuzniar steal first?
JOHNCOTEY: I will say this. The district is looking more wide open now. Nature Coast loses to Hernando (wow). Zephyrhills loses to Springstead (Holy smokes!). And Pasco needs a late run to beat Nature Coast, and back-to-back homers to beat Zephyrhills.
JOHNCOTEY: Nature Coast might just crack it open a little wider tonight. If they can hit Brown.
DMURPH003: Their bats have been hot and cold. They pounded ZHills, but came back and struggled against Central. And, like you said, they didn't hit Brown for the last six innings. Which is why I'm interested in this game.
JOHNCOTEY: Over-under for how many NC batters go down before the first hit?
DMURPH003: Well, I think it was one last time.
JOHNCOTEY: Because Brown was playing with Josh Schofield's Blackberry instead of warming up properly. But in light of the last six innings, whatta ya say?
DMURPH003: I'd say I'm more interested in what's the over-under on how many cheeseburgers you're going to eat.
JOHNCOTEY: Take the over.