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Pirates ace exorcises demons, er, Sharks

Pasco's Dustin Brown gets the win over Nature Coast when it counts most.

By KELLIE DIXON
Published April 28, 2007


BROOKSVILLE - If Pasco's Dustin Brown ever feels haunted by the memory of his Friday 13th loss to Nature Coast from two weeks ago, the sophomore ace can just take a glimpse at the Pirates' district championship trophy.

Brown led the Pirates to an 11-0 win over Nature Coast in Friday's final.

Pasco will host St. Cloud in the region quarterfinals on Tuesday. Nature Coast, making its first postseason appearance, will travel to No. 1-ranked Orlando Bishop Moore .

Brown allowed just one hit, the only one the Pirates staff gave up in 15 innings of district tournament play. Josh Schofield threw four perfect innings in the quarterfinals against Hudson, Aaron Brandt no-hit Hernando in the semis and Brown capped a dominant week on the hill for Pasco.

The Pirates outscored their district foes 35-1 and outhit them 45-1 in three mercy-rule wins.

The defending district champs were efficient with their opportunities Friday and eager to bounce back from a 10-6 loss two weeks ago to the Sharks, a game that was the Pirates' worst of the year as they committed, by coach Ricky Giles' count, around 10 errors.

"That was a bad night, " Giles said. "But I thought that was a turning point. ...We had to come back and get a little revenge."

Brown (7-1) also led the charge offensively, going 3-for-3 with a double and two runs scored. Teammate Henry Johnson also went 3-for-3, scoring two runs.

Nature Coast, on the other hand, couldn't connect at the plate, though the Sharks (20-6) had battled Brown and his fastball before.

"For some reason we weren't taking the bats off our shoulders until two strikes, " Nature Coast coach Dan Garofano said.

Nature Coast senior Kyle Kuzniar said his team wasn't rattled when Pasco took a 5-0 lead in the third inning. But the mood changed in the next inning when Pasco (25-3) batted around and produced four hits, two walks and six runs.

"That was a little burst to our balloon, " Kuzniar said. "All the air came out at once."