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Dragons shut down Falcons

Second season in a row that the Falcons have been knocked out of the playoffs by a Hillsborough County team.

By BRANDON WRIGHT
Published May 2, 2007


DUNEDIN - Dunedin scored 21 times against Tarpon Springs in its district-clinching win Friday. As it turns out, the Falcons should have saved a couple.

Jefferson got a pair of unearned runs in the second, and starter Jonathon Hall held the prolific Dunedin lineup in check as the visiting Dragons advanced to the region semifinals with a 3-2 win at Knology Park.

"That was the matchup we wanted, " Jefferson coach Pop Cuesta said. "(Dunedin) really swings it well, but we were going to win or lose with Hall."

It was the fourth time in the past seven years and second season in a row that the Falcons have been knocked out of the playoffs by a Hillsborough County team.

Duendin this season, struggled against the lefty Hall (5-4). The Falcons (23-5) managed just five hits and only one after the second inning.

An uncharacteristic error by Dunedin shortstop Jacob Rogers allowed Jefferson to tie it at 2 in the second.

Peter Millan put the Dragons (15-10) up 3-2 with an RBI single in the sixth before Dunedin rallied in its final at bat. With one out, Mike Kumbat doubled deep to centerfield. But Ryan Faison grounded out and Joe Montes tracked down Billy Perrillo's deep fly ball to left, ending the game.

Tigers' bats ring loud

TAMPA - The Middleton bats rang loud and often in an 11-3 drubbing of Tarpon Springs.

Middleton (21-5) pounded out 13 hits, including five that went for extra bases, to advance to the Region 3 semifinals.

Jamie Mallard went 3-for-4 and hit a deep solo home run to centerfield for the first of six runs in the fifth inning that put the game out of reach. Shortstop Corey Thomas added a two-run shot later in the inning to put Middleton on top 11-2.

"They're gelling at the right time, " Middleton coach Vernon Slater said. "They've been more disciplined, and it shows ... I'm pleased with their defense and the swinging of the bats and the pitching right now."

Tarpon Springs (15-13) took a brief 1-0 lead off Middleton starter Nevin Griffith in the first before the Tigers scored four runs in the bottom half of the inning. Thomas, who went 2-for-3, brought home Middleton's first run with an RBI double that just missed clearing the fence for a home run. Mallard followed with an RBI single and designated hitter Aaron Fludd brought home two more runs with a base hit.

Middleton starter Nevin Griffith (9-1) shut down the Spongers for much of the game and gave up just three runs (two earned) on five hits while striking out five to earn the complete-game victory.

Bryan Burns, Times correspondent

Bulls edge Rams

BLOOMINGDALE - Bloomingdale's Zach Pietrzyk and Ridgewood's Ben Koenigsfeld both pitched complete games coaches wish for in settings like the regional quarterfinals. Fortunately for the Bulls, Pietrzyk was slightly better as Bloomingdale defeated the Rams 1-0.

Joey Latuf provided a two-strike bunt that scored Travis Ragghianti for the games lone run in the bottom of the seventh inning.

"I knew going up there with a mindset that it was going to be up to me, " Latuf said. "I have to come up big ... I had my coaches confidence."

Pietrzyk struck out eight batters and was backed up by strong defense all night.

Joe Castellanos was key defensively for the Bulls at catcher. In the second inning, he caught speed-up runner John Collins trying to steal third base. In the fifth inning, Castellanos applied a tag at the plate to runner Charlie Mohr for the third out after a missed sign, strikeout by J.J. Ward.

In the sixth inning the senior catcher was in position on an over throw of first base and able to throw out the runner trying to advance to second and then started a rundown on a Rams runner trying to steal third base.

The difference offensively came in the seventh when Castellanos got the first hit and was relieved by speed-up runner Travis Ragghianti. Rolando Lopez then hit a grounder up the middle just out of the reach of Rams' shortstop Jay Mattos and Ragghianti advanced to third base.

Finally Latuf's bunt drove in the winning run on a two strike, pitchout by Koenigsfeld.

Jarrett Guthrie, Times correspondent