Bloomingdale is bullish on Jenkins

By Bryan Burns, Times correspondent
Published May 5, 2007

VALRICO - With the score tied at 1 and runners on second and third base and two outs in the fifth inning of Bloomingdale's game against George Jenkins, Bulls centerfielder Jeff Simpson stepped to the plate just looking to put the ball in play.

As it turned out, Simpson did a lot more. He crushed the first pitch from Jenkins starter Dimitri Nunez over the right field fence to give Bloomingdale a 4-1 advantage it would never relinquish and help lead the Bulls (20-7) to a 6-1 victory.

"Once I got up (to the plate), the ball was right down the middle, " Simpson said. "It felt good to get rid of that ball."

Both teams played fairly even until Simpson's blast. The Eagles (18-10) got a run off Bloomingdale starter Eric Ginn in the first on a sacrifice fly, and Bloomingdale returned the favor in the bottom half to tie it.

After the home run, George Jenkins fell apart. Four Eagles errors in the sixth inning led to two insurance runs for Bloomingdale. Zach Payne, who entered the game in the fifth inning, struck out the first two batters in the seventh and pitched a 1-2-3 inning to preserve the victory. He gave up just one hit and no runs in his three innings of work to earn the win.

Bryan Burns, Times correspondent