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Pirates eager for next round's foe

After the rout of North Marion, Pasco is ready to tackle state No. 1 Bishop Moore.

By JOHN C. COTEY
Published May 5, 2007


DADE CITY - Once Friday's region semifinal was well in hand, Death Valley starting buzzing.

There were still a few innings to play, but people wanted to know.

Was Bishop Moore winning?

The Hornets were.

Will the game be here next week?

It will.

Will this place be packed?

Shoot, yeah.

By beating North Marion 10-0 Friday night, Pasco earned a spot in the region championship Tuesday. The first pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.

No. 1 Bishop Moore vs. No. 2 (Pasco).

"It doesn't get any bigger than this, " said coach Ricky Giles, who still is not over the last time the Pirates and Hornets hooked up.

In that one, Pasco led 5-1 in a 2005 region semifinal with ace Dominic Brown on the mound and three outs to go. It ended a few moments later, as Bishop Moore plowed a grand slam through the collective soul of Pirate Nation.

"We've heard all about it, " said pitcher Dustin Brown, Friday's winner who improved to 8-1. "Everyone knows the story."

Pasco (26-3) will get a chance to add a prologue, thanks to an effort similar to the one turned in the region quarterfinal against St. Cloud - in this case, it was Brown who got off to the slow start on the mound, and the bats again needed an inning to get warmed up. Once both aspects were synchronized, it was all downhill for the Colts.

John Johnson tripled in two runs in the second inning, and the Pirates sent 12 to the plate in the fourth to take an 8-0 lead.

Henry Johnson delivered the big blow, his first varsity home run as his three-run blast made it 5-0. Will Pullin added a two-run double for Pasco, and the mercy-rule countdown began.

As Pasco did in Tuesday's playoff opener, eight of the nine starters had at least one hit, with Trevor Hobbs, Jake Schrader and Pullin all getting a pair.

Brown pitched 4.1 innings, striking out seven. Josh Schofield relieved, retiring all five batters he faced, three by strikeout.

And in a rare at-bat, Schofield singled up the middle to lead off the sixth, advanced to second on a passed ball and scored on Quintin Jones' hard single off the first baseman's glove to make it 10-0 and end the game.

John C. Cotey can be reached at (727) 869-6261 or johncotey@gmail.com