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Wolves finally solve Bulls

Newsome advances to next week's state semifinal against Port St. Lucie in Sarasota.

By JOEY KNIGHT
Published May 10, 2007


VALRICO - After striking out Ryan Sugar to end the biggest game of his life, Newsome senior Matt Greer wheeled around toward his dugout and triumphantly pumped his right fist.

Smack into the solar plexus of the demons that have hounded his team throughout its four-year existence.

Behind Greer's four-hitter and a three-run outburst in the fifth, the Wolves (23-8) ended an 0-for-life skid against Bloomingdale - not to mention the career of retiring Bulls coach K.B. Scull - in a 3-2 victory Wednesday night.

Newsome, which had lost to the Bulls (20-8) four times this season, advances to next week's state semifinal against Port St. Lucie in Sarasota.

That translates to another week in the coaching life of the Wolves' Chad Haschel, who also is stepping down at season's end to focus on a career in administration.

"It's a good baseball team, but every time we approach 'em, we really don't talk about the skid, " Haschel said. "We know we're a good baseball team. ...We knew if we could get the pressure on them, maybe we could turn it around a little bit."

The Wolves applied that pressure from the outset, consistently going after Bulls right-hander Zach Pietrzyk early in the count.

Pietrzyk responded early on, scattering three hits while throwing only 36 pitches in the first three innings. But he was pulled in the fifth after allowing a leadoff walk to No. 9 hitter Kyle Parker, an RBI-single to Ryan Osenton and run-scoring double to Ethan Lovell.

Greer, meantime, didn't allow a hit until Jeff Simpson's leadoff double in the fourth that bounced over the right-centerfield wall. His only other glaring miscue: a fifth-inning home run to Cam Bullock that hit the scoreboard in left.

"I couldn't get my curveball working consistently, but everything I had, I just had to use it as it came, " said Greer, who fanned seven, walked two and forced an inning-ending grounder in the sixth with the tying run on third.

"I just tried to get outs. We knew what they bring to the table, so we just tried to pitch our way through the lineup and we got that done."

Dragons grounded

Venice senior left-hander Ryan Anderson abruptly ended Jefferson's improbable run through the playoffs, striking out 11 Dragons in a 5-0 victory.

Jefferson, which won 16 of its past 22 after a 1-5 start, managed only two hits off Anderson - both singles. "We just didn't hit the baseball very well, " said Dragons coach Pop Cuesta, seeking his first state tournament berth in 22 seasons. "I just told the kids they had a pretty good year. They upset some highly-ranked teams and came out of nowhere to get to the region finals. They've got nothing to be ashamed of."

Newsome 3, Bloomingdale 2

UP NEXT

State tournament

All games at Ed Smith Stadium, Sarasota

Class 5A

Newsome (23-8) vs. Port St. Lucie (23-6), 5 p.m. Wednesday

Newsome doubles its fortunes

VALRICO - The Newsome baseball team's victory Wednesday at Bloomingdale not only gave the four-year-old program its first state tournament berth, but a local distinction unmatched by schools several decades older.

Newsome becomes only the second school in county history to send both its fast-pitch softball and baseball teams to the state tournament in the same season. Bloomingdale achieved the feat in 2004; neither Bulls team won a title that year.

The Wolves softball team faces West Boca Raton in the Class 5A semifinals Friday at Plant City Stadium. The baseball team faces Port St. Lucie in the baseball semis next Wednesday in Sarasota.

Joey Knight, Times staff writer