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Loss baffles Chamberlain

Nothing goes right for the Chiefs, who lose for the second straight year in a state semifinal.

By SCOTT PURKS
Published May 12, 2007


PLANT CITY - For the second year in a row Chamberlain coach Bob Diez sat in a cold interview room under Plant City Stadium after a Class 5A state semifinal loss, and said, "I have no clue why this happened. No clue whatsoever."

What happened at Friday night's Class 5A state semifinal, according to Diez, "was a complete meltdown. I mean, we fell flat on our face."

When it ended, Chamberlain, which had a .389 team batting average through the season, had collected just two hits. The Chiefs also allowed a season-high 11 hits and had lost to Pace 5-0, something they had done only twice in 30 previous games.

"I can't believe it but I think some of us came in here and got intimidated, " third baseman Jessica Mouse said. "Maybe it was the stadium or maybe when the game got going they thought, 'Hey, this team isn't going to lie down.' As the game went on I think some girls pressed."

The big trouble started in the top of the fourth when Pace scored four runs on three hits, two walks and two errors.

"That's where we just imploded, " Diez said. "Mistakes, mistakes all over the place. Again, if somebody has an answer for this please tell me. I'm all ears."

Chamberlain starter Alex Hartshorn, who gave up eight hits before getting pulled in the fourth, didn't seem quite as sharp as in previous starts and Diez thought maybe she was trying to be too careful.

Asked if he thought about pulling her earlier, Diez was emphatic: "No. I mean that's the way we do it. We alternated our pitchers all year. I liked to keep everything the same you know. Same routine."

The good news is Chamberlain returns all but two of Friday's starters, a fact Diez hoped would bring them back for another shot at Plant City stadium next season.

"I hope they don't have a rule that if you stink it up two years in a row that you're not allowed to come back for a third, " Diez said. "Because I sure would like to come back and give this thing another shot. I know all the girls who played tonight want the same thing."