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One inning takes out Wolves

A poor fourth inning devastates Newsome in its first state tournament.

By KEITH NIEBUHR
Published May 12, 2007


PLANT CITY - For Newsome, a memorable season was derailed Friday night by a forgetful fourth inning in the Class 5A state semifinals against West Boca Raton.

They entered the frame tied.

They exited it down by four.

Newsome never recovered and had its championship hopes dashed 6-0.

"One bad inning, " Newsome coach Jessi Kowal said.

Until the fourth, the Bulls were hitless against Newsome's Ashley Stubbs. But then, as Stubbs put it, "They were like, 'Let's bunt.' "

The tactic worked to perfection. West Boca Raton loaded the bases with no outs with two well-executed bunts and an infield single. A Katie Sooker single to left drove in two, and with the help of two Newsome errors the Bulls plated two more.

"It was like what else could go wrong?" Stubbs said. "We got a little nervous. We got frustrated. I got frustrated."

Newsome (23-6) was making its first trip to the final four.

West Boca Raton (17-10) is here for the second straight season. The Bulls beat another Hillsborough County team - Chamberlain - in the 2006 semifinals.

Newsome managed just three hits against West Boca Raton pitchers Leslie Slota and Elise Kittrell. For that, part of the credit goes to a unique defense used by the Bulls. Knowing Newsome relies heavily on a slap-hitting style, West Boca Raton coach Ron Hoyt positioned his infielders several feet closer to home than usual.

"They were right up in our face, " Newsome shortstop Danielle Garcia said.

Garcia, Laura Lovell and Jamie O'Hara were the only Wolves with hits.

"If the defense is up, you better be good with that at-bat, " Hoyt said. "Our defensive play was great."

For Newsome, the end was disappointing.

But the journey won't soon be forgotten.

"We, " Kowal said, "had an awesome season."