Defense makes difference in victory
Countryside's first-inning triple play sets the standard in its 7-3 win over East Lake.
By Brandon Wright
Published May 26, 2007
TARPON SPRINGS - Countryside turned a triple play in the first inning and the defense remained on point throughout Friday to capture the District 12 Junior/Senior Tournament of Champions softball title with a 7-3 win against host East Lake.
"Defense has been our strongest point all season, " Countryside coach Gary Queen said. "It sure helped because East Lake can hit the ball."
Countryside shortstop Kelli Underwood caught a line drive just off the infield dirt with runners on second and third in the first. Underwood threw to Ashley Surratt, who tagged third and fired to second baseman Tori Bradley for the rare feat.
But Countryside's defense was just getting started. First baseman Erika Queen snared a line drive and doubled up a runner to end an inning. Centerfielder Brittany Dattilo fielded a one-hopper and threw out a runner at first.
Queen's two-run single in the first got Countryside on the board as it built a 5-0, third-inning lead.
Host East Lake scored three in the third to break open a 7-all tie, defeating West Pasco 10-8 to win the District 12 TOC title.
Alexis Chester gave East Lake a 3-2 lead with a two-run single in the first and Melissa Redfield sparked a four-run second with a leadoff triple. Nicole Szelest then added a two-run double in the inning as East Lake took a 7-2 lead.
But West Pasco answered with five runs in the bottom of the second to tie it at 7.
"It got a little scary there, " East Lake coach Ray Szelest said.
Redfield's RBI single in the third gave East Lake the lead for good and starter Danielle Clark took care of the rest. Clark gave up a run in the fifth then retired the side in order in the sixth, striking out the last batter to end the game.
"Danielle's been a constant for us all year, " Szelest said. "She hits the spots we ask her to, throws what's called. I'm very fortunate because this is a great group of girls and it was great to win it in our home park."
Tarpon Springs beat Clearwater 6-3 to win the District 12 TOC title at Largo. Michael Dunnigan picked up the complete-game victory and Tarpon Springs' Colby Robinson connected for his fourth home run of tournament.
Brandon Wright can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 727-580-1468.
At the Englebert Complex
Holiday 11, Largo 7
Palm Harbor 7, West Pasco 0
Tarpon Springs 7, East Lake 0