Baseball: Strong relief effort boosts Pirates

Pasco takes sole possession of first place in the district with a 9-3 win over Springstead.

By DEREK J. LaRIVIERE, Times Correspondent
Published March 2, 2008

SPRING HILL - Pasco was in an early season dogfight for district supremacy, but with Saturday's 9-3 victory at Springstead, the Pirates took sole control of first place for the first time this season.

The win was even more impressive after Pasco (6-1) fell behind at the start and had to relieve starter Aaron Brandt after only one inning. Brandt complained of arm tightness to coach Ricky Giles, so he was relieved by Henry Johnson in the second inning after giving up one run on two hits.

"I don't care how big the game is - I am not going to sacrifice a kid's health to win a ballgame," Giles said. "We've been saving Henry for a situation like this, and he really came through."

Johnson worked steadily through the remaining six innings, surrendering only two runs on six hits with six strikeouts. Springstead (5-2) had difficulty getting the bats going, other than leadoff hitter Tom Dwyer and cleanup hitter James Adams.

Dwyer scored all three of Springstead's runs, going 3-for-4 with two singles and a solo homer in the seventh. Adams knocked Dwyer in two times, going 3-for-4 with three singles.

For Springstead, bad things really did happen in threes. Pasco scored three runs in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings to account for its nine-run total. While the damage was a team effort, second baseman Thomas Harris wielded the biggest bat, going 3-for-3 with a game-high three RBIs.

Even more surprising than Harris' performance at the plate was that it occurred right after questions of whether he'd play at all. Giles inserted Harris into the lineup right after he returned late from taking the ACT exam Saturday morning.

"I wasn't thinking too much at the plate, and I was seeing the ball very well," Harris said. "Maybe I should take the ACTs every day."