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By KEITH NIEBUHR
© St. Petersburg Times, published March 1, 2001
CRYSTAL RIVER -- In a battle between two of the area's top pitchers, one earned run crossed the plate.
Jonathan Runnels' one-out single to rightfield in the bottom of the seventh inning scored Scott Miller, and Crystal River escaped with a 3-2 win over Citrus in a Class 3A, District 6 game.
"Runnels is a clutch guy," Crystal River coach Brent Hall said.
Crystal River improved to 7-1 overall, 3-0 in 3A-6, while tying its win total from 2000, when it went 7-21. Crystal River pitcher Clayton Trenary (4-0) allowed two hits while striking out five. Matt Maggiore (2-1) of Citrus (7-1, 1-1) was nearly as effective, striking out three and giving up five hits, three in the final inning.
"Both pitchers did a good job," Citrus coach Mike Taylor said.
After tying the game on two Crystal River errors in the top of the seventh, the Hurricanes had momentum and Maggiore on their side.
But in the bottom half of the inning, Miller started with a single to center. Two batters later, Bubba Claytor delivered a one-out single to rightfield. Maggiore then intentionally walked Danny Caron. That loaded the bases for Runnels, who delivered his game-winning hit on a 3-2 count.
Earlier, Crystal River struck for single runs in the fifth and sixth, both times taking advantage of Citrus fielding miscues. In the fifth, Miller scored from third when Citrus threw the ball away as it attempted to get Claytor out in a rundown between first and second. One inning later, Runnels, who reached on an error to start the inning, scored with two outs for a 2-0 lead as Citrus was caught in another rundown. "(Maggiore) did a great job," Taylor said. "He did the best he could."
Citrus rallied in the seventh. Luke Czerwinski singled to start the inning, and Trenary walked Clint Davis on four pitches. After Trenary struck out back-to-back hitters, a passed ball moved the runners to second and third. A fielding error allowed Czerwinski to score.
One batter later, Crystal River dropped a game-ending pop fly and Citrus scored to make it 2-2. Trenary got the next batter out to prevent any further damage.