By BRANT JAMES and WAYNE GRUMET
© St. Petersburg Times, published March 3, 2001
BROOKSVILLE -- With little pop in the lineup and no big hitter to set up, the plan, in general, for Central is to just put the ball in play.
That plan worked against Hernando on Friday as the Leopards committed six errors, allowed four unearned runs and gave the Bears an early-season confidence boost with a 5-4 win in eight innings.
Central (3-5) completed its comeback from a 4-0 hole when John Sirvent took a bases-loaded walk with two outs in the eighth off of reliever Nick Westbrook. The run was unearned, as was the tying run in the seventh that scored with the help two more errors.
"We put the ball in play and made plays, and they didn't," Central coach Gary Buel said. "That's just high school baseball."
Patrick Ryan (2-1) worked the final two innings and struck out five to earn the win. His entrance in the seventh enlivened Central's young roster.
"Since I throw a lot of strikes, the team gets into it and plays really well," Ryan said. "It's big just to get a win, but it's even better because it's Hernando."
Hernando (4-4), which beat Central three times last year, took a 2-0 lead in the first on Jason Dunn's two-run home run off of Rich Lisi. The Leopards scored single runs in the second and third, taking a lead that seemed untouchable with Dunn, their ace, on the mound facing a team that had scored five runs just twice this season.
Central pulled within 4-2 in the fourth with two singles, an error and a sacrifice fly by Chris Bowden and added another in the fifth when Lisi doubled, advanced to third on the play on an error and scored on a wild pitch. It tied the game after two errors allowed Jamie McElfresh to reach third. And he scored on a groundout.
Hernando missed a chance to bury Central early when it loaded the bases with one out in the second but failed to score.
"We didn't put it in play as they did," Hernando coach Tim Sims said. "We probably could have scored 15 runs in the first three or four innings." -- BRANT JAMES
WESLEY CHAPEL -- Eight days ago, Wesley Chapel took to the road and gave district front-runner Dunnellon all it could handle. Dunnellon held off the Wildcats for a 2-1 win.
Friday, Wesley Chapel was optimistic of getting its first win as Dunnellon visited. However, Dunnellon doused those hopes by scoring three runs in the first on its way to an 11-1 rout. The difference for Wesley Chapel was defense. It committed five errors that led to seven runs. Last week, Wesley Chapel committed just one error.
"From the get-go, we made a couple of errors in the first inning, and then we got down," Wesley Chapel coach Steve Mumaw said. "We've only won one game in the history of the program. When our guys get down, they feel like the ballgame's over right there."
If giving up three unearned runs in the first weren't enough, Wesley Chapel (0-7) had to face Dunnellon ace Tommy Boss, a University of Florida signee.
He picked up the win last week and was even more overpowering Friday. Boss (3-1) pitched three hitless innings and struck out five. Dunnellon coach Mike Payne pulled Boss to save him for a possible start Monday, but the damage was done. Donnie Roof took the mound with a 7-0 lead.
Dunnellon (7-1) benefited from some errors but clobbered Wesley Chapel pitching, errors or no errors.
"The difference between this game and the last game is that we put the ball in play and with more authority," Payne said. "The past three or four games we've been hitting the ball very well."
Dunnellon had eight hits and took advantage of outfield miscues. Wesley Chapel leftfielder Sonny Glover misplayed a Richie Standridge drive in the first inning, allowing two runs to score.
In the second inning, centerfielder Gabe Quinones charged a sinking liner by Jarod Handler, but the ball skipped past him. Handler ended up circling the bases -- on a single and three-base error -- with Dennis Peacock scoring ahead of him. -- WAYNE GRUMET