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Smallest player caps big game


© St. Petersburg Times, published March 29, 2001

SEMINOLE -- They lined the fences up the foul line on both sides, going three, four and five deep.

The bleachers were packed. Some television cameras were there. On 86th Avenue, along the first-base side of Brinker Field, a fire truck was pulled over onto the shoulder -- with several spectators perched on top.

This was a high school baseball game? Yes, it was -- No. 1 ranked Seminole against No. 5-ranked Dunedin. That's No. 1 and No. 5 in the nation, not state.

"You couldn't help but see all of the people that surrounded the field," Seminole centerfielder Donyelle Williams said. "Sometimes, a couple of people will come out by centerfield. Tonight, there were like 20, 30 people out there the whole game.

"It was like the game against Southeast."

Two of the biggest prep sporting events in the county this school year have taken place at Seminole -- and Williams has found himself smack in the middle of both.

Williams, the pint-sized (5-foot-6) multipurpose star of the Warhawks football team, led Seminole to the region final, a game against mighty Bradenton Southeast that drew a few thousand to Seminole in early December.

The underdog Warhawks lost despite a superlative effort from Williams. The favored Warhawks were in danger of losing Wednesday in part because of Williams. As he stepped to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning of a 6-6 game, he was the only Seminole player who hadn't reached base.

In Seminole's five-run first inning, Williams, the leadoff hitter, made the first and last out.

Now, with Errol Blumer on third, it was a chance to make amends. Williams did, lashing a single to leftfield to end the biggest game of the season.

"I was feeling very frustrated. I just couldn't get on base for some reason," Williams said. "It was a curveball. I was looking for it because I was missing it all game.

"I'm glad I finally got it."

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