By JAMAL THALJI
© St. Petersburg Times, published April 4, 2001
DUNEDIN -- Baseball America's No. 5 team in the nation secured the No. 1 seed in the Class 4A, District 9 tournament Tuesday night.
Dunedin completed its season sweep of Land O'Lakes with an 8-5 win at the Englebert Complex, overcoming a 3-2 deficit in the fourth inning and pouring it on with four runs in the fifth.
It was another clash of Class 4A powers -- the Falcons (17-1) are ranked No. 1 in the state poll and the Gators (15-3) are No. 9 -- that wasn't nearly as close as their first meeting, when Dunedin turned a 2-1 deficit in the sixth into a 7-3 win on March 1.
Now Dunedin (9-0 in 4A-9) will have the top seed when the district tournament convenes at this same site April 24.
"We knew coming going into this game that they're a quality team," Falcons coach Tom Hilbert said.
Starter John Irving struggled early but hit his stride during the middle innings and turned in a complete outing, giving up six hits and striking out five with three earned runs to improve to 5-1. Two of those came on a two-run blast over the leftfield fence by Land O'Lakes' Jeff Baisley in the seventh.
"He really settled down in the third and started to take over," Hilbert said.
"But we weren't playing great defense behind him to start with."
At the plate, outfielder Ryan Harvey went 3-for-4 with a triple and two RBI.
Brian Dopirak went 2-for-3, hit a double and batted in two runs.
Jeff Baisley tripled in Greg Rosenthal, and Brian Baisley's sacrifice fly scored his brother to give Land O'Lakes a 2-0 lead in the first.
Dunedin tied it in the bottom of the inning when Dopirak doubled in Jeremy Bellotti and Kenny Holcombe.
The Gators' Chris Leslie made it 3-2 in the second on a fielder's choice.
But the Falcons' Phil Peters singled in Harvey to tie it at 3 in the fourth, and Matt Gregory drove in the go-ahead run.