By JOHN SCHWARB
© St. Petersburg Times, published April 4, 2001
SEMINOLE -- The battles between north county powers are starting to look alike. Expect great pitching, extra innings and strange endings.
That was the case Tuesday as Seminole beat Clearwater 2-1 in eight innings on a misplayed ground ball with the bases loaded.
Less than two weeks ago, Countryside and Palm Harbor U. battled through 12 innings, with the Cougars winning 1-0 on a wild pitch. Seminole and Clearwater, two teams that could lay claim to the title of third-best in the area, staged an equally close fight.
Lynn Beksha, pitching in her final home game, held Clearwater scoreless for six innings and took a 1-0 lead into the seventh. In the fifth, Abby Phillips' bloop single to right scored Kelly Foco from second to give the Warhawks the lead.
Clearwater tied it in the seventh. However, the runners who did not score would come back to haunt it. Katie Cavallaro led off with a single, and Allison Stanley followed with a double to the left-center fence, scoring courtesy runner Amanda Matthews.
Stanley took third on the throw home but did not score. Star Jones dropped a squeeze, but first baseman Shauna Hawthorne fielded it quickly and threw to catcher J.J. Garrett, who applied the tag.
"I wanted to make sure we got the ball in play," Clearwater coach Brian Mont said.
Jones reached on the fielder's choice but was doubled off first base after Tracy Loope lined out to shortstop Ellie Loder.
In the eighth, Clearwater (14-5 overall, 3-3 Pinellas County Athletic Conference North Division) had runners on first and second with one out but got nothing.
Seminole (14-4, 5-2) then took care of business in its half of the eighth. Lisa Hasson singled, Phillips dropped a bunt single and Garrett reached on a fielder's choice to load the bases.
Laura Hasson then slapped a grounder to second that was mishandled on a short hop by Sarah Brown, scoring Lisa Hasson.
"That's how you win the one-run games," Seminole coach Mark DeRuzzo said; "to have somebody come up and put the ball in play when you've got someone in scoring position."