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Leopards toss perfect game

By GREG AUMAN and CAREY FREEMAN

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 7, 2001


WESLEY CHAPEL -- Playing its fourth game in four days, Hernando needed a stress-free game as it headed into spring break. Wesley Chapel had little choice but to oblige.

The Leopards' Chrissy Hartley and Carolyn Gant combined for a perfect game, striking out 11 in Hernando's 9-0 victory.

"We played well; played good defense," coach Ernie Chatman said. "I think at this point, we're just adjusting to a new lineup playing together. We had to shuffle a little bit, but everyone played well."

You wouldn't know it from Friday's scoreboard, but the week has been far from perfect for Hernando, ranked third in Class 3A. Thursday, four players -- including three of the top four hitters in the lineup -- were dismissed for a unspecified violation of team rules.

In Thursday's 3-2 loss to Citrus, Hernando began a new look without starters Ashley Rogers, Christen Baldwin and Christene Dennis and reserve Whitney Griffin. Friday, Chatman couldn't have asked for more from the remaining 10 players, an experienced lineup that included eight players from last year's state runners-up.

Hartley (12-2) struck out six in four innings, and Gant added five in the final three. Hartley led the Leopards at the plate as well, driving in the first run with a single then following with two shots that came within a few feet of leaving the park.

Her RBI double in the second bounced off the top of the leftfield wall, and her triple in the fourth caromed off the bottom of the wall. She wasn't alone, however. All nine starters had hits by the fifth. Hernando looked to be in position to win by the mercy rule in five innings, but the Leopards' 10th run was disallowed when a runner was called out for interference at the plate.

Starter Christine Fuschini gave up six runs in two innings for Wesley Chapel (3-14), which got two scoreless innings from Amanda McCormick. -- GREG AUMAN

Lecanto edges Citrus in 12

INVERNESS -- Erin Bailey will remember Friday's win for many reasons, yet one stands out clearly in the mind of the Lecanto senior.

"This is our rival. This is Citrus," said Bailey, who allowed six hits and struck out seven in leading Lecanto to a 3-2, 12-inning win over the Hurricanes. "We had to go out there and beat them. In the four years I've been here, I've never beaten them."

Thanks to Bailey and some timely hitting from her teammates, Lecanto now has done it twice this season, completing a sweep of their fiercest rivals. Dana Teller who drove in the winning run in the last win over Citrus -- provided the winning stroke when her misplayed grounder in the top of the 12th allowed Mandy Wade to score the winning run.

It didn't matter that Lecanto led off the 12th with the bottom of its order. Haley Nicholson, Wade and Michelle Sudlow reached base. It also didn't matter that Citrus almost escaped. A popup to third and a force at home set the stage for Teller, whose grounder to third was bobbled by Krissi Castiglione, allowing the run to score.

"I felt we were going to pull it out," Bailey said. "I had a gut feeling that we would. I was getting a little bit shaky because it was coming close. But we played a good game."

Lecanto took the lead in the top of the first when Kristy Barkofski scored on a double by Jill Bandhauer.

The Hurricanes (15-6) tied it in the fourth when Alycia LePage led off with a double and scored on Ashley Worrell's triple.

The Panthers (12-8) reclaimed the lead in the fifth only to lose it in the sixth. Wade scored the go-ahead run in the fifth, leading off the inning with a double and scoring on a groundout by Barkofski. Citrus tied it at 2 in the sixth when LePage led off with a triple and scored on a groundout by Worrell.

"I really don't know what it was. I think we were a little overconfident coming in," said Citrus pitcher Tabitha Schrufer, who led Citrus to a 3-2 win over third-ranked Hernando on Thursday. "It wasn't the game we played last night. I'm tired. I threw four games this week. We were all tired, but you can't win them all."- CAREY FREEMAN

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