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Pasco edges Land O'Lakes

An error in the eighth inning gives the Pirates a 6-5 win over the Gators.

By WAYNE GRUMET and STEVE LEE

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 7, 2001


LAND O'LAKES -- Land O'Lakes stole a win from Pasco in the bottom of the seventh Friday only to give it right back. Land O'Lakes tied it at 5 in the seventh when Chip Whalen stole home with two outs. But Victor Roldan's errant throw with two outs in the eighth allowed Josh Castro to score the winning run. Pasco finally put away the Gators in the bottom of the eight and held on for a 6-5 win. The Pirates won both games against Land O'Lakes this season in eight innings.

"We knew when we got off the bus that we had to play great to stay with them," Pasco coach Ricky Giles said. "They're a hell of a ballclub. It's just one of those situations where things just rolled our way."

Pasco (15-6 overall, 7-4 in the Sunshine Athletic Conference) had its share of luck, but it earned Friday's win. Pasco scored five of its six runs with two outs.

Pasco's Bobby Badger went six innings with eight strikeouts. Pasco had Land O'Lakes down to its final out in the seventh until Land O'Lakes coach Cal Baisley made the call to steal home with the bases loaded.

Or did he?

"That was no call. It was a miscommunication," Baisley said. "Some people behind me were discussing that he should steal home. So he got the idea, and I said, "No, no, no.' And he thought I said go and takes off.

"I would never steal home when the batter doesn't know he's coming. He could have gotten killed."

In the eighth, Castro singled with one out. He was behind the plate on the steal from home. Matt Prowant bunted Castro to second, setting up the winning play. Trey Evans, who already had driven in two runs, including hitting a solo homer, hit a grounder to Roldan at third, but the throw sailed over Rich Neste's head, allowing Castro to score. "That's baseball. (Roldan) is about as good a third baseman as you'll see in high school," Baisley said. "He just made a bad play."

Land O'Lakes (16-4, 9-2 in the SAC) had a chance in the bottom of the eighth. Travis Lomadu lined a leadoff single to center. But Orlando Rosales picked him off. Chris Leslie reached on an infield single. But Rosales (3-1) struck out Whalen to end the game. -- WAYNE GRUMET

Ridgewood routs Zephyrhills

ZEPHYRHILLS -- Coming off two shutout losses, Ridgewood needed a spark.

Designated hitter Danny Lotz lit the fuse by coming off the bench Friday and hitting his first home run in only his third at-bat this season.

The blast over the leftfield fence in the third inning got the visiting Rams rolling, and a six-run fifth led Ridgewood to an 11-2 win over Zephyrhills.

"We hadn't scored in 14 innings (Ridgewood lost 4-0 to Palm Harbor U. and 1-0 to Land O'Lakes earlier this week)," Rams coach Larry Beets said. "Now it's time for the young pups to get up there and swing."

"I got my chance. It was my time," said Lotz, a sophomore who began the season as a junior varsity pitcher/first baseman.

Ridgewood starter Matt Laliberte (4-1) pitched a five-hitter, struck out 10 and did not walk a batter in his second complete game. His lone mistake came in the sixth, when Kyle Watson belted a two-run homer, his third, to centerfield.

"(Laliberte) had a big-time curveball tonight," Beets said. "He came out and threw well."

The win gave Ridgewood (13-8, 8-4 in the Sunshine Athletic Conference) a three-game season sweep of Zephyrhills (8-11, 5-5).

Bulldog starter Tyson Prickett (2-3) was roughed up for six runs on 10 hits in 41/3 innings.

Lotz got things started in the fifth by drawing a walk and scoring on a passed ball. Derek Kuryliw then hit a three-run homer, his county-leading ninth, over the rightfield fence. Rick Brensinger added an RBI single, and Josh Le'Roy hit an RBI double. Lotz reached base in all three of his plate appearances, including a single in the seventh, and scored three times.

"He earned himself an at-bat next game," Beets said.- STEVE LEE

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