Dunedin scores eight runs in the first two innings to advance to the Dunedin Easter Tournament final.
By PETE YOUNG
© St. Petersburg Times, published April 12, 2001
DUNEDIN -- Taking nothing away from the meat of Dunedin's batting order, which is among the most fearsome in the state, but how can these guys not rack up the RBI?
With Jeremy Bellotti and Kenny Holmberg at the top of the order, virtually every at-bat is a stat-padding bonanza.
Bellotti and Holmberg, fiery sparkplugs whose on-field personas are reminiscent of Pete Rose, scored in their first three at-bats Wednesday, helping Dunedin bolt to an 8-0 lead after two innings in the Falcons' 11-4 win over Palm Harbor University.
Dunedin (21-1) advances to play Venice, a 4-2 winner over Clearwater, at 8 p.m. Friday in the championship game of the Dunedin Easter Tournament.
"Our 3-4-5 guys have a lot to be thankful for, having those guys in front of them," Dunedin coach Tom Hilbert said. "They're hard-nosed. They're our verbal guys. They lead the way.
"Jeremy, he plays identical to Kenny. They're aggressive. They go at everything hard."
Holmberg, Bellotti and Ryan Harvey (two-run home run), along with a porous PHU defense, helped cause pitcher Nate Craft's uncharacteristically poor outing.
The standout senior left-hander lasted just two innings, allowing eight runs, five of which were unearned because of three PHU errors.
"We had a rough couple of innings, and that happens when you're young," PHU coach Greg Nichols said. "But we're making some really good progress. We're swinging the bats well."
PHU (14-9) trimmed the lead to 8-4 on a two-run single by Mike Morzenti (3-for-3) in the bottom of the third. (Though the game was at Dunedin, PHU was the home team.)
However, Bellotti and Holmberg struck again in the fourth.
Bellotti, a junior outfielder, led off with a bloop double, and Holmberg, a senior shortstop, was hit by a pitch. After a walk loaded the bases, Bellotti sprinted home on a sacrifice fly.
Holmberg was balked from second to third, and Cody O'Connell struck out on a pitch in the dirt, requiring the catcher to throw to first. By the time the return throw arrived, Holmberg (2-for-3, 3 RBI, 3 runs) already had dashed across home plate, giving Dunedin a 10-4 cushion.
Brad Chamberlain was 3-for-4 for Dunedin and was the pivot man on inning-ending double plays in the third and fourth. Jamie Garris pitched three innings of scoreless relief, allowing just one hit.
Harvey left the game in the second inning after fouling a pitch off of his leg, but he said he expects to play Friday.