By GREG AUMAN, Times staff writers
© St. Petersburg Times, published April 14, 2001
HUDSON -- It's almost unfair to call the fifth-inning home run hit by Ridgewood sophomore Breanne Hill on Friday an inside-the-park shot.
The outfield fences at Veterans Memorial Park are a distant 285 feet, but when Hill ripped the ball into leftfield to provide the winning margin in the Rams' 5-3 win over Hernando, it made it all the way to the fence.
"Well, it bounced," Hill said.
However, that would be the only thing anyone could come up with Friday to trivialize her performance.
"Bre did about everything you could ask one player to do," Rams coach Greg Bollinger said.
Hill (9-3) went the distance on the mound, striking out nine as Ridgewood (16-7) handed Hernando, ranked third in Class 3A, its third loss of the season.
At the plate, she had Ridgewood's first hit, sparking a three-run burst in the fourth inning. And after Hernando rallied to tie the game in the fifth, she put the Rams up for good with her two-run home run off reliever Carolyn Gant.
"It gave me reassurance," said Hill, who retired the final five Hernando batters. Hernando (20-3) was plagued by six errors, and its aggressive baserunning cost it. In the third and fifth, Hernando got the leadoff runner on only to be thrown out by Melanie Boyer trying to steal second.
"We have to be (aggressive)," said Leopards coach Ernie Chatman, who dismissed four players from the team last week then had a fifth quit Monday. "In the midst of all of this adjustment, we're still learning.
"We battled, got down and came back against a pretty good pitcher."
Hernando, which got two hits each from Chrissy Hartley and Kimi Olmstead, had beaten Ridgewood in the Rams' preseason tournament then again in the final of a tournament Hernando hosted. It's the third time this month Ridgewood has avenged a loss from earlier this season.
"Just believing we could do it, getting over that hump," Bollinger said. "These are big things to me. We had lost to Mitchell 3-0 then came back and beat them 19-1. We lost to East Lake last Thursday, and last night we beat them 3-2.
"That's a key, getting up and doing something about it." -- GREG AUMAN
RIVER RIDGE 4, EAST LAKE 3: River Ridge escaped with a win against East Lake with some great defense and a little help from the umpires.
River Ridge first baseman Jill Hrovoski was pulled off the bag in the bottom of the seventh by a high throw by shortstop Stephanie Simon. East Lake's Jenn Barnes was about to score the tying run from third with two outs.
Hrovoski whipped her glove around and tagged Julia Weiss as she stepped on first base. The umpire called Weiss safe, but the umpire at home overruled the call, giving River Ridge a 4-3 win.
"It was scary. I wasn't sure if I could get around," Hrovoski said. "I knew we had the game on the line, and it had to be done. I swung my arm down, and I hit her.
"That's all that matters."
River Ridge finished the day 2-0 thanks to an earlier 3-2 win over Crystal River. The Knights meet Seminole, the pool's other unbeaten team, at 9 a.m.
The Eagles stranded nine runners, including two in the third and fourth
"We've struggled with that throughout the year. We've left a lot of runners on base," East Lake coach Bob Hudson said. "The good thing is that we've improved. They've beat us 6-0 and 7-1 (in district play). We're making progress."
River Ridge (20-3) also got clutch hitting from Christine Beck. The second baseman was 2-for-3 with a double and three RBI.
Simon's single in the fifth scored Beck and gave River Ridge a 4-3 lead.
Erica Weaver did most of the damage for East Lake, going 3-for-3 with two RBI.
River Ridge starter Jen Brumbaugh (7-1) had an uneven outing but battled to pitch a complete game. She threw six wild pitches and allowed seven hits.
POOL A: Ridgewood has clinched a spot in the championship game regardless of how it fares at 9 a.m. today against Pinellas Park. The Rams swept Friday's games against Clear Creek (Ohio) and Hernando, putting them in today's 3 p.m. final. Hernando and Clear Creek both split their games, and they meet at 11 a.m. to decide which team will meet the Pool B runner-up at 1 p.m. Hernando got 11 strikeouts and a complete-game two-hitter from starter Chrissy Hartley in a 4-0 win over Pinellas Park. By losing its two games Friday, Pinellas Park has locked up a spot in the seventh-place game at 1 p.m today.
POOL B: Seminole scored the game's only run in the first thanks to an error by East Lake third baseman Nikki Hutchens. Seminole starter Lynn Beksha (8-1) did the rest, allowing three hits in a complete-game win. East Lake's Julia Weiss (2-5) pitched well in defeat, striking out seven.
Crystal River third baseman Melissa Coburn booted a Jill Hrovoski grounder, allowing two runs to score in the third as River Ridge beat Crystal River 3-2. Coburn was 2-for-3 at the plate, but River Ridge starter Christine Beck shut down the rest of the Pirates. Beck (13-2) allowed just three hits in the complete-game win.
And Shauna Hawthorne (6-1) baffled the Pirates as Seminole shut out Crystal River 5-0. Hawthorne allowed three hits and struck out six. Nicole Goff's two-run double gave Hawthorne all the support she needed. -- Times staff.