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Venice left-hander shuts down Dunedin

By PETE YOUNG

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 14, 2001


DUNEDIN -- In the bottom of the first inning Friday at the Englebert Complex, Venice left-hander Arnold Hughey struck out, in succession, Dunedin's Jeremy Bellotti, Kenny Holmberg and Brian Dopirak.

That's .456 (batting average) Jeremy Bellotti, .515 Kenny Holmberg and .513 Brian Dopirak.

Woah.

It was the beginning of a masterful evening for Hughey. The senior, who has signed with Auburn, stonewalled Dunedin for six innings while the Venice offense, tepid all week, erupted for 10 runs as the Indians captured the Dunedin Easter Tournament 10-1.

Hughey (8-2) allowed just one hit, a grounder up the middle by Dopirak in the sixth inning, struck out 11 and walked two in dominating the Falcons from the outset. Dunedin (21-2), ranked No. 1 in Class 4A, had scored 37 runs in its first three games of the tournament.

"(Hughey) was mixing it up real good," Holmberg said. "Good changeup, good curveball."

Dunedin won at Venice 7-1 earlier this season, but Hughey did not pitch. Friday, he used a mid-80s fastball, curveball and changeup to paralyze the Falcons.

"I don't think so," Hughey said when asked if he had ever pitched this well. "I was really ready for this game."

Aggressive baserunning, including four stolen bases, and a pair of Dunedin errors helped Venice (16-9) score a run in the first and second inning off Falcons starter Bryan Banks (6-1).

Dunedin, which put two balls in play in the first three innings, trimmed it to 2-1 in the fourth without a hit.

Holmberg drew a one-out walk. And with two outs, Taylor McCormack hit a soft bouncer to third baseman Tim Orlosky, whose hurried throw sailed into rightfield, allowing Holmberg to race around and score.

Venice immediately snuffed out any Dunedin momentum, scoring five runs on five hits and an error in the fifth inning off Banks and reliever Shaun Phillips.

"You've got to give (Hughey) all the credit in the world. He threw good," Dunedin coach Tom Hilbert said.

"But we're good enough offensively that we need to make adjustments. We were just stubborn tonight."

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