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Rams finally win their tourney

By STEVE LEE

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 15, 2001


HUDSON -- Marlyn Bavetta coached Ridgewood to a state title in 1992 and nine of the past 11 Sunshine Athletic Conference titles. But Saturday, her replacement achieved something Bavetta never did.

Greg Bollinger coached Ridgewood to its first Rams Classic title. Under Bavetta, who retired before this season, the Rams lost three times in the final.

This year, the tournament format was changed from double-elimination to pool play and the 16-team field reduced to eight.

"That still doesn't take away what we accomplished and everything we did today," Bollinger said.

Breanne Hill pitched a six-hit shutout and struck out nine in Ridgewood's 5-0 win over Seminole for the championship.

Ridgewood (17-8) won three of four games in the tournament and has four wins in its past five games. Seminole (18-8) had not allowed a run in the tournament. It beat East Lake 1-0, Crystal River 5-0 and River Ridge 2-0 to reach the final.

"That first run we got was huge," Bollinger said.

"It put a little (chink) in their armor."

Courtney Kline singled to lead off the bottom of the first and scored on Brandy Krieg's single.

The Rams built on the lead with four runs in the fifth. Elizabeth Sullivan hit a two-out bases-loaded single to score Kline and Bethann Blankenship to highlight the inning. Tera McCleary and Melanie Boyer added RBI singles.

"We got a lot of two-out hits (during the tournament)," Bollinger said. "That's the key."

Hill (10-3), a sophomore, was named the most valuable player.

Against Seminole, she worked out of a two-out bases-loaded jam in the sixth by striking out Lisa Hasson for the third time.

"She bowed her neck and got serious and did what had to be done," Bollinger said.

"I was just throwing my hardest," Hill said. "I like to make it interesting."

Hernando (22-3) made short work of River Ridge in the consolation game with a 12-0 win in five innings. Chrissy Hartley improved to 15-3.

"You come in and go 3-1 and leave with a lot of motivation for next week," Hernando coach Ernie Chatman said. "I'm pretty pleased."

River Ridge (20-5) went 2-2 in the tournament.

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