The Dragons take advantage of six errors to defeat the Hawks 5-3 and earn a spot in the final opposite Leto.
By SCOTT PURKS
© St. Petersburg Times, published April 26, 2001
TAMPA -- The trouble for Armwood started in the second inning; defensively, offensively and mentally.
It started with a throwing error followed by a single and a walk. Then a dribbling ball down the third-base line was scooped up and thrown way, way over the first baseman's head.
Three Jefferson runners scored, and the Dragons, with ace Jason Weintraub on the mound, did not trail the rest of the way, ultimately clinching a 5-3 Class 4A, District 10 semifinal victory.
Jefferson (16-9) moves on to play in tonight's final against Leto, which pulled off another upset in the other semifinal.
The Falcons (10-15) defeated No. 2 seed Brandon 2-1. Brandon (13-12) had the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the seventh but lined into a double play.
Armwood (19-7), the district's No. 1 seed, finished with six errors. "We had a total meltdown," Armwood coach Joey Fernandez said. "If you don't throw and catch, you can't win. You can't beat anybody when you make six errors. No way."
The loss also was the first of the year for Mike Pete, who came in 9-0 with a sub 1.00 ERA. Wednesday, Pete struck out 13 and allowed only two hits.
"(Pete) battled and battled, but we just didn't make the plays behind him," Fernandez said. "If you would have told me before the game that we would have scored three runs and lost, I would have said, 'No way."'
Weintraub, meanwhile, said he believed it was time for him and Jefferson to beat Pete, something neither had done in two years.
"Somehow, I just knew we were going to win," said Weintraub, who gave up a two-run homer to Pete in the first inning but allowed only three hits during the rest of his complete-game victory. "I usually start out slow and then get into a rhythm. And that's what happened again tonight."
One night after its softball team qualified for a district final, East Bay's baseball team did the same, defeating Sarasota Booker 4-2. The Indians play in Friday's final against Sebring, which defeated Bayshore 3-2.- Times staff