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Pasco clobbers Central 8-3 to win 4A-6 championship

By BRANT JAMES

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 27, 2001


BROOKSVILLE -- Ricky Giles has that good feeling again.

The last time he had it was in 1997, when Pasco advanced to the state final. The feeling returned Thursday after the Pirates beat Central 8-3 for the Class 4A, District 6 title. This time, though, he feels even better about his chances in the state tournament, which Pasco starts with Region 2 play 7 p.m. Tuesday in Dade City.

"These kids can pick each other up," Giles said. "When we made that (11-game) winning streak this year, it made me think we can play with the good teams. The kids have been good and they want it, and that's part of the game."

The Pirates, seeded No. 1 after a 7-1 regular season in the district, whipped Zephyrhills 8-0 on Wednesday before turning back pesky Central.

Pasco displayed all the elements of a successful tournament team with good pitching, steady and flashy defense, speed, situational hitting and the ability to play smallball.

The Pirates scored in each of the first four innings to establish a 7-0 lead before the second-seeded Bears recorded three runs off tiring winner Trey Evans in the sixth. He started and allowed 5 hits in 6 innings with 8 strikeouts.

"I told him, "Some days you're a hero and some you're a goat,' " Giles said. "He was in between tonight. He got (the ball) up, and they hit it decent, but he did stay with it."

About the only thing missing for Pasco was power, which normal comes from shortstop Lee Cruz. The junior, nevertheless, contributed by scoring three of the four times he reached base in the tourney and by knocking in three runs Thursday.

Central, which relies on defense and pitching, had trouble with both in its fifth district championship in six years.

The Bears committed 5 errors, 3 passed balls and 3 wild pitches and allowed 3 stolen bases.

Pasco will face the loser of the Palatka-Gainesville Eastside game, which will be played at 7 tonight in Leesburg.

Central will travel to battle the winner of that game in a 7 p.m. Tuesday meeting.

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