Tigers starter Jarod Harder limits the Pirates to six hits as Dunnellon takes a 7-3 victory.
By KEITH NIEBUHR
© St. Petersburg Times, published April 28, 2001
DUNNELLON -- Crystal River's offense picked the wrong night to go flat.
After scoring 50 runs in their previous four games, the Pirates found the going tough against Dunnellon starter Jarod Harder, and the result was a 7-3 loss that will send them on the road for the first round of the state playoffs.
"We blinked," Crystal River coach Brent Hall said. "We had a bad inning and never recovered. (Dunnellon) took advantage of it. You've got to give them all the credit."
Crystal River (25-5) entered the game with a .434 batting average, but finished with six hits and managed to collect multiple hits in an inning just one time. Harder struck out three and forced nine fly-ball outs.
"We hit the ball hard but didn't put anything together," Hall said.
Dunnellon's bats were strong from start to finish.
The Tigers (19-9) slugged 11 hits off Crystal River starter Will Bleakley (3-1), including three consecutive singles to start the fourth, which led to a six-run inning.
Dunnellon's first run in the fourth gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead. Bleakley retired the next two batters and appeared as though he would escape further damage, but Donnie Roof's two-run double kept the inning alive and put Dunnellon ahead 4-1.
Crystal River helped the rally with two errors, including a dropped popup. By the time the damage was done, Dunnellon led 7-1.
In the fifth, Crystal River's Danny Caron hit a one-out double and later scored on a Harder wild pitch to make it 7-2. A bases-loaded walk to Kevin Bradley brought in another run, but Harder ended the threat by inducing Scott Miller into a groundout.
Crystal River then went quietly in the sixth and seventh innings.
Dunnellon will play host to Keystone Heights on Tuesday in the first round of the 3A state playoffs. Crystal River plays at fifth-ranked Alachua Santa Fe (28-2) and most likely will face Raiders ace Dwayne Carver, who is 11-0.
"We're excited," Hall said. "It was a bad night for the team, but we're going to get back on our horse and get ready for Santa Fe."