By JOHN C. COTEY and KEN SMITH
© St. Petersburg Times, published May 2, 2001
NEW PORT RICHEY -- This is how good Mike White was Tuesday night against Ridgewood -- he got his changeup over the plate.
"That usually never happens," the Countryside senior said.
But the worst thing that happened for the Rams was that White got his curveball over ... and his fastball ... and just about everything he threw. Masterfully working the strike zone and seemingly bending the Ridgewood bats to his will, White pitched Countryside to a 5-1 win and into the Class 5A regional semifinals.
Ridgewood finished 21-10.
It can blame one bad inning. With the score tied 1-1 in the fifth, Countryside (18-11) took advantage of Aaron McLamar's throwing error to take the lead and fuel a four-run inning. McLamar's attempt at a force out at second sailed into right-center, allowing Geoff Rottmayer to score. After Kevin Richmond's single put runners on first and third -- and Ridgewood coach Larry Beets visited starting pitcher Dave Hancox on the mound -- Dan Paasch reached out and slapped a triple down the rightfield line to make it 4-1.
"I told Dave to blow it past this guy and with their lefties coming up we'd bring in Ronny (Lowe, a southpaw)," Beets said. "He blew the first one by him but the second one was supposed to be more inside."
Even so, Paasch was behind the pitch but got enough of it to deliver the big hit.
White did the rest, striking out 11 Rams mostly on curveballs and holding them to five hits. Hancox scored the only run when he doubled, went to second on Derek Kuryliw's single and was driven in on Monte Werner's sacrifice fly in the fourth inning to tie the game. -- JOHN C. COTEY
SEMINOLE -- Seminole had no trouble living up to its role as the heavy favorite over Gulf, defeating the Buccaneers 11-1. Catcher Bob Wilson highlighted the Warhawks attack with a grand slam in the second inning. Donnelle Williams knocked in three runs in the third and Casey Kotchman tripled home two runs in the first as Seminole scored in each of the first four innings.
Seminole's T.J. Large limited Gulf to just one hit in four innings.
The Bucs' lone tally came in the second when Joey Aldridge scored on a wild pitch by Large.
Aldridge reached base on an error and advanced to third after two walks by Large. The Warhawks' four-run second inning began when Large beat out a grounder to shortstop for an infield hit. Large advanced to second on a wild pitch by David Pirman. Williams struck out for the second out, but Pirman walked John Skorupski then issued an intentional walk to Kotchman to load the bases.
Joe Dan Fagan replaced Pirman on the mound. Wilson then drilled a 2-2 pitch over the leftfield fence. Seminole jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first when Kotchman tripled in the gap to knock in Williams and Skorupski. Kotchman scored on a groundout by Wilson, which turned out to be the first of his 5 RBI. Seminole advances to Friday's regional semifinals, hosting Wharton or traveling to Charlotte. -- KEN SMITH