By ALEX LYNCH
© St. Petersburg Times, published May 5, 2001
ST. PETERSBURG -- Despite making it close, Northside Christian couldn't catch a break and lost to West Palm Beach King's Academy 2-1 in Class 2A, Region 3 semifinal.
Northside starter Todd Redmond (7-3) pitched a complete game in the loss and managed to contain the Lions' potent offense.
"A couple plays with a break here or there would have helped," Northside coach Darrell Don said. "We just didn't get to where we needed to be. It's disappointing."
In the second inning, catcher Scott Leffler blasted a fastball from King's Academy starter Gator Brooks (13-1) 370 feet to center. But centerfielder Joey Testa went back and pulled the ball back into play for an out.
Then in the top of the fourth, a bloop single by the Lions' Nathan Thomas scored the game's first run.
In the bottom of the fourth, Lastings Milledge hit another belt-high fastball to centerfield, but this one went about 400 feet to tie the score.
In the top of the fifth Braedyn Pruitt led off with a walk and Ryan Smith dropped a bunt single, putting Lions on first and second with no outs.
Matt Bittner then pinch hit for Adam Bruce and sacrificed the runners to second and third.
Devin Neddo then surprised Northside with a squeeze bunt that scored Pruitt to give King's Academy (27-4) a 2-1 lead.
"I figured something when they tried to squeeze one earlier," Don said. "We had a pitch-out on the squeeze and (Redmond) just couldn't see the sign to throw it."
In the top of the sixth, Brooks walked Milledge, who moved to second on a Steven Doetsch single.
Don then called for a hit-and-run that backfired when Scott Leffler swung for the third strike and Milledge was caught stealing. The Mustangs also had a man on third with one out in the seventh but couldn't score.
WINTER PARK -- Winter Park Trinity Prep won its 24th consecutive game, defeating Shorecrest 4-2.
Trailing 4-1 in the seventh inning, the Chargers (19-11) loaded the bases. A wild pitch made it 4-2 before J.J. Brace struck out Sean Wiggins to end the game. Shorecrest led 1-0 after the first inning. Trinity Prep tied it in the third and took a 3-1 lead in the sixth on a two-run home run by Cory Whiting. Josh Rhine's single in the sixth made it 4-1.
-- Special to the Times