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Youth keys Clearwater's 8-6 victory

Sophomore Cameron Betourne and freshman Chris Jones have big games to lead the Tornadoes past the Rebels.

By RODNEY PAGE

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 5, 2001


ST. PETERSBURG -- Clearwater relied on the arm of a sophomore and the bat of a freshman Friday afternoon in an 8-6 Class 4A, Region 3 semifinal win over Dixie Hollins.

The Tornadoes (18-13) will host the region final Tuesday against Jefferson at the Carpenter Complex.

Sophomore left-hander Cameron Betourne settled down after a rough beginning and pitched six solid innings to earn his sixth win of the season.

Betourne gave up three runs in the first inning but kept the Rebels off of the board until the sixth.

Freshman rightfielder Chris Jones led the Tornadoes' offensive attack with a three-run home run in the second inning that erased a 3-1 deficit and gave Clearwater the momentum it needed.

He also came up a with a key play in the third inning that kept Dixie Hollins from a potentially big inning.

"Those two came up big for us today," Clearwater coach Steve McKee said.

"They're young guys, but they came through in a big game like this. That says something about them."

Clearwater advanced thanks to three crucial plays. The first was Jones' home run, the only one he has hit all season.

After jumping to a 1-0 lead in the first when Dixie Hollins' starter Joe Castagner balked in Mike Krentzman from third, the Rebels got three of their own to take a two-run lead.

The inning was highlighted by RBI singles by Ricky Kapp and Chris Garrand.

But Jones gave the Tornadoes the lead again in the second with his three-run homer to left. Clearwater did not trail again.

The second big play came in the third with the Rebels threatening to score. Castagner walked to start the inning, and a Jesse Litch single put runners on the corners. Kapp then lined out to Jones in right, who threw home to get a tagging Castagner for a double play.

One batter later, Garrand struck out to end the inning.

Clearwater added three more runs in the fourth, two of which came on a two-out throwing error by second baseman Vincent King.

The third crucial play came in the bottom of the seventh.

Clearwater's Jason Costello relieved Betourne with runners on second and third and no outs and an 8-4 lead. Danny Deal then singled to drive in a run to cut the lead to 8-5 with men on first and third.

But Costello got Garrand to ground into a 1-6-3 double play that scored Kapp. A.J. Bozenhart then grounded to short to end the game.

"Those were big plays," McKee said. "A lot of times, you don't see plays like that made. But we've been playing pretty well lately and getting some breaks."

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