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State tournament sidelines

By JOHN C. COTEY, SCOTT PURKS, FRANK PASTOR and MIKE READLING

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 16, 2001


Quotable

"We need to try to get the hell out of here. That's what I was thinking." -- JACK SPENCER, Country Day coach on his thought process during the bottom of the seventh when Miami Archbishop Carroll brought the tying run to the plate twice.

Tuesday's heroes

Donald Brickle, Country Day: The senior threw the final 22/3 innings, allowing no earned runs and inducing a double play from the batter who represented the tying run.

Gator Brooks, King's Academy: We thought Gators were friendly to Gainesville folk, but P.K. Yonge had a bite taken out of it by Brooks, who saved the title for the Lions. Aaron Verrett, King's Academy: The junior drove home the winning run in the sixth with a single. The shortstop also helped turn two key double plays.

MVP?

Though no official vote is taken, if there had been, the choice for the Class A/2A tournament MVP would have been Brooks.

A day after throwing a one-hit shutout, Brooks scored the winning run and closed out P.K. Yonge for the 2A title, earning a save with two perfect innings. "At the hotel, he said he had one or two innings left," coach Wayne Sewell said. "We thought we'd give him one."

Brooks took two.

"I felt really good," he said. "I only threw 80 pitches Monday, so I felt pretty strong."

Brooks drew laughter Monday by revealing he wore a dirty and smelly hat despite new ones issued. Tuesday, he said he would retire the hat to his room.

"I'll put it up with some potpourri," he said. "It'll be all right."

Weird feeling

In the top of the third, Country Day, which has outscored opponents 68-14 since its district final, got a leadoff single from Kyle Clarke, back-to-back doubles by Stephen Byrd and Brickle and a triple from Dan Hackney to take a 4-3 lead. They didn't relinquish it after that, winning 10-8 for their 14th double-digit score of the season and fourth in the past three weeks

Line of the day 4 AB, 3 R, 2 H, 1 RBI

This from Country Day's Kyle Clarke, who managed to squeeze in a triple in the fifth inning.

By the numbers

0 -- Seniors on Carroll.

1 -- More person needed to make Tuesday's attendance an even 1,200.

2 -- Consecutive state titles Country Day owns, currently tops in the state.

3 -- Double plays turned by Country Day all season, including one in the bottom of the seventh to preserve its 10-8 win Tuesday.

4 -- Out of the past five state tournaments Country Day has appeared in.

18 -- Runs Country Day scored with two outs in their two games.

252/3 -- Innings Brickle pitched without giving up an earned run this season.

26 -- Combined shutouts by Tuesday's four finalists.

28 -- Post-season appearances by 5A semifinalist Gonzalez Tate, ranking fourth in the state.

65 -- Years since 5A semifinalist Lakeland first appeared in the state tournament.

41 -- Years since Lakeland last appeared in the state tournament.

4,038 -- Total attendance for the A and 2A tournament.

* * *

TICKETS: $6 per two-game session and available at the gate. Parking is $2.

- Compiled by John C. Cotey, Scott Purks, Frank Pastor and Mike Readling.

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