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Prep notebook

By JOHN C. COTEY, FRANK PASTOR, JOHN SCHWARB and PETE YOUNG

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 19, 2001


QUOTABLE

"The No. 1 team in the nation? With the No. 1 player in the nation?

No, uh-uh." -- Greg Blackmon, Gonzalez Tate coach when asked if he felt confident with a 2-1 lead over Seminole midway through the Class 5A state semifinal

* * *

FRIDAY'S HEROES

  • T.J. Large, Seminole: Yes, the senior lived up to his name with a complete-game effort to push his record to 12-0 and put the Warhawks in the title game. Large gave up just one earned run and three hits, striking out five while walking one batter and hitting two others.
  • Chris Lopez, Hialeah: The sophomore dropped a textbook suicide squeeze to score Miguel Colina with the winning run in the Thoroughbreds' 2-1 win over Venice.
  • Jimmy Bacon, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas: His one-out single to rightfield in the bottom of the seventh inning moved Chris Munn to third base and set up the winning run in the Raiders' 2-1 win over Lakeland. The third baseman also had five assists, including a key stop on J.D. Clyatt's chopper to end a Lakeland threat. Chuck Jerolman, West Palm Beach Wellington: The shortstop didn't get a hit, but his sacrifice fly to rightfield in the fourth inning drove home Matt Oxendine with what proved to be the winning run in the Wolverines' 2-1 win over Lake Mary. Jerolman also had a hand in two of Wellington's three double plays.
  • MAKING NEWS

  • Pitchers' duels
  • Those who long for old-fashioned, low-scoring games would have been in heaven Friday at Legends Field. The first three games of the day were decided by 2-1 scores.
  • The nightcap briefly appeared headed for a similar result, but Seminole wanted no part of another 2-1 game. In the bottom of the fifth, the deficit was erased by Bobby Wilson's two-run single.
  • * * *

    NUMBERS OF THE DAY

  • 3,659/5,324/16,283: Friday evening's attendance, Friday's entire gate and the attendance for the week so far at Legends Field.
  • The record for overall attendance at the state tournament in Tampa is 16,796, set last year. That mark will fall before today's first pitch. Attendance figures have fluctuated at Legends Field in correlation to the presence of bay area teams. For example:
  • 1997 (15,744): After four years at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, the state tournament moved to Tampa. Jesuit and Pasco faced off in the 4A title game (The Tigers won 7-1.), and Dunedin was the runner-up in the 5A final.
  • 1998 (10,136): Gibbs' only state tournament appearance was this year, but the significant drop from 1997 came from the fact that, for the first time since 1984, Hillsborough County failed to have at least one representative in the tournament.
  • 1999 (13,195): World order was restored as Sickles and Tampa Catholic advanced to Legends Field, though neither reached the finals.
  • 2000 (16,796): Jesuit won its second 4A title, and Zephyrhills appeared in the 4A semifinal.
  • 2001: Only 6A and 2A are devoid of bay area representation. Seminole, Clearwater, Tampa Catholic and Seminole Presbyterian gave local fans plenty to cheer for -- as today's record-breaking attendance will show.
  • TICKETS: $6 per two-game session and available at the gate. Parking is $2.
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