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Six-run fifth lifts Warhawks

By PETE YOUNG

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 19, 2001


TAMPA -- Ordinarily, being on the short end of a 2-1 score in the middle of the game wouldn't be a big deal for Seminole.

However, the first three state semifinals Friday at Legends Field had the same final score: 2-1. Apparently, Seminole would have to overcome some cosmic predetermination that every game be 2-1 and solve dynamite Gonzalez Tate left-hander Rodney Story.

No sweat. The Warhawks erupted for six runs in the fifth inning to win the Class 5A state semifinal 7-2.

"These guys have been behind and come through all year long," Seminole coach Scott Miller said. "They know how to play under pressure."

Tate (28-6) scored a run without a hit in the second off of T.J. Large. Brett Pelfrey drew a walk, went to second on a wild pitch, took third on a groundout and scored on another groundout.

The Aggies made it 2-0 in the fourth. With one out, Pelfrey lined Tate's first hit of the game, and Bryan Madril bounced a hit-and-run single into the vacated shortstop hole. A wild pitch put the runners in motion, and Bobby Wilson attempted to throw out the trailing runner. The throw sailed into centerfield, and Pelfrey scored.

Seminole (20-10) got one back in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI single by Phil Stillwell (2-for-3, three RBI), and the Warhawks crashed through in the fifth.

Jon Riggleman singled, and Williams walked, prompting Tate coach Greg Blackmon to lift Story (12-1) in favor of fellow senior left-hander Spencer Grogan.

Jon Skorupski greeted Grogan with a bunt, and catcher Clay Wells' throw to third base was in the dirt, loading the bases. After Casey Kotchman (2-for-3), playing with a sprained right foot he injured Wednesday in practice, struck out on a check swing, Wilson lashed a high fastball up the middle to score two runs and put Seminole up 3-2.

Errol Blumer followed with an RBI single to left to make it 4-2. John Killalea then grounded to shortstop. However, the throw to second base was misplayed, and Wilson scored to make it 5-2. Stillwell then lined a single to left, scoring Blumer and Killalea for a 7-2 lead.

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