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County teams on the brink

By JOHN C. COTEY

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 13, 2000


The District 12 Little League Tournament of Champions could be over for Pasco County by the time you read this.

Or maybe not.

With play just about completed, the lone remaining teams are the Major Division baseball team from Holiday and West Pasco's senior softball team.

The Holiday team, coached by Harold Schaffer, met Pasco nemesis Dunedin American (which wiped out both of the county's senior teams this weekend) Monday night in the semifinals.

Holiday advanced by virtue of its 2-1 pool record, with the wins coming against Palm Harbor National and Safety Harbor National. It was denied a perfect pool mark by West Pasco, which beat Holiday 9-6.

If the Holiday major boys survived Monday night, they will play for the championship tonight. The same goes for West Pasco, which played East Lake on Monday night. Both teams suffered their only losses to Palm Harbor National (West Pasco 8-3, East Lake 8-0).

The winner gets another shot at the Palm Harbor power in tonight's final.

JUNIORS: The West Pasco Devil Rays made a strong run in the baseball tournament before falling 10-8 in a semifinal thriller to Palm Harbor National on Saturday. Coach Randy Koenigsfeld gushed about his team's effort as it repeatedly fought back from deficits before running out of innings.

"It was a great game," Koenigsfeld said. "It was back and forth through the whole game. We took the lead. Then they came back and tied it. Then they took the lead. Then we came back and tied it."

And that was just through the first five innings. In the bottom of the sixth, the Devil Rays scored two runs to go ahead 7-6, but once again, Palm Harbor rallied with four runs in the top of the seventh.

The Devil Rays had one last gasp left, but one run scored in the bottom of the seventh was not enough.

"It was exciting," Koenigsfeld said. "We thought we matched up real well with Palm Harbor even though they hadn't lost all season. We had them going. Just a couple of breaks and we'd be in the championship."

Chris Dwyer pitched five innings in the decisive game and added a pair of hits, and he'll be joined on the West Pasco junior all-star team by teammates Patrick Potter and John Koenigsfeld.

West Pasco went 3-0 in pool play, outscoring its opponents 31-7 before its loss. Holiday was 2-1 in its pool while Hudson was 1-3.

SENIORS: The West Pasco Marlins gave up too much early ground and fell to Dunedin American 8-6 Friday to end their run despite a 4-for-4 effort by Matt Laliberte.

The Marlins went 1-2 in pool play. The next night, Hudson, which went 3-0 in pool play and had scored 11, 12 and 12 runs in its wins, was eliminated in the semifinals 9-0 by the Dunedin American team that knocked off West Pasco.

ALL-STARS: The all-star rosters are expected to be finalized this week for the all-star tournament, which begins July 1.

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