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Standings remain shrouded in mystery

Postponements and cancellations have made determining which team leads Legion B very complicated.

By PETE YOUNG

© St. Petersburg Times,
published July 7, 2001


If you play in Southwest Area American Legion B, you likely are as confused as Dunedin coach Tom Hilbert.

Hilbert's troops are 10-1 in the league and 15-3 overall after Thursday's 6-4 win over Madeira Beach 273. So is Dunedin in first place? Hilbert has no clue.

"I don't have any idea who's standing where," Hilbert said.

He's not alone.

Ed White of New Port Richey Post 79 usually compiles the records each week. But this summer, he said he has been unable to keep up because games often are postponed or canceled and coaches have not been diligent about keeping him informed.

"It's a mess getting fields, a mess with the weather, a mess trying to schedule," Hilbert said. "It's a joke."

The loss of its home field has complicated matters for Dunedin, which played at Jack Russell Stadium the past two seasons. Hilbert said they couldn't use the facility this season due to a pending lawsuit against it.

"We used it in the past as a courtesy from the Phillies, but we can't anymore," Hilbert said. "It was a great place for the kids to play."

Frantically trying to play the required 20 league games by Wednesday's deadline (the league tournament begins Saturday at Lakewood Ranch), Dunedin will play a doubleheader today against Palm Harbor, a game Monday against Post 273, a doubleheader Tuesday against St. Petersburg Catholic and a doubleheader Wednesday against Gulfport Post 125.

All weather permitting, of course.

That would leave only a pair of games against Countryside unplayed. Hilbert said he was uncertain what would become of the missing games, though they could be ruled double forfeits.

In Thursday's win, Dunedin took a 3-0 lead off Paul Buhrow, but Post 273 rallied to take a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the third.

Dunedin catcher Gene Novak, who is batting over .500 this summer, homered in the fourth to tie the game. It stayed that way until the ninth, when Dunedin strung together five hits to score two runs and win 6-4.

Dunedin's pitching made the difference. After Post 273's four-run outburst in the third, Dunedin retired the final 18 batters of the game. Ryan Harvey pitched the fourth and fifth innings, Jeremy Bellotti pitched the sixth, seventh and eighth and Brad Chamberlain pitched the ninth.

"We've got a lot of good arms that need the work," Hilbert said. "Hopefully, we can get some of these games in and get ready for the tournament."

NOT SHOWCASING: Dunedin slugger Brian Dopirak, a rising senior who was invited to the Team One National Showcase in Arizona this weekend, did not participate. Hilbert said Dopirak is on vacation with his family.

Bellotti, a rising senior, and Harvey, a rising junior, will participate in the Team One Regional Showcase on July 19-22 in Clemson, S.C.

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