Bobcats can't be tamed

Published: Thursday, April 1, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, April 1, 2004 at 12:02 a.m.
It's not often that a starting pitcher can give up a grand slam in the first inning and end up pitching the rest of the game.
But on Wednesday night at P.K. Yonge, Buchholz starter Eric Thomas not only finished the game from there, his Bobcats came back for a 5-4 win to catapult them into Saturday's 7 p.m. championship game in the Alachua County tournament.
Thomas started off shaky in the first inning, loading the bases with no outs. After almost getting out of it with back-to-back strikeouts, he made his biggest mistake of the day, hanging a pitch to P.K. Yonge center fielder David Blanch. Blanch firmly planted the pitch over the fence with a towering shot to left center.
That could have been a crusher for Buchholz (12-4), but instead the Bobcats struck right back. Twins Kevin and Kim Dewar hit identical back-to-back home runs to lead off the top of the second and put Buchholz in striking distance.
"That's the kind of thing you only see in movies," Thomas said. "That makes me compete. It makes the whole team compete. Coming right back was a big deal."
Other than the home runs, P.K. Yonge starter Derrick Robinson had it on cruise control into the fourth inning. Robinson quickly picked up two outs, but then the Bobcats really started to scrap.
Picking up a couple of singles and a walk, Buchholz loaded the bases for short stop Kyle Nichols. Nichols fought back from an 0-2 count to run it full. The full count turned out to be very important as all three base runners were in motion for Nichols single to left, allowing all three to score and Buchholz to take the lead over the Blue Wave (6-10).
"I'm proud of our kids for not folding the tent up after getting down 4-0," Buchholz coach Bob Smith said. "We just kept fighting. Nichols had a good at bat when he blooped that one in there.
"Sometimes when you keep fighting, the game is good to you. We kept battling and battling, and then he blooped that one in there. We were fortunate that all three guys were running and we could score three runs on a fly ball to left."
Thomas pitched better as the game wore on, retiring 11 of the last 13 batters he faced.
In the early game, Hawthorne used two home runs, one of which was a grand slam, in the third inning to beat Eastside 11-6 and finish third in the bracket.

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