GHS wins trophy again


Published: Sunday, April 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, April 1, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

Gainesville again proved it's the top high school baseball program in the area by outscoring four opponents 72-9 this week, including a 15-7 decision Saturday over Buchholz to again win the Alachua County tournament and remain undefeated at 17-0.

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Buchholz shortstop Travis Yeckring can't get a handle on the ball as Gainesville leadoff man Tyler Holt slides into second base in the first inning Saturday of the Alachua County high school baseball tournament championship game at Eastside.

JARRETT BAKER/Special to The Sun

It took a combined eight pitchers to get through Saturday's game, but when the final pitch was thrown Gainesville stood victorious at Eastside High School's field.

The No. 5 (Class 5A) Hurricanes' pitching started off rocky. Starter Edwin Borbon lasted only 1. He allowed four runs on five hits, including a Travis Yeckring solo home run in the second. By the time GHS made the switch to Richard Kautz, it was down 4-2.

But the Hurricanes took command in the fourth inning. Tyler Holt, who forced a stoppage of play when he bloodied his nose diving for a ball in the third inning, led off the fourth with a single and later scored on a Tyler Cook bunt. Four batters later, JJ Van Winkle hit a grand slam home run to give the Hurricanes an 11-5 lead.

"I got a hold of it," said Van Winkle, who went 2-for-4. "I had so much adrenaline going through me, I just couldn't let go."

The Hurricanes scored four runs in the seventh to seal the win and support the pitching of Stephen McNeill.

"Stephen has the attitude where he wants the ball every time," GHS coach Adam Souilliard said. "He doesn't care about the situation, he just says â€̣Coach, give me the ball and I'm going to throw strikes for you.' And that's what he did today."

The Bobcats (14-5) used five pitchers, but could not seem to find a way to stop the Hurricanes, who registered 16 hits.

Holt led the 'Canes, going 4-for-4 with three runs.

"That's why they have me hitting in the first spot," Holt said. "They expect me to get on every time. I just stepped up big and made sure I hit what they gave me."

RED DEVIL CHALLENGE: The Mizuno/Coke Red Devil Challenge begins today at Williston High School with a home run derby and a barbecue, starting at 4 p.m.

Game play begins Monday with Coral Springs Christian taking on Royal Palm Beach at 10 a.m., followed by Jacksonville Bartram Trail against Chiefland at 1 p.m., Bronson versus Miami Ferguson at 4 p.m. and the host Red Devils versus Ponte Vedra Beach Nease at 7 p.m.

The championship game will be played Thursday at 7 p.m.

Also, about 15 minutes before Wednesday's Williston-Ferguson game, the Red Devils will honor former Williston player and coach the late Mike Payne, also a former Atlanta Braves pitcher. Payne also coached former Gator pitcher Tommy Boss at Dunnellon. All friends, former players and coaches are invited to attend the ceremony.

- John Patton

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