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Bridgeport wins Big 10 title

by Charles Casey


(May 13) Bridgeport baseball coach Robert Shields said at the beginning of the season that pitching was his team's biggest question mark.

T.J. Linkous and Neil DeFazio provided answers on Tuesday as they combined to hurl the Indians past South Harrison, 4-2.

The win clinched the Big 10 Conference championship for Bridgeport (16-3 overall, 10-2 Big 10).

Linkous and DeFazio combined on a six-hitter and allowed just one earned run.

That performance was typical of the Indians' pitching staff this season as Linkous, DeFazio, Joe Honce, Paul Graeber and others quickly put Shields' pitching fears to rest.

"We had a lot of question marks in pitching. I knew we had (T.J.) Linkous and (Neil) DeFazio, but several other kids came through," Shields said.

"I'm really proud of our seniors, they've come through for us the whole season," Shields said. "It's great to win the Big 10, but that's just one of our goals."

Bridgeport's victory didn't come easy.

South Harris's Ronnie Welch matched Linkups and DeFazio for much of the game, but the Indians' strength -- hitting -- eventually won out.

Michael Stumpo and Honce provided the offensive punch for Bridgeport. Stumpo hit a solo home run to break a 1-1 tie, while Honce had two run-scoring triples.

ÒI thought Ronnie Welch threw a really good ball game," South Harrison coach Brad Nutter said.

"Bridgeport has a quality team and he held them down pretty good."

Honce led the Indians' 10-hit attack by going 3-for-4, while Stumpo and Justin Belcastro each had two hits.

Nutter said the Hawks (13-7, 6-4) hit the ball better than in their previous game with Bridgeport, but still couldn't come up with the timely hits.

Ben Hall led South Harrison with two hits including a run-scoring double.

Andrew Richards also had a double for the Hawks.

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