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Monday, May 21, 2018
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Prep baseball: Pinellas stars top Hillsborough

— Northeast High senior Bret Maxwell said it’s hard to remember his first memory at Tropicana Field.

But it won’t be hard to remember one of his favorites as Maxwell laced a two-run double in the fourth to lead Pinellas’ 5-2 victory in the Pinellas-Hillsborough Senior All-Star Challenge on Sunday.

“I have season tickets so I get to watch it out here all the time,” Maxwell said. “But getting to play on the field is pretty incredible.”

The Hillsborough team tried to claw back in the sixth as Devin Cerrato walked, moved around and scored the team’s first run on a wild pitch.

However, Pinellas’ aggressive running took over as Dixie Hollins’ Joseph Simmons led off the eighth with a double, moved to third and stole home. The pitch went by the Hillsborough catcher, allowing St. Petersburg’s Richie Rivera to score and another error extended the Pinellas lead.

Chamberlain’s Allan Radice picked up the only Hillsborough RBI with a single in the eighth.

Plant’s Matt Vaka had a solid season, hitting .330 with 22 runs and 18 RBIs, but Tommy John surgery one year ago meant the senior was limited to two outings on the mound. In his one inning Sunday, Vaka allowed a single and had three strikeouts.

“I didn’t ever think I would be at this point,” Vaka said. “I’m lucky to be here ... and to get a chance to come out here and throw the ball. I’m blessed to be here.”

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