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Miller Toyota wins pair in tourney

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For Larry H. Miller Toyota's Brandon Burt, it was something you always dream about.

Only for Burt, it wasn't a dream. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Hunter High coach lifted Mark Higgins' 0-1 pitch over the centerfield fence and Miller Toyota to a 2-1 victory over the Phoenix Merchants Saturday afternoon.

And with his home run, Miller Toyota won its fourth straight game in the 2000 Pioneer Days' Tournament, which also included a 4-3 win over Pueblo's (Co.) Legacy Bandits Saturday morning.

It can be your greatest dream or nightmare. Burt has been on both sides.

In the 1995 ISC World Tournament Championship Game against the Toronto Gators, Burt lifted a Darrin Zack pitch, which hit the top of the fence and fell short by a half-inch of winning the crown for Miller Toyota.

Burt shrugs it off when people talk about it by saying, "I should've had another Wheatie at breakfast, I guess."

But Saturday, Burt took no prisoners. His ball sailed over the deepest part of diamond No. 2 at the Cottonwood Complex.

"I knew the pitch would be around the plate, because he (Higgins) had been coming at us the entire game," said Burt. "I would have to say Chad Boom's home run (first inning) was just as important as mine, because his tied the score. We moved the ball the entire game but couldn't find any holes.

"I would have to say that Chip Ehler's effort behind the plate (four assists) kept us alive, and of course, Peter Meredith had a solid pitching performance. He was effective. We have a real fun team to play for, because no one cares who gets the credit as long as we win. That's the most important thing." Against the Bandits, Dave Peatkau had a home run and started a Miller Toyota rally in the seventh inning. He singled, stole second, and came home on Curt Martin's double down the leftfield line.

Miller Toyota had led, 3-1, going into the sixth inning, but the Bandits scored two runs to tie the game.

Saturday, Miller Toyota lived life on the edge — a high-wire act.

But Miller Toyota shouldn't be resting on any laurels, because Page Brake defeated Broken Bow, 7-3, Friday night, and won two games Saturday. Of course, Page Brake defeated Miller Toyota for the Pioneer Days title last year.

Miller Toyota has never won the Pioneer Days Championship, founded in 1979.

The championship game will be at 3 p.m. Sunday.