Down on the Dodger Farm June 29

To a man the members of the Vero Beach Dodgers think they can win the second half title in the Florida State League East. To a man they're demonstrating why the belief persists. Tuesday night it was the turn of the bullpen. In a game in which one misstep would have caused defeat, they were just about perfect.

Jarod Plummer had been shaky at the beginning, giving up a pair of runs to Sarasota in the first, then a home run in the third. After that, though, he settled in, turning the Red Sox away with nothing through the seventh. Meanwhile the Dodgers came up with three runs of their own in the fifth for a tie but that was all.

Richard Bartlett came on for a hitless eighth, ninth and 10th. Next it was Steve Schmoll for a perfect 11th. Mike Rodriguez yielded only a walk in the 12th. Nine innings -- a no-hitter that will never be officially recorded as such.

It was to pay off when Andy LaRoche singled home Alex Requena in the bottom of the 12th for the seventh straight Vero victory that retains their one-game lead in the division. Requena had three hits for the night and also stole bases No. 29, best in the league.

Elsewhere:

Jacksonville 4, Carolina 3--The Suns also had to work overtime and it too was rewarded when James Loney singled home the winner in the 11th. Willie Aybar, just named to play in the Southern League's All-Star game, ripped his 11th homer plus a double and single. Dimas Reina made his strongest start since coming up from Vero, 5.2 innings, four hits, two runs. Franquelis Osoria (4-3) threw a perfect 10th. The Suns are 3-4 for the half, 3 1/2 games behind Chattanooga, which is 6-0 for the half.

Fresno 8, Las Vegas 1--Brian Falkenborg is one who is being considered for promotion to L.A. but he gave little reason to show that he's the man as he was pounded for 10 hits and five runs in four innings leaving him at 1-3 with a 4.28 ERA. Vegas, which managed only five hits, is 14 behind in the PCL South.

Ogden 5, Provo 4--Scott Elbert, the Dodgers' first choice in the June draft, made his second start a strong one, going four in which he allowed only three hits and no runs while striking out six. Since he didn't go five, Javier Garcia (1-0) was the winner although he was reached for three runs in three innings. Aaron Klusman gave up a ninth-inning homer but still picked up his second save. It was the fifth in a row for the Raptors, who hold a two game lead in the Pioneer South with a 7-3 mark.

They pounded six doubles, two of those by Travis Denker.

Mets 4, GCL Dodgers 3--Javy Guerra, the fourth pick in the draft, debuted but, overanxious, rushed his pitches. Result-a first inning in which there were three wild pitches, three walks and an errant pickoff throw. Guerra came back for a hitless second and the Dodgers pulled into a tie only to have their five-game win streak snapped on a fifth inning home run off Kenny Plaisance (1-1), who otherwise pitched five effective innings. Rotsen Gill clouted two triples and rehabbing John Barnes collected three hits.

The 7-3 Dodgers hold a two-game East Division lead.

Columbus continued off for the South Atlantic All-Star break.

Player Notes--In addition to Aybar, who'll start at second base, lefthander Derek Thompson and closer Yhency Brazoban of Jacksonville were selected to play for the East in the Southern All-Star game. ... Elbert and infielder Blake DeWitt received second team honors on USA Today's All-American high school team.

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