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Gritty Klein, Pedal Valves win tough battle with Tupelo to claim region crown

Story and photos by Mike Camunas

TAMPA — There was no way Stephen Klein was coming out of the game.

In the third inning, the 5-foot-9 southpaw for Louisiana Pedal Valves Cardinals took a painful-looking hit by pitch to his right ankle. As the starting pitcher in the American Legion Southeast Region Baseball Tourney Championship Game at the University of Tampa Baseball Stadium on Sunday afternoon, that could've been a vital blow to Klein. He was, in fact, keeping the Cardinals' opponent, the Mississippi Tupelo 49ers, at bay — shut out, even, and now Klein had a sore plant foot/ankle as a left-handed pitcher.

"There was no way I was coming out (of the game)," Klein said. "I wanted to finish this."

So, after a few moments on the ground and an examination by the trainer on site, Klein pulled himself up, dusted himself off and trotted to first base. He would then go on to pitch 6 1/3 shutout innings, allow just four hits and strikeout six — and hit a double …

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