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Saluting Newsome’s softball seniors



Newsome's softball seniors

This season was supposed to be about redemption. Newsome lost a 3-2 heartbreaker in eight innings to Park Vista in last season’s Class 9A state title game. The Wolves took solace in knowing they had a future together. Seven seniors returned, including five who have already signed with college programs. All the pieces were there for a title run. Through eight games, Newsome was 7-1 and ranked seventh in the state in 7A by MaxPreps. Now, the season — and the Wolves’ chance at redemption — remains in limbo until at least May 3 when the Florida High School Athletic Association will be able to determine whether spring sports can resume. “Everyone wants to play their last game, especially the seniors. It would be crushing if this is the way the season ended for us,” senior shortstop Lindsey Harper said. 

Meet the seniors 

Newsome’s Claire Ginder

INF Claire Ginder

2020 stats: .500 avg., 7 RBIs

Career stats: .354 avg., 24 RBIs

College: Furman

Senior memories: “It’s been everything to play with them and I’m thankful for my time at Newsome. My teammates are such a talented group of seniors and we’re all there to have fun, get better and win. It has been such a great and successful program, and I’m hoping we will get to finish what we started last year. If we don’t, I know we have an amazing group of girls in the grades below us that can pull through next year.”

Best career moment: “Going through the whole postseason last year, we had a great game against Palm Harbor to win districts and then cruised through regionals and the first round of the state tournament. Even though we lost in the finals, just the way the team was able to overcome injuries and sickness to play the last game as well as we did was just an amazing thing to experience. And then, in what might have been the last game of my high school career, I finally hit my first over-the-fence home run in high school ball. The support of my teammates when that happened was just the best feeling.”

Newsome’s Lindsey Harper

SS Lindsey Harper

2020 stats:  .333 avg., 8 RBIs

Career stats: .392, 50 RBIs, 96 runs

College: Tampa

Senior memories: “I knew it was a tough team to make. Only a select few get to be on the roster, so I was fortunate to be a part of that. There’s a strong bond just having so many seniors that are graduating at the same time and are going off to play in college. They definitely make you work harder. We push each other to get better.”

Best career moment: “The state final from last year. We got out to a lead and played our hardest, but we weren’t able to win. It was a teaching moment for us to leave it all on the field.” 

Newsome's Madison Hudson
Newsome’s Madison Hudson

OF Madison Hudson

2020 stats: .200 avg., 4 RBIs

Career stats: .325 avg., 19 runs

College: Coastal Carolina 

Senior memories: “It means a lot to me to be a part of this awesome program. My teammates and coaches mean the World to me. I love being on the field with them each and every day. We returned this year with one goal in mind and that was to get back to and win the State Championship.”

Best career moment: “The biggest moment of my high school career was when I was a freshman (in Texas) and we were down 8-7 in the top of the seventh with two outs and I hit a solo homer to keep us in the game.”

Newsome’s Brianna Langlois

2B Brianna Langlois

2020 stats: N/A (injured)

Career stats: .250 avg., 13 runs

College: Undecided

Senior memories: “It was an amazing opportunity to be a part of this team. I had a shoulder injury that kept me out and everyone continued to make me feel welcome and still be a part of the team.”

Best career moment: “Just being there everyday with my teammates. That’s what made me feel happy.” 

Newsome's Jada Smallwood
Newsome’s Jada Smallwood

UTIL Jada Smallwood

2020 stats: .538 avg., 10 RBIs, 2 HRs

Career stats: .441 avg., 83 RBIs, 12 HRs

College: Maryland

Senior memories: “Honestly it’s been such a blessing to play for Newsome softball the past four years, and I’ve loved every second of it. I’ve made so many memories on and off the field with these amazing girls and this senior class is truly something special. I really hope we get the chance to finish out our season.”

Best career moment: “Favorite memory is definitely going to states and playing in the state championship despite having the flu that game. But my favorite moment by far though was the homerun I hit in the semifinal game with a full count on a change up into the middle of the water behind the field.”

Newsome's McKayla Timmons
Newsome’s McKayla Timmons

1B McKayla Timmons

2020 stats: .500 avg., 8 RBIs

Career stats: .503 avg., 70 RBIs, 13 HRs

College: Ball State

Senior memories: “We’re pretty talented and to be around this amazing group of girls is special. I came here as a sophomore and they were very accepting and helped me make new friends.”

Best career moment: “When we knew we were going to the state semifinals last year was the best feeling. We were trying to make it all the way and came pretty close.”

Newsome's Daniela Waldron
Newsome’s Daniela Waldron

OF Daniela Waldron

2020 stats: .278, 2 RBIs

Career stats: .322 avg., 27 runs, 15 RBIs

College: Undecided

Senior memories: “I moved here from New York three years ago. Being a part of this team and with these seniors changed my softball and high school experience. They were very open and became family to me.”

Best career moment: “The experience of going to states last year and just having that experience and knowing how well we played to get there.”

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Baseball: Region semifinal recap (7A-5A, 2A)



Class 7A

For the full playoff bracket click here


Durant 7, Sarasota Riverview 0

Prime time performers

P Sean Hermann, Sr., Durant: Threw 4 ⅔ scoreless innings, allowing four hits, finishing with six strikeouts and teaming with Alex Canney on a shutout win over Sarasota Riverview. 

C/UTIL Dylan LaPointe, So., Durant: Hit two doubles and had two RBIs and a run scored in a win over Sarasota Riverview. 

C/3B Carlos Morales, Fr., Durant: Went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored in a win over Sarasota Riverview. 

Saturday’s region final schedule

Durant vs. Osceola-Lake Nona winner

Class 6A

For the full playoff bracket click here.


Bloomingdale 2, Mitchell 1

Prime time performers

INF/P Gabe Garrett, Sr., Bloomingdale: Went 2-for-3 with a run scored in a win over Mitchell. 

P/OF Jack Owens, Jr., Bloomingdale: Lasted six innings on the mound, allowing three hits and one earned run while striking out seven in a win over Mitchell. 

Saturday’s region final schedule

Bloomingdale at Naples Gulf Coast, 7

Class 5A

For the full playoff bracket click here.


Land O’ Lakes 3, Ocala Vanguard 0

Prime time performer

P Brian Holiday, Sr., Land O’ Lakes: Threw a complete-game no-hitter with 20 strikeouts and was 3-for-4 at the plate with an RBI and a run scored in a win over Ocala Vanguard. It was career win No. 600 for Gators coach Calvin Baisley.

May 19 region final schedule

Land O’ Lakes at Jefferson, 7

Class 2A

For the full playoff bracket click here


Seffner Christian 11, Winter Haven All Saints’ Academy 2

Bishop McLaughlin 4, Northside Christian 3 (10 innings)

Prime time performers

OF/P Andrew Duncan, So., Bishop McLaughlin: Powered the Hurricanes’ offense by going 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs in a win over Northside Christian.

C Andrew Ura, Sr., Seffner Christian: Hit a grand slam that ignited the offense in a win over Winter Haven All Saints’ Academy. 

Saturday’s region final schedule  

Seffner Christian at Mount Dora Christian, 7

Bishop McLaughlin at Sarasota Out-of-Door, 7

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CCC’s Stephen Shepherd leaves to take over at PHU



Stephen Shepherd, who coached Clearwater Central Catholic’s volleyball team for 11 seasons and led the program to the Class 3A state title in 2014, has stepped down to take over at Palm Harbor University. 

Shepherd, a teacher at Clearwater Fundamental, resigned last week. He said the move was a family decision. 

“My daughter is in sixth grade, and is a very good player,” Shepherd said. “She has dreamed of playing for me since she was 3 and was in our regional and state championship pictures. 

“I, however, am a teacher, and I’m unable to afford the tuition at CCC.  So it became about our family for me.  I didn’t want to miss her high school career while I’m coaching somewhere else.”

With the Marauders, Shepherd was 232-84 with six district titles, three region titles and a state title. Last season, CCC went 18-6 and lost to Carrollwood Day in the 3A region quarterfinals. 

This is the second high-profile coach the Marauders have lost in the past week. CCC baseball coach Todd Vaughan already announced he was stepping down after 33 seasons. .

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Baseball: Wednesday’s region semifinal breakdown (7A-6A, 2A)



The baseball playoffs continue Wednesday with region semifinal games in Classes 7A-6A and 2A. Admission is $7. Here is the schedule with outlooks for each area game, as well as team leaders for each matchup.

Class 7A

Durant (20-5) at Sarasota Riverview (19-9), 7

This is a rematch from the 7A-8 district final the Rams won 10-0 two weeks ago. In that game, the Cougars were unable to use ace Sean Hermann, who threw in the district semifinals. Hermann will be back on the mound and likely will be squaring off against Sarasota Riverview’s Karson Ligon or Pip Smalley in what could be a pitcher’s duel.  

Team leaders

CategoryDurantSarasota Riverview
Batting averageAustin Sewell .400Pip Smalley .425
RBIsDylan LaPointe 20Clay Russin 22
Home runsLuke Scolaro 2Four players tied with two
ERASean Hermann 0.45Pip Smalley 0.33
StrikeoutsSean Hermann 114Karson Ligon 61

Class 6A

Mitchell (22-6) at Bloomingdale (20-6), 7

The Mustangs, ranked No. 6 in the classification by MaxPreps, enter on a five-game win streak, including three victories by double digits. The Bulls have won three straight and 11 of their last 12. Their success is due in part to finding ways to pull through in close games. Bloomingdale is 3-1 in games decided by a run during this recent stretch. 

Team leaders

Batting averageAidan Miller .415Colby Shelton .409
RBIsAidan Miller 22Marlon Bowen 22
Home runsAidan Miller 4Colby Shelton 5
ERAJames Hill 0.64Jack Owens 0.89
StrikeoutsAshton Crowther 62David Eckaus 80

Class 2A

Bishop McLaughlin (19-7) at Northside Christian (15-12), 7

The visiting Hurricanes, winners of eight straight, are playing their best baseball of the season. Pitching and defense has been the key. Bishop McLaughin has posted three straight shutouts and allowed a combined five runs in their last six games. After a 2-4 stretch late in the regular season, the Mustangs have turned things around, winning five straight. Three of those victories were by a combined five runs. 

Team leaders

CategoryBishop McLaughlinNorthside Christian
Batting averageAugie Mojica .409Andrew Williamson .402
RBIsAndrew Duncan, Drew Knight 15Jake Cappock, Ryan Cerrone 17
Home runsNicholas Cucchi, Drew Knight 1Four players tied with 2
ERAEthan Burkhardt 1.35Shane McClanahan 2.85
StrikeoutsTanner Boccabello 55Robert Kocis 38

Winter Haven All Saints’ (16-7) at Seffner Christian (18-4), 4

This is a rematch of the 2A-8 district final the host Crusaders won 14-4 in five innings two weeks ago. In that game, Seffner Christian’s Andrew Ura went 4-for-4 with two doubles and five RBIs and teammate Spencer Boynton hit two doubles and scored two runs. 

Team leaders

CategoryAll Saints’ Seffner Christian
Batting averageRiley Kelton .456Dylan Cheeley .416
RBIsSteele Polin 24Dylan Cheeley, Connor Loomis 18
Home runsBrock Thielen 1Spencer Boynton 2
ERALucas Perez 1.43Ben Cheek 0.25
StrikeoutsLucas Perez 158Joey Jensen 75

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