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These area athletes buck the sports specialization trend

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This is the age of specialization, where athletes play one sport at an early age and play it year-round. 

But there are a few anomalies. 

Take Hillsborough’s Erriyon Knighton, Seffner Christian’s Michael Trigg and Plant City’s Mario Williams. They divide their attention between two sports. 

Once the football season is over, those three trade in their pads and lace up their cleats or high-tops, displaying the skills that make them among the best multi-sport athletes in the bay area — and nation. 

Diversity in sports is rare at the grassroots and high school level. 

In college, it is nearly extinct.

That makes this trio stand out. 

Besides football, Knighton (track), Trigg (basketball) and Williams (baseball) also have offers from major colleges in their other sports. 

And all three plan to continue playing both at the next level. 

Meet the trio of multisport stars.

Erriyon Knighton

School: Hillsborough

Year: Junior

Sports: Football, track

College offers: Knighton has six offers in football, including Florida and FSU. The Seminoles are the program to offer in track, though Knighton has the opportunity to do both at every school that has already extended a football scholarship. 

Highlights: Rated a four-star recruit as a wide receiver according to 247 Sports’ composite list….Last year, he had seven receptions, four going for touchdowns….Last week, he won the 100 meter (10.29 seconds) and 200 meter (20.33) races at the AAU Junior Olympics to become the fastest high school sprinter in both events this year. 

Michael Trigg

School: Carrollwood Day

Year: Senior

Sports: Football, basketball

College offers: Last week, Trigg narrowed his college choices to LSU, Southern California and South Carolina. All three have offered in both sports. He has yet to make a decision. 

Highlights: Trigg is considered one of the top three tight ends in the country according to every major recruiting service….Last year, he finished with 82 catches for 1,232 yards and 16 touchdowns while leading Seffner Christian to the Class 2A state semifinals….Trigg also is one of the top basketball players in the state. Two years ago, he helped Seffner Christian reach the state final for the first time….In the offseason, Trigg transferred from Seffner Christian to Carrollwood Day. 

Mario Williams

School: Plant City

Year: Senior

Sports: Football, baseball

College offers: Williams has already committed to Oklahoma. He plans to play both sports with the Sooners. Highlights: Williams was rated as the top receiver in the country by ESPN and is listed as a five-star recruit by Rivals….As a wideout, Williams has put up impressive numbers, gaining more than 700 yards and recording at least nine touchdown receptions in each of his first three seasons with the Raiders. Better still, he did that while catching passes from two different starting quarterbacks….In baseball, Williams primarily plays in the outfield and helped Plant City win a state title in 2019….In three years as a varsity, Williams has steadily improved as a hitter. This past season was his best yet with a .316 average to go along with five RBIs and a homer in an abbreviated seven-game schedule….Williams also pitches. His role on the mound is expected to increase if he decides to stay for his entire senior year rather than graduate early.

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Baseball

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

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Class 7A

For the full playoff bracket click here

Scoreboard

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.

Scoreboard

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.

Scoreboard

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

Scoreboard

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

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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

CategoryMitchellBloomingdale
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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Baseball: Region semifinal recap (5A-3A)

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Class 5A

For the full playoff bracket click here.

Scoreboard

Jefferson 3, Jesuit 2

Osceola 3, Island Coast 2

Land O’ Lakes-Ocala Vanguard (postponed until Wednesday)

Prime time performers

1B/P Corey Braun, Sr., Osceola: Went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI in a win over Island Coast. 

OF BJ Graham, Sr., Jesuit: Finished 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run scored in a loss to Jefferson. 

P/INF Matthew Johnson, Sr., Jefferson: Lasted six innings, allowing five hits and two earned runs while striking out 10 in a win over Jesuit. 

UTIL/P Caiden O’Brien, Jr., Osceola: Ended up 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run scored in a win over Island Coast. 

INF/P Jayden Vasquez, So., Jefferson: Went 2-for-4 in a win over Jesuit. 

Up next (May 19 region final)

Jefferson vs. Ocala Vanguard-Land O’ Lakes winner, 7

Class 4A

For the full playoff bracket click here.

Scoreboard

Nature Coast 3, Rockledge 2

Dunedin 7, Wesley Chapel 3

Prime time performers

P/1B Trey Beard, So., Dunedin: Lasted 3 ⅔ innings on the mound, allowing three hits and one earned run while striking out three in a win over Wesley Chapel. 

OF/P Austin Coultas, Sr., Wesley Chapel: Had a double and a two-run homer in a loss to Dunedin.  

OF/P Justin Montanez, Sr., Nature Coast: Threw six innings, allowing two unearned runs and recording five strikeouts in a win over Rockledge. 

SS/P Zeth Rodriguez, Sr., Nature Coast: Went 2-for-4 with two RBIs in a win over Rockledge. 

Up next (May 19 region final)

Orlando Bishop Moore at Nature Coast, 7

Cape Coral Mariner at Dunedin, 7

Class 3A

For the full playoff bracket click here.

Scoreboard

Calvary Christian 14, Lakeland Christian 8

Prime time performers

C/1B/OF Gunnett Carlson, Jr., Berkeley Prep: Led the Buccaneers by going 2-for-2 with five RBIs in a win over Lakeland Christian. 

C/1B/OF Knox Meier, Sr., Berkeley Prep: Was perfect at the plate, going 4-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored in a win over Lakeland Christian. 

Up next (May 19 region final)

Orlando First Academy at Berkeley Prep. 7

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