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Thursday sports schedule

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What to watch

Baseball

Nature Coast (6-0) at Land O’ Lakes (4-0), 7

Two of the top teams on the North Suncoast square off in what could be a pitchers’ duel. The host Gators have allowed a combined three runs all season. The Sharks have given up a combined six runs.  

Boys basketball state semifinals

Class 5A (at Lakeland’s RP Funding Center)

Jesuit (25-4) vs. Pembroke Pines Charter (11-3), 4

The Tigers, who are in the state semifinals for the first time since 2016, do not mind taking another road trip in the postseason. After all, Jesuit is undefeated away from home (10-0) this season, including three straight in the postseason. This will be the Tigers’ toughest test in the playoffs. The Jaguars are ranked first in 5A and ninth overall in the state by MaxPreps. 

Boys soccer state final

Class 3A (at DeLand’s Spec Martin Stadium)

Tampa Catholic (24-2) vs. Miami Westminster Christian (11-3-2), 7

The Crusaders, ranked first in 3A, fifth overall in the state and eighth nationally by MaxPreps, are playing in the state final for the second straight season. They have a tough matchup against the Warriors, who are ranked second in 3A, seventh overall in the state and 13th nationally.  

Softball

Mitchell (4-2) at River Ridge (4-0), 7

Both teams are averaging nearly eight runs per game, so it will be up to the pitchers and defenses to keep this one from turning into a slugfest. 

The schedules

Baseball

Gibbs at Shorecrest, 4

Northside Christian at Zephyrhills Christian, 4

Bell Creek Academy at Hernando Christian, 4

Boca Ciega at Tampa Prep, 5

Weeki Wachee at Seven Rivers Christian, 6

Cambridge Christian at Bayshore Christian, 6

Northeast at Bradenton Southeast, 6:30

Indian Rocks Christian at Dunedin, 6:30

Hollins at St. Petersburg Catholic, 7

Armwood at East Bay, 7

Gaither at Steinbrenner, 7

Sunlake at Zephyrhills, 7

Nature Coast at Land O’ Lakes, 7

Brooks DeBartolo at Academy at the Lakes, 7

Calvary Christian at Bishop McLaughlin, 7

Strawberry Crest at Plant City, 7

South Sumter at Central, 7

Plant at Wharton, 7

Hillsborough at Lennard, 7

Pasco at Chamberlain, 7

River Ridge at Freedom, 7

Newsome at Bloomingdale, 7

Middleton at Auburndale, 7

Boys basketball state semifinals

Class 5A (at Lakeland’s RP Funding Center)

Jesuit vs. Pembroke Pines Charter, 4

Boys soccer state final

Class 3A (at DeLand’s Spec Martin Stadium)

Tampa Catholic vs. Miami Westminster Christian, 7

Softball

Shorecrest at Lakeside Christian, 3:30

Clearwater at Clearwater Central Catholic, 4

Cambridge Christian at Lakeland Santa Fe Catholic, 4

Cypress Creek at Brooks DeBartolo, 4:30

Berkeley Prep at Hudson, 5

Keswick Christian at Indian Rocks Christian, 6

Hernando Christian at Weeki Wachee, 6

St. Petersburg at Hollins, 7

Tarpon Springs at Gibbs, 7

Wharton at Steinbrenner, 7

Nature Coast at Wiregrass Ranch, 7

Fivay at Zephyrhills, 7

Mitchell at River Ridge, 7

Hillsborough at Lennard, 7

Blake at Jefferson, 7

Lakewood at Pinellas Park, 7

Alonso at Plant, 7

Armwood at Leto, 7

Largo at Seminole, 7

Plant City at East Bay, 7

Chamberlain at Middleton, 7

Gaither at Bloomingdale, 7

Sickles at Freedom, 7

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Baseball

Time to vote: Baseball player of the week

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Here are the nominees for the baseball player of the week. Voting lasts through Wednesday. 

P/1B Trey Beard, So., Dunedin: Went 2-for-3  with two RBIs in a win over CypressCreek. 

P/OF Tanner Boccabello, Sr., Bishop McLaughlin: Threw 6 ⅔ scoreless innings, allowing six hits and recording eight strikeouts in a win over Keswick Christian. 

OF Marlon Bowen, Sr., Bloomingdale: Went 2-for-3 with a homer and four RBIs in a win over Gaither.

P Ashton Crowther, Jr., Mitchell: Threw five scoreless innings, allowing one hit while striking out eight in a 6A region quarterfinal win over St. Petersburg. 

2B/SS Eli Daraphet, Fr., Osceola: Went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs in a 5A region quarterfinal win over Fort Myers. 

P Brian Holiday, Sr., Land O’ Lakes: Threw a complete-game shutout, allowing one hit and one walk while striking out 18 in a win over Lake Minneola.

INF Nick Rodriguez, Sr., Jesuit: Was perfect at the plate, going 4-for-4 with a double, three RBIs and two runs scored in a win over Brandon. 

Pick the baseball player of the week
Pick the baseball player of the week
Pick the baseball player of the week

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Baseball

Baseball: Tuesday’s region semifinal breakdown (5A-3A)

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The baseball playoffs continue Tuesday with region semifinal games in Classes 5A-3A. Admission is $7. Here is the schedule with outlooks for each area game, as well as team leaders for each matchup.

Class 5A

Jefferson (17-10) at Jesuit (26-2), 7

These teams know each other well. After all, this is their fifth meeting this season. The Tigers, ranked No. 1 in the classification, No. 2 statewide and No. 5 nationally by MaxPreps, have won each of the previous four matchups by three or more runs, including a 10-3 victory in the 5A-7 district final two weeks ago. 

Team leaders

CategoryJeffersonJesuit
Batting averageMatthew Johnson .383Bradke Lohry .415
RBIsJavier James 16Cole Russo 27
Home runsJaiden Duarte 4Jake Kulikowski 5
ERACarson Moore 1.94Kris Sosnowski 0.17
StrikeoutsJavier James 40Dominic Castellano 81

Island Coast (21-7) at Osceola (19-6), 7

The host Warriors have won 11 of their last 13 games. The two losses (against Mitchell and Northeast) were each decided by a run. In the region quarterfinals, Osceola beat Fort Myers 5-3 in eight innings. Eli Daraphet and Luke Percifield each had three hits and Andrew Kopleman and CJ Thornton each had two. The Gators, ranked No. 8 in the classification by MaxPreps, advanced with 4-3, nine-inning win over Northeast in the quarterfinals. 

Team leaders

CategoryIsland CoastOsceola
Batting averageAiden Cecil .353Michael Doyle .387
RBIsThree players tied with 18CJ Thornton 15
Home runsJake Mueller 3Eddie Daraphet 2
ERAKevin Rodriguez 1.19Bryce Roth 0.68
StrikeoutsKevin Rodriguez 101Corey Braun 48

Land O’ Lakes (18-8) at Ocala Vanguard (16-10), 7

The Gators are in the region semifinals for the first time since 2000. Brian Holiday played a big role in helping Land O’ Lakes end that drought. The senior pitcher threw a complete-game shutout, allowing one hit and one walk while striking out 18 in a region quarterfinal win over Lake Minneola. Though the Knights are 3-4 in their last seven games, they won the game that mattered most, beating River Ridge 5-2 in last week’s quarterfinals. 

Team leaders

CategoryLand O’ LakesVanguard
Batting averageTim Dunn .420Adam Oxendine .350
RBIsDaniel Busot 24Brian Long 20
Home runsDaniel Busot 2Brian Long 1
ERABrian Holiday 0.86Jake Tompkins 1.45
StrikeoutsBrian Holiday 133Brian Long 62

Class 4A

Nature Coast (22-4) at Rockledge (24-2), 7

Both teams are ranked among the top nine in the classification by MaxPreps (the Sharks are No. 9 and the Raiders are No. 5). Nature Coast has won five of its past six, the lone loss coming by a run against Bishop McLaughlin in the regular season finale. Rockledge is on a 15-game win streak, including a 1-0 victory over Hernando in the region quarterfinals. 

Team leaders

CategoryNature CoastRockledge
Batting averageJustin Montanez .422Aaron Saltsman .471
RBIsZeth Rodriguez 24Aaron Saltsman 20
Home runsZeth Rodriguez 6Aaron Saltsman 4
ERAJustin Montanez 1.12Karl Hartman 0.34
StrikeoutsAnthony Anselmo 68Karl Hartman 86

Dunedin (16-11) at Wesley Chapel (19-6), 7

The host Wildcats are in the region semifinals for the first time 2015. They did it by beating Tarpon Springs 6-2 in last week’s region quarterfinals. Austin Coultas and Dylan Chana each had two hits and Zachary Showalter allowed two runs and recorded nine strikeouts. The Falcons are making their sixth straight region semifinal appearance. Dunedin has been dominant during its current seven-game win streak, outscoring foes by a combined 70-9. 

Team leaders

CategoryDunedinWesley Chapel
Batting averageMarcus Brodil .423Austin Coultas .394
RBIsTrey Beard 22Josh Wollerman 25
Home runsDylan Oester 2Three players tied with
ERATrey Beard 1.75Zachary Showalter 0.73
StrikeoutsTrey Beard 59Ethan Chana 68

Class 3A

Lakeland Christian (26-1) at Berkeley Prep (23-4), 7

Both teams are ranked among the top five in the classification (the Buccaneers are No. 5 and the Vikings are No. 1). Expect a close, low-scoring game. Berkeley Prep has allowed less than three runs per game. Lakeland Christian has allowed about a run per game. 

Team leaders

CategoryLakeland ChristianBerkeley Prep
Batting averageTy Evans .473
RBIsTy Evans 34
Home runsReese Collins, Brody Donay 4
ERANathan Shane 0.71
StrikeoutsSawyer Toney 71

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Baseball

The PTP baseball players of the week

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The fans’ pick

P Trenton Hawks, Jr., River Ridge

The two-sport star’s right arm has been a big reason the Royal Knights made the playoffs in football and baseball this season. 

As a quarterback, Hawks threw for more than 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns. 

In baseball, he became one of River Ridge’s most dependable starters on the mound.

Two weeks ago, Hawks threw a four-hit shutout with seven strikeouts in a 5A-6 district semifinal win over Freedom, then went 3-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored in a championship game win over Land O’ Lakes to take home the title.

Fans took notice. Hawks received more than 35 percent of the votes (218) to beat out Northeast’s Sean Melanson, who had more than 32 percent (203 votes). 

The PTP pick

P Sean Melanson, Sr., Northeast: Threw a one-hit shutout with seven strikeouts in a 5A-9 district semifinal win over Seminole that secured a playoff and eventually help the Vikings take home the title.   

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