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Softball: Tuesday’s region semifinal breakdown

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The softball playoffs continue with Tuesday’s region semifinal games. Admission is $7.  Here is the schedule with outlooks for each area game, as well as team leaders for each matchup.

Class 7A

Newsome (26-2) at Lakewood Ranch (25-1), 7

This is more like a state championship game. After all, both teams are ranked among the top three in the classification, the top five overall in the state and the top 12 nationally by MaxPreps. They met in the 7A-12 district final. The top-ranked Mustangs handed the Wolves their only loss of the season. Newsome rebounded by beating Palm Harbor University 7-6 in last week’s region quarterfinals. Trailing 6-3, the Wolves rallied with three runs in the fifth inning to tie it and  the winning run in the seventh to advance to the region semifinals and set up the rematch. Karley Shelton and Katy Bradbourne each homered and Samantha Walz scored two runs, including the winner in the seventh.  

Team leaders

CategoryNewsomeLakewood Ranch
Batting averageJadeyn Ruszkowski .522Cassidy McLellan .517
RBIsKarley Shelton 43Ella Coiner, Cassidy McLellan 31
Home runsKarley Shelton 12Ella Coiner, Cassidy McLellan 6
ERAMaria Brooks 0.55Olivia Laney 0.63
StrikeoutsKelsey Winters 171Olivia Laney 125

Class 6A

Sunlake (10-8) at Mitchell (20-6), 7

This is the third time the teams have met this season. The Mustangs won the previous two in convincing fashion, outscoring the Seahawks by a combined 19-3 in both contests. The last meeting, Mitchell jumped out to a 6-0 lead and cruised to a 6-1 victory in the 6A-10 district final. Vanessa Neptune led the Mustangs by going 2-for-3 with a double, three RBIs and two runs scored.  

Team leaders

CategorySunlakeMitchell
Batting averageKendra Falby .679Sydney Fowler .427
RBIsLarken Maseda 20Vanessa Neptune 23
Home runsLarken Maseda, Bella Sanchez 1Kinnah Kreidler 3
ERAMikayla Hoschak 3.50Ashley Altman 1.88
StrikeoutsMikayla Hoschak 66Sydney Fowler 99

Durant (25-3) at Bartow (17-2), 7:30

The Cougars are a combined 23-2 the past two seasons and enter the region semifinals on a nine-game win streak. That success is due in large part to an offense that is averaging 11 runs per game this year. Now comes the tough part. Durant faces the Yellow Jackets, who are ranked No. 2 in the classification and No. 4 overall in the state by MaxPreps. 

Team leaders

CategoryDurant Bartow
Batting averageShelby Allen .579Katelynn Oxley .402
RBIsEmily Smith 30Morgan Grubb 25
Home runsBricelyn Bedenbaugh, Emily Smith 4Morgan Grubb 5
ERAHaleigh Thomas 1.83Katelynn Oxley 0.75
StrikeoutsHaleigh Thomas 92Katelynn Oxley 281

Class 5A

Pasco (7-8)  at Auburndale (21-3), 7

After starting 2-6, the Pirates have won five of their last seven games, including victories over Wesley Chapel and Land O’ Lakes in the regular season and over Sumner in last week’s region quarterfinals. Mariah Bennett, Cat Durden and Kelsey Kadlub each had two hits against the Stingrays. The Bloodhounds, ranked No. 2 in the classification, have allowed just 22 runs all season. 

Team leaders

CategoryPascoAuburndale
Batting averageCat Durden .429Kassidy Pontbriant .431
RBIsKelsey Kadlub 16Johnkiria Bland 22
Home runsKelsey Kadlub 3Kassidy Pontbriant 3
ERALaci Carter 4.08Gena Stutz 0.59
StrikeoutsLaci Carter 32Gena Stutz 127

Land O’ Lakes (21-7) at River Ridge (22-5), 7

This is the third meeting between the rivals. The Royal Knights won the previous two, including a 5-3, nine-inning thriller in the 5A-5 district final. In that game, Katey Hauschen hit a walkoff, two-run homer. Both dominated their region quarterfinal games to set up another matchup. River Ridge beat Osceola 10-3 and Land O’ Lakes blanked Seminole 8-0. 

Team leaders

CategoryLand O’ LakesRiver Ridge
Batting averageNehanda Lewis .479Brooke Blankenship .556
RBIsNehanda Lewis 38Sophie Johnson 33
Home runsNehanda Lewis, Hannah Purcell 3Brooke Blankenship, Sophie Johnson 6
ERAMia Fields 1.64Jordan Sheets 1.68
StrikeoutsMia Fields 53Victoria Nearing 86

Class 4A

Wesley Chapel (13-13) at Hernando (23-4), 7

The host Leopards won the previous two matchups this season, beating the Wildcats 6-5 in eight innings two months ago and 9-0 in the 4A-9 district title game two weeks ago. Hernando reached double digits in hits in both games. The Wildcats have a powerful offense, too. They scored 12 runs to upset Nature Coast in the 4A-9 semifinals and 15 in a win over Dunedin in last week’s region quarterfinals. 

Team leaders

CategoryWesley ChapelHernando
Batting averageAshley Garrison .478Solaris Genberg .471
RBIsAshley Garrison 30Olivia Townsend 36
Home runsKadence Means 6Olivia Townsend 5
ERAGabriella Gonzalez-Villegas 3.80Ava Braswell 1.52
StrikeoutsMakenna Rice 40Ava Braswell 65

Robinson (23-4) at Lake Region (17-11), 7:30

Both teams are ranked among the top six in the classification by MaxPreps (the Thunder are No. 6 and the Knights are No. 4). Robinson has won 12 of its past 13 games. The offense is a big reason for that success. The Knights have reached double digits in runs in nine of those games. 

Team leaders

CategoryRobinsonLake Region
Batting averageJordan Stephens .544Raelyn Roland .420
RBIsDestiny DeHoyos 43Kaley Fail 19
Home runsDestiny DeHoyos 10Raelyn Roland 3
ERAAlyssa Boorom 2.60Alex Wright 1.58
StrikeoutsOlivia Van Zandt 66Alex Wright 94

Class 3A

Cypress Creek (16-5) at Lakeland McKeel Academy (19-7), 4:30

The big matchup will be Coyotes pitcher Hailey Vazquez, who has a 1.20 ERA and 165 strikeouts this season, going up against a Wildcats offense that is averaging more than nine runs per game and has scored a combined 41 runs in the last three contests. 

Team leaders

CategoryCypress CreekMcKeel Academy
Batting averageMandy Schwartz .531Charli Warren .559
RBIs Mandy Schwartz 26Kyndal Cornelius 44
Home runsMandy Schwartz 11Kerissa Howell 5
ERAHaley Vazquez 1.20Annalyse Torres 3.68
StrikeoutsHaley Vazquez 165Skyler Hodges 116

Calvary Christian (21-5) at Academy of the Holy Names (19-5), 7

This has turned into one of the most competitive rivalries in the area. The teams met three times already this season. The Jaguars hold a 3-2 in the series so far this season, though both wins were decided by a run, including a walkoff, sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh in the 3A-11 district final two weeks ago. 

Team leaders

CategoryCalvary ChristianAcademy of the Holy Names
Batting averageLeah Jarnac .642Rachael Petrarca .500
RBIsLeah Jarnac 37Camryn Feast, Annabelle Sardja 19
Home runsLeah Jarnac 5Rachael Petrarca 2
ERAMalia Connelly 2.12Keala Hollenkamp 1.47
StrikeoutsMalia Connelly 62Annabelle Sardja 73

Class 2A

Holy Trinity Episcopal (13-9) at Seffner Christian (17-6), 5

The Crusaders have on a roll, winning seven straight and 11 of their last 12. Defense and pitching are big factors in Seffner Christian posting shutouts in the last four games. Keeping the Tigers off the scoreboard could be tough considering they are averaging more than 10 runs per game. 

Team leaders

CategoryHoly TrinitySeffner Christian
Batting averageShea Dimmer .612Anna Burnside .492
RBIsShea Dimmer 41Amber Rodriguez 26
Home runsShea Dimmer 10Shannon Kendall 3
ERAShea Dimmer 3.48Shannon Kendall 3.03
StrikeoutsCali Perillo 67Shannon Kendall 113

Academy at the Lakes (17-4) at Canterbury (19-9), 6

This is the fifth straight time the teams have met in the region semifinals. The Crusaders won the first three en route to making the state semifinals. The Wildcats won the last two during their state championship seasons (2018-19). Canterbury enters as the No. 1 ranked team in the classification according to MaxPreps. 

Team leaders

CategoryAcademy at the LakesCanterbury
Batting averageMolly Blackwood .444Payton Cushman .438
RBIsMolly Blackwood 23Morgen Talley 36
Home runsMolly Blackwood, Juliana Ries 1Morgen Talley 12
ERAKatie Ferguson 2.62Mackenzie Bergstrom 2.18
StrikeoutsSydney Klein 59Morgen Talley 109

General

PCAC baseball teams announced

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Here are the Pinellas County Athletic Conference baseball teams. The players are from public schools in the county. The selections were made by the coaches. 

North division

First team

P Garrett Moran, Jr., Palm Harbor University

P Cooper Consiglio, So., East Lake

P Noah Palmese, Sr., Seminole

C Oliver Hahn, Sr., Seminole

IF Jake Mummau, Sr., Palm Harbor University

IF Sammy Mummau, So., Palm Harbor University

IF Dominic Merrer, Jr., East Lake

IF Anton Ortega, Sr, Clearwater

IF Aaron Deegan, Sr., Seminole

OF Nelson Taylor, Sr., Clearwater

OF Marcus Brodil, Sr., Dunedin

OF Corey Moore, Fr., Clearwater

OF Jean Ovalles, Sr., Seminole

UTIL David Stokely, Sr., Tarpon Springs

DH Marco Dinges, Sr., East Lake

Second team

P Jeremy Devin, Sr., East Lake

P Cody Little, Sr., Seminole

P Jacob Thomas, So., Clearwater

C Chase Ciatto, Sr., Clearwater

IF Dylan Silverstein, Sr., Seminole

IF Nolen Ford, Sr., Palm Harbor University

IF Cody Potts, Sr., Clearwater

IF Jacob Riegel, So., Palm Harbor University

IF Max Oliveira, Jr., Tarpon Springs

OF Sean Smith, East Lake

OF Trey Beard, So., Dunedin

OF Victor Gayson, Jr., Tarpon Springs

OF Steven Lessard, Sr., Palm Harbor University

UTIL Colin Sengkhounmany, Jr., East Lake

DH Tyler Strickland, Sr., Seminole

South division

First team

P Sean Melanson, Sr., Northeast

P Corey Braun, Sr., Osceola

P Ryan Cleary, Sr., Pinellas Park

C Jordan Cook, Sr., Pinellas Park

IF Torry Jones, Sr., Lakewood

IF Eddie Daraphet, Sr., Osceola

IF Nate Cannizzaro, Sr., Northeast

IF Amai Rivera Martinez, Jr., Northeast

IF Ryan Willis, Sr., Northeast

OF David Martinez, Sr., Lakewood

OF Michael Doyle, Sr., Osceola

OF Jacob Green, Jr., Hollins

OF Brad Myers, Sr., Northeast

UTIL Ryland Bozenhard, So., Hollins

DH Bobby Lavely, Sr., Boca Ciega

Second team

P Jackson Fagan, Jr., Lakewood

P Kenny Robinson, So., Hollins

C Atticus Huffstutler, Fr., Lakewood

IF Jeremiah Morris, Sr., Lakewood

IF Josh Castellini, Fr., Hollins

IF Dallas Webb, Jr., Hollins

IF Cayden Evans, Jr., Northeast

IF Tyler Stocksdale, Jr., Boca Ciega

OF Anthony Perkins, Sr., Lakewood

OF Hector Laporte, Sr., Hollins

OF Connor Dugan, Jr., Boca Ciega

OF Luke Percifield, Jr., Osceola

UTIL Caiden O’Brien, Jr., Osceola

DH Keenan Haugabrok, Sr., Northeast

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College Softball

Shannon Saile has spotlight in history-making softball game

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Former Land O’ Lakes standout Shannon Saile had the spotlight when she took the mound in Saturday’s history-making moment in college softball. 

Saile, a redshirt senior, was named the starting pitcher for Oklahoma in game two of its Super Regional series against Washington. The game is being aired on ABC, the first time a college softball game has appeared on national television. 

A star initially at Florida International, Saile transferred to Oklahoma, where she compiled a combined 18-4 record and 215 strikeouts the past two seasons.

She decided to return to the Sooners once last season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

To prepare, Saile works out with former Land O’ Lakes pitcher Callie Turner, now at Tennessee. They throw off a makeshift mound in an area neighborhood designed by Gators assistant coach Vinny Guarracino. The rubber is made from pieces of an old tire. Home plate is assembled from wood. 

There are other workout items Saile has at her disposal, all courtesy of the Sooners. She has body bands, medicine balls and jump ropes. Oklahoma even sent her a diamond kinetic ball that can track the velocity, as well as the spin rate and direction, on each pitch. 

Saile (featured photo above courtesy of OU Athletics) spent the summer playing for the Bradenton Slice in the seven-team FGCL, the first league of its kind for college softball players. She was dominant, finishing first in strikeouts and third in ERA. 

This season, Saile is 16-0 with a 1.67 ERA and 116 strikeouts entering the second game of the Washington series. 

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Baseball

Baseball: CCC hires former Rays pitcher Dan Wheeler

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For the first time in nearly four decades, Clearwater Central Catholic has a new baseball coach. 

On Friday, the school announced via social media the hiring of former Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Dan Wheeler to take over the program. Wheeler replaces Todd Vaughan, who stepped down three weeks ago after coaching the Marauders for 33 seasons. 

Wheeler, 43, spent 14 seasons at the major league level, including two stints (1999-2001, 2007-10) with Tampa Bay. He was drafted by the Devil Rays, where he spent three seasons before playing for the Mets (2003-04) and Astros (2004-07), where he became a premier set-up man. 

In 2007, Wheeler started his second stint with the Rays and was a member of the club’s 2008 World Series team. He finished his career with the Red Sox (2011) and Indians (2012). 

For the past two seasons, Wheeler was an assistant at CCC. He also has helped out with the Kangaroo Court/Top Tier club baseball programs. The Marauders finished 3-18 this past season.

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