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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

Baseball

Bloomingdale’s Kris Wilken named 6A coach of the year

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Bloomingdale’s Kris Wilken, who guided the school’s baseball program to its first state title, was named the Class 6A coach of the year by the Florida Dairy Farmers. 

Wilken, who has coached the Bulls for 14 seasons, has a 221-123 overall record. He helped Bloomingdale reach the state semifinals in 2014. 

This season, everything came together at the right time. The Bulls found the wherewithal to survive a series of close, low-scoring games en route to a state title. Three of Bloomingdale’s five postseason games were decided by a run. 

The winners in each classification were selected through voting from a statewide panel of baseball coaches and media representatives. They are now eligible to be named the overall winner in the state, which will go through another round of voting and likely be announced next week. 

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Baseball

Baseball: Durant’s Sean Hermann named 7A state player of the year

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Sean Hermann, who led Durant to the state semifinals thanks to his performance on the mound this season, was named the Class 7A player of the year by the Florida Dairy Farmers. 

The USF signee was efficient, going 9-0 with a .036 ERA and recording 135 strikeouts while walking just 13 batters in 78 innings. Those numbers were a big reason the Cougars reached the state semifinals for the first time since 2016. 

In fact, Hermann threw at least four innings in every postseason game for Durant. In the 7A state semifinals, he threw 7 ⅓ scoreless innings, allowing four hits and striking out nine. 

The winners in each classification were selected through voting from a statewide panel of baseball coaches and media representatives. They are now eligible to be named the overall winner in the state, which will go through another round of voting and likely be announced next week. 

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Baseball

Gulf Coast Eight baseball selections announced

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Here is the Gulf Coast Eight baseball team. The players are from two counties, Hernando and Citrus. The selections were made by the coaches.

Player of the year: P/OF Riley Fisher, Sr., Hernando

Coach of the year: Brandon DeRespiris, Nature Coast

First team

P Justin Gay, Sr., Central

P Cris Walley, So., Citrus

C Dylan Schatzel, Sr., Hernando

IF Luke Malmberg, Jr., Lecanto

IF Dylan DuPhily, Sr., Hernando

IF Jaxen Gates, So., Nature Coast

IF Zeth Rodriguez, Sr., Nature Coast

OF Quinn Lenamon, So., Springstead

OF Levi Haines, Sr., Weeki Wachee

OF Justin Montanez, Sr., Nature Coast

UTIL Nick Talpa, Sr., Hernando

UTIL Collin Nelson, Sr., Nature Coast

Honorable mention

Central: Brandon Leininger, Taylor Mulock; Citrus: Blake Clark, Tim Flippen; Crystal River: Riley Houle, Jeff Jones; Hernando: Jordan Laing, Anthony Talpa; Lecanto: Evan Silverthorn, Nick Sloane; Nature Coast: Brian Erb, Tyler Renew; Springstead: Owen Andress, Marcus Opolski-Roe; Weeki Wachee: Blake Byrne, Anthony Scarangella. 

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