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Softball: Region final breakdown

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

Class 6A

Mitchell (21-6) at Venice (24-4), 7

Both teams are ranked among the top eight in the classification by MaxPreps (the Mustangs are No. 7 and the Indians are No. 8). Mitchell, which has won nine straight, is playing in the region final for just the second time in school history. Venice handed national powerhouse Lakewood Ranch its only loss of the season. Two of the Indians’ four losses were by a run in extra innings. 

Team leaders

CategoryMitchellVenice
Batting averageSydney Fowler .440Kayleigh Roper .506
RBIsVanessa Neptune 24Kayleigh Roper 44
Home runsKinnah Kreidler 3Kayleigh Roper 13
ERAAshley Altman 1.88Micaela Hartman 2.16
StrikeoutsSydney Fowler 100Karsyn Rutherford 63

Viera (16-6) at Durant (18-2), 7

Since taking over in 2018, Cougars coach Olivia Cuellar has led the program to a 40-8 overall record. In the region semifinals, Durant had perhaps its biggest win during that span, beating powerhouse Bartow on the road in extra innings to advance. Despite going 6-5 since the start of April, the Hawks have won the ones that mattered most. Each of their last three wins have come via shutouts. 

Team leaders

CategoryVieraDurant
Batting averageSylvia Burroughs .559Shelby Allen .550
RBIsSkylar Waggoner 26Emily Smith 30
Home runsJayce Jackson 7Bricelyn Bedenbaugh, Emily Smith 4
ERASkylar Waggoner 1.50Haleigh Thomas 1.74
StrikeoutsSkylar Waggoner 184Haleigh Thomas 97

Class 5A

Land O’ Lakes (22-7) at Palmetto (14-7), 7

This is the first time the Gators advanced to the region final since 2018 when the program made the last of their three straight state semifinal appearances. Much like those teams, defense and pitching have been the difference. Land O’ Lakes has allowed just one run so far in the postseason. The Tigers have won five straight, including four each by a run. 

Team leaders

CategoryLand O’ LakesPalmetto
Batting averageNehanda Lewis .480Courtney Waldo .507
RBIsNehanda Lewis 38Courtney Waldo, Whitney Waldo 19
Home runsNehanda Lewis, Hannah Purcell 3Whitney Waldo 3
ERAMia Fields 1.58Desiree Aitken 1.97
StrikeoutsMia Fields 56Desiree Aitken 50

Class 4A

Hernando (24-4) at Lake Region (18-11), 7

The Leopards have been dominant, outscoring foes by a combined 64-5 during their current five-game win streak. In Tuesday’s region final, Hernando jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the first two innings en route to a 14-2 victory over Wesley Chapel. Hannah Lynch went 3-for-4 with a triple, an RBI and three runs scored. The Thunder have won five straight, including a 4-1 victory over Robinson in the region semifinals. 

Team leaders

CategoryHernandoLake Region
Batting averageSolaris Genberg .493Raelyn Roland .413
RBIsOlivia Townsend 37Kaley Fail 20
Home runsOlivia Townsend 5Raelyn Roland 3
ERAAva Braswell 1.59Alex Wright 1.54
StrikeoutsAva Braswell 65Alex Wright 97

Class 3A 

Lakeland McKeel Academy (20-7) at Academy of the Holy Names (16-5), 7

The Jaguars have won 11 straight, including a pair of walk off victories against rival Calvary Christian, the latest coming in Tuesday’s region semifinals. Annabelle Sardja has thrown consecutive shutouts and has allowed a combined five hits so far in the playoffs. After winning three straight slugfests, the Wildcats showed they can prevail in tight, low-scoring games, too, beating Cypress Creek 3-0 in the region semifinals.  

Team leaders

CategoryMcKeel AcademyAcademy of the Holy Names
Batting averageCharli Warren .552Rachael Petrarca .485
RBIsKyndal Cornelius 44Annabelle Sardja 20
Home runsKerissa Howell 5Rachael Petrarca 2
ERAAnnalyse Torres 3.43Keala Hollenkamp 1.47
StrikeoutsSkyler Hodges 116Annabelle Sardja 78

Class 2A 

Canterbury (20-9) at Fort Myers Evangelical Christian (21-4), 5

Since the district two weeks ago, the Crusaders have demolished the competition in 2A, winning their past four by a combined 47-2. Morgen Talley hit two homers in Tuesday’s region semifinal win over Academy at the Lakes and now has 14 on the season, tied with one another for the second-most in the state. 

Team leaders

CategoryCanterburyEvangelical Christian
Batting averagePayton Cushman .444Kylie Shaw .638
RBIsMorgen Talley 42Zoe Yzaguirre 37
Home runsMorgen Talley 14Zoe Yzaguirre 6
ERAMackenzie Bergstrom 2.08Zoe Yzaguirre 1.93
StrikeoutsMorgen Talley 109Zoe Yzaguirre 212

Seffner Christian (18-6) at Mount Dora (19-8), 7

The Crusaders, ranked No. 8 in the classification by MaxPreps, are one away from their first state semifinal appearance. Shannon Kendall, the team’s ace, has allowed just two runs in her last four starts. She also is showing some power at the plate with homers in three of the last four games, including both postseason contests. The Bulldogs, ranked No. 4 in the classification, have won five straight, all by four or more runs. 

Team leaders

CategorySeffner ChristianMount Dora
Batting averageAnna Burnside .493Leah Marshall .483
RBIsAmber Rodriguez 26Leah Marshall 38
Home runsShannon Kendall 4Emily Allen 10
ERAShannon Kendall 2.94Wynter Craft 2.26
StrikeoutsShannon Kendall 121Leah Marshall 95

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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