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Softball: Friday’s Class 6A state final preview

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Softball state finals

All games at Legends Way Ballfields in Clermont. Admission is $9 in advance, $12 on the day of the event. Parking is $10 for cars, $25 for buses. 

Land O’ Lakes (24-7) vs. Fort Myers (19-6), 7

How they got here: Land O’ Lakes d. Seminole 8-0, d. River Ridge 3-1, d. Palmetto 6-3, d. Pace 5-4. Fort Myers d. Immokalee 10-8, d. Naples 13-3, d. Pembroke Pines Charter 3-2, d. Bayside 4-1. 

Outlook: Though the Gators are ranked No. 2 in 5A, they had to win three tough playoff games on the road, then had to rally from a three-run seventh inning deficit to beat Pace in Thursday’s semifinal matchup. That put Land O’ Lakes in the final for the third time in the past six years. The pitching and defense have been effective. After all, the Gators have allowed two runs or less in six of their last nine games. The Green Wave, ranked No. 4 in 5A, have won six straight. Their offense is capable of putting up big numbers. Fort Myers has reached double digits in runs in 12 of its 19 victories.    

Team leaders 

CategoryLand O’ LakesFort Myers
Batting averageNehanda Lewis .476Julia Knowler .585
RBIsNehanda Lewis 39Julia Knowler 20
Home runsNehanda Lewis, Hannah Purcell 3Julia Knowler 3
ERAMia Fields 1.72Julia Knowler 1.33
StrikeoutsMia Fields 64Julia Knowler 79

Football

Football: Friday night scoreboard

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Final Tampa Bay Tech 21, Wharton 12

Final St. Petersburg Catholic 47, Bishop McLaughlin 15

Final Gibbs 50, Gulf 21

Final Countryside 28, Sunlake 7\

Final Berkeley Prep 49, New Orleans Newman 24

Final Zephyrhills Christian 30, Bradenton Christian 7

Final Boca Ciega 28, Seminole 21

Final Lakeland Christian 38, Calvary Christian 13

Final Clearwater 48, Tarpon Springs 7

Final Clearwater Central Catholic 56, Kissimmee Gateway 0

Final Northeast 21, Hollins 20

Final Sumner 14, Braden River 10

Final Legacy Charter 21, Indian Rocks Christian 14

Final Mount Dora Christian 48, Keswick Christian 0

Final Seffner Christian 62, St. Joseph Academy 16

Final Zephyrhills 35, Nature Coast 0

Final Largo 25, Sickles 7

Final Osceola 48, St. Petersburg 9

Final Steinbrenner 35, Chamberlain 21

Final Carrollwood Day 42, Cambridge Christian 7

Final Tampa Catholic 38, Winter Haven 0

Final Land O’ Lakes 36, Pasco 0

Final Jesuit 44, Blake 0

Final Armwood 41, Wiregrass Ranch 11

Final Palmetto 23, Bloomingdale 3

4th Q Alonso 52, Robinson 17

Final Plant City 31, Plant 24

Final Wesley Chapel 44, Hudson 6

Final Newsome 55, Riverview 7

Final Pinellas Park 46, Palm Harbor University 0

Final Fivay 27, Freedom 25

Final Bradenton Manatee 29, East Bay 13

Final Dunedin 48, Anclote 22

Final Spoto 46, Brandon 0

Final Durant 49, Middleton 6

Final Cypress Creek 43, Weeki Wachee 0

Final Lennard 33, Jefferson 31

Final Gaither 48, Leto 7

Final McCallie (Tenn.) 47, Clearwater Academy 14

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The Hillsborough County Football Player of the Week

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LB/S Cole Highsmith, Jr., Plant City

After becoming a starter as a sophomore last season, Cole Highsmith took on a more prominent role as one of the leaders of Plant City’s defense. 

He took on that task by making play after play. 

This season, Highsmith has recorded 73 tackles and six sacks. Those totals already surpassed what he ended up with last year. 

Against Bloomingdale two weeks ago, Highsmith had 13 tackles, two sacks and an interception to lead the Raiders to victory. 

Fans paid attention. Highsmith received 50 percent of the votes (746) in the Hillsborough County football player of the week poll to beat out Wharton’s Daveon Crouch, who had 25 percent (376 votes). 

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Thursday night football forecast

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Seffner Christian (2-3) at St. Petersburg Catholic (3-3), 7

After starting 2-0, the visiting Crusaders have lost three straight. The host Barons, meanwhile, have rebounded from a 1-2 start to win two of their last three games. 

Putnam’s prediction: St. Petersburg Catholic 30-28

Gibbs (3-3) at Tarpon Springs (3-3), 7

An important Class 5A, District 10 game for both teams not only to stay in the mix for a title but also to get above .500 for the season. 

Putnam’s prediction: Gibbs 34-21 

Clearwater (5-1) at Anclote (1-5), 7:30

The Tornadoes have won five straight and are the clear favorite to the Class 5A, District 10 title. The host Sharks are on a two-game losing streak. 

Putnam’s prediction: Clearwater 42-7

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