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Plant’s Kendal Cheesman named Gatorade state player of the year

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The awards continue to pile up for Kendal Cheesman. 

After leading Plant’s girls basketball team to its first state title two months ago, Cheesman was named the Class 7A player of the year by the Florida Dairy Farmers Association and the state player of the year by MaxPreps. 

Now, the Vanderbilt signee can add the Gatorade Florida girls basketball player of the year to the list. 

The Panthers senior forward averaged 17.9 points and 9.7 rebounds per game this past season. In the 7A final, she scored 24 points and grabbed 18 rebounds to help Plant knock off defending champion Miami, the team that beat the Panthers in last year’s title game.

Cheesman also is president of student government and has volunteered locally as part of multiple community service initiatives in association with her school’s National Honor Society. In addition, she has donated her time to Best Buddies and as a youth basketball coach. 

This is the first time an area has been named the Gatorade state player of the year since Lakewood’s Destanni Henderson during the 2018-18 season. 

Through Gatorade’s “Play it Forward” campaign, Cheesman has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of her choosing. Cheesman also is eligible to submit a 30-second video explaining why the organization she chose is deserving of one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants, which will be announced throughout the year.

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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