Softball preview: Hernando — Feb. 18


At a glance

Coach: Kevin Bittinger

Class: 3A, District 6

Last season: 25-5

Key players: P Ava Braswell, Jr.; OF/C Sydney Cline, Sr.; OF Tiarra Edwards, Sr.; OF Aryanna Eliopoulos, Sr.; 1B/P Savannah Ellis, Sr.; C Hannah Taylor, Sr. 


Feb. 21 vs. Central, 7

Feb. 23 at Springstead, 7

Feb. 28 vs. Crystal River, 7

Mar. 2 at Nature Coast, 7

Mar. 7 vs. Weeki Wachee, 7

Mar. 8 at East Lake, 7

Mar. 9 at Citrus, 7

Mar. 15 Bay Made Tournament

Mar. 16 Bay Made Tournament

Mar. 17 Bay Made Tournament

Mar. 21 at Central, 7:30

Mar. 23 at Lecanto, 7

Mar. 31 vs. Calvary Christian, 6

Apr, 4 at Crystal River, 7

Apr. 6 vs. Springstead, 7

Apr. 11 at Weeki Wachee, 7

Apr. 12 vs. Sunlake, 7

Apr. 18 vs. Citrus, 6

Apr. 20 vs. Lecanto, 7

Apr. 25 vs. River Ridge, 7

Apr. 27 at Mitchell, 7


Hernando’s program has been a hallmark of consistency the past two seasons. 

The Leopards won 25 or more games in consecutive years, prevailed in thrilling state semifinal contests and advanced to back-to-back championship games. 

There is just one thing missing during that stretch: a state title. 

Hernando came up just short in the final in 2021 and ‘22. 

To return – and win it all – the Leopards will have to fill some holes in the lineup. 

Three key starters on offense – Solaris Genberg (.485 average last season), Jadyn Wright (.458) and Hannah Lynch (.408) – all graduated. 

Hernando will have to rely even more on a deep pitching staff in order to compensate for the loss of that offensive firepower.

The Leopards have a solid 1-2 pitching punch with Ava Braswell and Savannah Ellis. Together, they went 25-5 on the mound and combined for 178 strikeouts last season. 

And the offense still has pop, led by Hannah Taylor, who hit .484 with six homers and 51 RBIs a year ago. Ellis, Tiarra Edwards, Sydney Cline and Aryanna Eliopulos all had 22 or more RBIs.

“I’d like to think we still have it in us,” Hernando coach Kevin Bittinger said of another state title run. “But the girls are definitely going to have to step up.”