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Wednesday, Jul 01, 2015

Hillsborough Prep Report

A prep sports blog by Scott Purks and Nick Williams

A roundup of local sports briefs from Hillsborough County schools and area athletes.

Alonso’s Butler invited to baseball national team trials

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BY JARRETT GUTHRIETribune correspondent

Alonso High left-handed pitcher and first baseman Jordan Butler has been invited to the 40-man USA Baseball 2015 18U National Team trials.

Butler was a first-team All-Hillsborough selection by the Tampa Tribune last season after hitting .372, with 14 runs, 26 RBIs, nine doubles and two homers. He also was 5-0 on the mound with a 1.43 ERA, three saves and 52 strikeouts. Butler, a University of Florida commit, helped the Ravens claim Saladino Tournament and district titles and reach the Class 8A region tournament.

The selection to the USA Baseball 18U trials means Butler will work out this week in Cary, N.C. and the 40 players will be trimmed to 28 before traveling to Los Angeles in August, where the final roster will be cut to 20 players.

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Boys Hoops: SEBA Summer League playoffs start Monday

Published:
BY NICK WILLIAMSTribune Staff

The SEBA Summer League boys basketball playoffs begins Monday.

The single game elimination tournament will be hosted by Tampa Prep and Wharton. Every team will play Monday with the quarterfinals being played Tuesday at Tampa Prep. The semifinals and championship will be played Wednesday, also at Tampa Prep.

The schedule is as follows:

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Plant OF/P Connor Scott commits to Florida Gators

Published:
BY JARRETT GUTHRIETribune correspondent

Plant High outfielder and pitcher Connor Scott verbally committed to the University of Florida, Plant baseball coach Dennis Braun said.

Scott, a sophomore, hit .311 with 12 runs scored, 14 RBIs, six doubles and a pair of home runs as a freshman. The left-handed Scott also made seven appearances on the mound, primarily in relief. He posted a 1-2 record with a 3.18 ERA and eight strikeouts in 11 innings of work.

The Panthers’ connection with Florida is pretty strong, boasting alumni such as Preston Tucker, currently with the Houston Astros, as well as current Gators first baseman Peter Alonso.

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Tampa rowers shine at scholastic nationals

Published:
BY NICK WILLIAMSTribune staff

A number of young rowers from the Tampa Bay area performed well at the 2015 Scholastic Rowing Association’s National Championship in New Jersey on May 23.

In varsity crew, Plant’s varsity women’s eight boat (coxswain: Melissa Jassir, stroke seat: Madison Austrich, 7 seat: Elizabeth Ronnestad, 6 seat: Barbara Klavin, 5 seat: Laura Migliore, 4 seat: Rachael Beadle, 3 seat: Theresa Grandoff, 2 seat: Alexis Farmen, 1 seat: Darron Williams) finished fifth with a time of 5:07.547 while its second varsity eight boat (coxswain: Olivia Clark, stroke seat: Caroline Norton, 7 seat: Anna Spencer, 6 seat: Kiana Merk, 5 seat: Anna Ritzi, 4 seat: Laney Bussinah, 3 seat: Madeline Ringewald, 2 seat: Victoria Fidler, 1 seat: Audrey Velanovich) was national runner-up with a time of 5:12.489. The Academy of the Holy Names’ freshman quad, consisting of Mickey Carney, Catie Mofffett, Emma Heston and Julianna Wright, finished third in a personal best time of 5:46.402.

Berkeley Prep senior Julia Weber, who has signed with Duke University, finished fifth in the women’s varsity single scull with a time of 6:28.987.

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Holland named 2A player of year

Published:
BY JARRETT GUTHRIETribune correspondent

Bayshore Christian pitcher and shortstop Evan Holland was named the Class 2A Florida Dairy Farmers Player of the Year and is in the running for the title of 2015 Florida Dairy Farmers Mr. Baseball, which will be announced later this month.

“It’s a huge honor and tribute to type of kid he is, the kind of work Evan put in,” Faith Warriors coach Corey Thomas said. “No one is more deserving. Evan came to practice every day, worked incredibly hard, busted his butt and this proves that that kind of effort will be recognized.”

Holland, a senior, hit .413, scoring 27 runs, with 17 RBIs, seven doubles, three home runs and 23 stolen bases. Holland also went 3-1, with a 1.70 ERA and 52 strikeouts helping Bayshore Christian (15-5) to a state runner-up finish. He tossed 8 1/3 innings in the Class 2A state semifinals allowing just two runs (one earned) and striking out seven in a no decision. However, Holland did play a huge factor in the final outcome with a game-tying double in the 11th as the Faith Warriors rallied to top Lecanto Seven Rivers Christian 4-3.

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Spring Football: Plant welcomes new challenges in 2015

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BY NICK WILLIAMSTribune Staff

TAMPA — Plant High head football coach Rob Weiner admits his team may not always win against some of the nation’s top teams, but one thing is for sure, his group will never shy away from playing them.

After playing Venice in the preseason classic, Plant will open the season against Colquitt County in Georgia, the No. 1 ranked team in Georgia and No. 6 overall team in the nation last season.

Some may ask why would Plant, which lost so many starters from last year’s team, schedule such an opponent. The answer is simple: At Plant, the goal is always a state championship, and to Weiner, his program will benefit from playing a caliber team like Colquitt, win or lose.

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Spring Football: No shortage of talent at Jefferson

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BY NICK WILLIAMSTribune Staff

TAMPA — What is it about Jefferson and three-year starting quarterbacks?

Stephen Garcia, Quentin Williams, Deiondre Porter and now Cade Weldon.

The first three quarterbacks graduated from Jefferson with notable accolades (Williams was 2010 Mr. Football and state record holder in career passing yards and TDs). Weldon, the son of former FSU quarterback Casey Weldon, seems to be next in line.

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Boys Basketball: Slonaker steps down at Plant

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BY NICK WILLIAMSTribune staff

Plant High boys varsity basketball coach Michael Slonaker has resigned from the position.

Slonaker, the school’s coach since 2011, announced his departure in an email Thursday to players, alumni and parents. Slonaker said his family is relocating to Georgia.

“I am very grateful to Rob Nelson, Lauren Otero and Laura Figueredo for giving me all the resources and support they have,” Slonaker said in the letter. “I can’t stress to you enough how special a lady Carrie Mahon is to Plant High School and I thank her for all she has done for me. This group will move quickly to find a replacement that will take this program to new heights and our current players should not skip a beat as everything is in place to keep the ball rolling. I will always be a Plant Panther.”

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Spring Football: Shuffling aplenty on Jesuit’s offensive; Tigers to add freshman team

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BY NICK WILLIAMSTribune Staff

TAMPA — How do you replace three Division I offensive lineman?

The answer: With three defensive lineman.

It may not sound correct, but that’s what Jesuit head coach Matt Thompson has had to do this spring. And the position changes are permanent.

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Spring Football: Offense may carry Armwood, for a change

Published:
BY NICK WILLIAMSTribune staff

SEFFNER — The core group of players that led Armwood to consecutive Class 6A state championship appearances in 2013 and 2014 — DE Byron Cowart, LB Jordan Griffin, QB Noah Johnson, DB Aaron Covington, DE Jeremy Ware, RB Caylan Holloway and K/P Sterling Hofrichter — are graduating.

Despite those significant loses, Armwood is not in rebuilding mode this spring. The returning players just aren’t household names, an expected situation for a team that featured the No. 1 rated player in America (Cowart).

One thing that is different for Armwood, though, is its defense may not be the unit that leads the team to victory as in years past.

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