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Monday, Sep 15, 2014
Preps

Prep baseball district tourney preview

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Class 8A-District 7: at Plant

SCHEDULE: Monday — Wharton (5) vs. Riverview (4), 4 p.m.; Newsome (6) vs. Bloomingdale (3), 7 p.m. Tuesday — Bloomingdale-Newsome winner vs. Alonso (2), 4 p.m.; Riverview-Wharton winner vs. Plant (1), 7 p.m. Thursday — Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

OUTLOOK: Top seed Plant (20-5) cruised through district play this season, outscoring the rest of this field 68-3. The Panthers and Alonso (18-6) earned opening-round byes, with Plant topping the Ravens three times this season. Each of Plant’s first five batters have at least a .321 average, led by top power hitter Kyle Tucker (.414, 8 homers, 32 RBIs). Bloomingdale (15-8) is riding a four-game win streak after topping Steinbrenner 2-1 on Thursday night. Last season, Wharton went 0-10 in district play before turning it on and earning a region berth. Wharton, Riverview and Newsome have upsets in mind.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Alex Faedo, Alonso (6-1, 0.86 ERA, 59 strikeouts); Logan Crouse, Bloomingdale (4-2, 0.83 ERA, 90 strikeouts); Jake Woodford, Plant (8-1, 0.56 ERA, 62 strikeouts).

Class 7A-District 7: at Durant

SCHEDULE: Tuesday — East Bay (5) vs. Plant City (4), 4 p.m.; Tampa Bay Tech (6) vs. Strawberry Crest (3), 7 p.m. Wednesday — Strawberry Crest-Tampa Bay Tech winner vs. Brandon (2), 4 p.m.; Plant City-East Bay winner vs. Durant (1), 7 p.m. Friday — Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

OUTLOOK: Durant (16-6) edged Brandon (15-8) for the top seed, getting two victories against the Eagles. However, third seed Strawberry Crest (17-9) holds two wins over Durant, while the Chargers dropped two one-run games to Brandon.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Garrett Wright, Durant (.400, 19 runs, 13 RBIs, 14 stolen bases); Paxton Sims, Durant (.369, 22 runs, 16 RBIs, 8 doubles); Ryan Anderson, Brandon (.321, 16 runs, 19 RBIs, 3 homers; 5-4, 1.05 ERA, 48 strikeouts); Austin Sullivan, Brandon (.338, 20 runs, 11 stolen bases); Austin Boatright, Strawberry Crest (7-1, 2.26 ERA); Mark Moclair, Strawberry Crest (.300, 10 runs, 16 RBIs; 4-2, 1.35 ERA, 57 strikeouts); Connor Slagill, Plant City (.441, 17 runs, 17 RBIs, 3 homers).

Class 7A-District 8: at Sickles

SCHEDULE: Tuesday — Freedom (5) vs. Gaither (4), 7 p.m. Wednesday — Steinbrenner (3) vs. 2 Wiregrass Ranch (2), 4:30 p.m.; Gaither-Freedom winner vs. Sickles (1), 7 p.m. Friday — Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

OUTLOOK: This is the area’s most competitive district, as the top four teams in the five-team bracket finished in a district tie. The top seed went to host Sickles (15-6) via coin flip, meaning Gaither (16-6) will have to square off with Freedom for a semifinal spot. The Cowboys, looking to extend coach Frank Permuy’s final season, topped the Patriots twice in the regular season. Wiregrass Ranch (16-6) is the No. 2 seed, while Steinbrenner (17-5) is the No. 3 seed. The top four took turns beating each other this year, making this race too close to call.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Randy Oliva, Gaither (.312, 15 runs, 19 RBIs, 4 homers); Michael Campoamor, Wiregrass Ranch (.418, 24 runs, 21 RBIs, 4 homers); Kevin Merrell, Steinbrenner (.462, 25 runs, 13 RBIs, 20 stolen bases); Alex Hanson, Steinbrenner (.456, 24 runs, 16 RBIs, 18 stolen bases); Levi Gilcrease, Sickles (.317, 21 runs, 20 RBIs, 3 homers); Troy Bacon, Sickles (.361, 13 runs, 15 RBIs; 4-1, 1.60 ERA, 45 strikeouts).

Class 6A-District 9: at King

SCHEDULE: Monday — Lennard (7) vs. Hillsborough (2), 4 p.m.; Blake (8) vs. King (1), 7 p.m. Tuesday — Leto (5) vs. Chamberlain (4), 4 p.m.; Armwood (6) vs. Jefferson (3), 7 p.m. Wednesday — Hillsborough-Lennard winner vs. Jefferson-Armwood winner, 4 p.m.; King-Blake winner vs. Chamberlain-Leto winner, 7 p.m. Thursday — Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

OUTLOOK: King (18-5) wrapped up the top seed by going 13-1 in district play, with a season split against No. 2 seed Hillsborough (17-5). Jefferson (17-8), the Saladino Tournament runner-up, fell twice to the Lions and split with Hillsborough. Chamberlain (13-10) is looking to stay alive against Leto in the opening round. The top three teams have solid No. 1 pitchers who likely will throw in the semifinals, so this title could come down to pitching depth. The Lions were state semifinalists last season.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Bubby Terp, King (.431, 21 runs, 23 RBIs, 4 homers); Tyeler Checkley, King (7-1, 1.53 ERA, 53 strikeouts); Diamond Johnson, HIllsborough (.328, 22 runs, 19 stolen bases); Tim Elko, Hillsborough (.322, 10 runs, 22 RBIs, 7 doubles); Nelson Maldonado, Jefferson (.417, 20 runs, 22 RBIs, 4 homers); Jonathan Diaz, Jefferson (.435, 14 runs, 13 RBIs; 3-2, 1.91 ERA, 37 strikeouts); Allan Radice, Chamberlain (.413, 12 runs, 19 RBIs).

Class 5A-District 9: at Jesuit

SCHEDULE: Tuesday — Spoto (3) vs. Robinson (2), 4:30 p.m.; Middleton (4) vs. Jesuit (1), 7:30 p.m. Thursday — Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

OUTLOOK: Jesuit (18-6) and Robinson (8-14) are likely to advance. The Tigers had few issues in district play, outscoring opponents 61-5 and winning all six district contests. Robinson lost twice to the Tigers, but the second meeting after Jesuit was forced to suspend nine players for the remainder of the season was a 5-3 game. This could come down to another meeting of Little League junior division World Series teammates Ronnie Ramirez (Jesuit) and Patrick Kiszla (Robinson) in the final.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Ramirez (2.36 ERA, 31 strikeouts; .310, 13 RBIs); Kennie Taylor, Jesuit (.355, 25 runs, 18 RBIs, 16 Stolen bases); Ryan McCullers, Jesuit (.297, 14 RBIs); Kiszla (4-4, 2.35 ERA, 46 strikeouts); Charlie Cole, Robinson (.328, 15 runs); Chris Chatfield, Spoto (.393, 15 runs, 23 RBIs).

Class 4A-District 10

SCHEDULE: Tuesday — Sarasota Booker (3) at Tampa Catholic (2), 6 p.m. Thursday — Booker-Tampa Catholic winner at Berkeley Prep (1), 7 p.m.

OUTLOOK: Berkeley Prep (14-12) earned the top seed by defeating Tampa Catholic (15-8), forcing the Crusaders to try and top Sarasota Booker (10-13) for a third time this season to reach the final. The Crusaders and Buccaneers played a pair of one-run games, and a third go-round would be exciting.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Dante Bosnic, Berkeley Prep (.293, 17 RBIs; 1.20 ERA, 50 strikeouts); Nicholas Kavouklis, Berkeley Prep (.317, 11 runs, 9 RBIs); Paulie Russo, Tampa Catholic (.365, 18 runs, 16 RBIs, 2 homers, 13 stolen bases); AJ Chacon, Tampa Catholic (2-1, 1.15 ERA, 38 strikeouts); Joseph Burruezo, Tampa Catholic (.298, 9 runs, 14 RBIs, 2 homers).

Class 3A-District 7: at Bishop McLaughlin

SCHEDULE: Tuesday — Carrollwood Day (3) vs. Bishop McLaughlin (2), 4 p.m.; Seffner Christian-Brooks-DeBartolo winner vs. Tampa Prep (1), 7 p.m. Thursday — Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

OUTLOOK: Tampa Prep (16-9) had a tough win over Bishop McLaughlin and a blowout win over the Hurricanes in two meetings. The Terrapins outscored the rest of this field 73-12 to earn the top seed. The Terrapins are led by sophomore catcher Luis Medina, who leads the district in average (.455), home runs (3), RBIs (28) and slugging percentage (.727). The Hurricanes split with fourth seed Seffner Christian (11-11) in the regular season, but the Crusaders fell twice to No. 3 seed Carrollwood Day (13-9).

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Matt Hodges, Tampa Prep (.338, 25 runs, 16 RBIs, 11 stolen bases); Nick DeTringo, Tampa Prep (.338, 25 runs, 10 RBIs); Watson Ransom, Tampa Prep (5-2, 2.16 ERA, 51 strikeouts); Joshua Mendoza, Seffner Christian (5-3, 50 strikeouts); Carson Ragsdale, Bishop McLaughlin (.333, 21 runs, 10 RBIs; 4-3, 1.48 ERA, 36 strikeouts); Will Potosky, Bishop McLaughlin (.322, 15 runs, 13 RBIs); Jack Syron, Carrollwood Day (.390, 11 runs); Brandon Furr, Brooks-DeBartolo (.378, 18 runs, 5 triples).

Class 2A-District 7: at West Tampa LL

SCHEDULE: Tuesday — Academy at the Lakes (3) vs. Cambridge Christian (2), 3:30 p.m. Thursday — Cambridge Christian-Academy at the Lakes winner vs. Bayshore Christian (1), 3:30 p.m.

OUTLOOK: Cambridge Christian (12-6) beat Bayshore Christian (8-4) in an 8-7 game Thursday, but both teams were tied at 3-1 in district play and Bayshore Christian won the coin toss for the first-round bye. The Lancers and Faith Warriors easily handled Academy at the Lakes this season and should meet in the final Thursday. Bayshore topped the Lancers 10-5 in the earlier meeting in March. Cambridge Christian reached the Class 2A state semifinals a season ago.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Evan Courtney, Bayshore Christian (.421, 18 runs, 17 RBIs, 4 homers, 14 stolen bases); Evan Holland, Bayshore Christian (2-0, 0.98 ERA, 30 strikeouts; .364, 17 runs, 15 RBIs); Henry Mesa, Cambridge Christian (.327, 20 runs, 17 RBIs); Tyler House, Cambridge Christian (.477, 18 runs, 12 RBIs, 13 stolen bases).

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