Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Baseball: Catching up with local prospects

Palmetto's Granden Goetzman is playing high Single-A baseball with the Tampa Bay Rays' affiliate in Port Charlotte.
A rundown at how some of the locals are faring in professional baseball:

MICHAEL OHLMAN, LAKEWOOD RANCH: An 11th-round pick of the Baltimore Orioles in 2009, Ohlman is on the organization's 40-man roster and playing with its Double-A team in Bowie, Md. He's hitting .241 in 87 games with the Baysox with 26 RBIs, 21 doubles and two home runs. A catcher, Ohlman has thrown out 27 percent of runners trying to steal.

CORRELLE PRIME, MANATEE: The former Hurricane has found his power stroke with the Colorado Rockies' Single-A team in Asheville, N.C., slugging 16 home runs in 98 games with the first-place Tourists. Prime is tied for third in the South Atlantic League in home runs and second in RBIs (68) while slugging .469. Asheville is 29-10 in the second half and leads the league's South Division by 5 1/2 games.

CORD SANDBERG, MANATEE: Sandberg is hitting .237 with the Philadelphia Phillies' low short-season New York-Penn League team in Williamsport, Pa. He has three home runs, three doubles and three triples with 16 RBIs in 38 games and is 6-for-7 in steal attempts.

MICHAL SUCHY, SOUTHEAST: The area's newest pro after the Pittsburgh Pirates selected him during the fifth round of this year's draft, Suchy is with the Pirates' New York-Penn League team in Jamestown, N.Y. The former Seminole is hitting .241 but has a .345 on-base percentage thanks to his 19 walks and four hit-by-pitches in 38 games. Suchy has no home runs but five doubles and three triples.

GRANDEN GOETZMAN, PALMETTO: Bedeviled by injuries early in his career, Goetzman took advantage of his good health with the Bowling Green Hot Rods, a low Single-A affiliate with the Tampa Bay Rays. Goetzman batted .315 with 31 RBIs and seven home runs and 20 doubles in 60 games at Bowling Green, earning a promotion to the team's high Single-A affiliate in Port Charlotte. Goetzman is hitting .184 in 27 games with the Stone Crabs.

JON  GRIFFIN, LAKEWOOD RANCH: The former Mustang and State College of Florida product made national headlines by hitting four home runs in a game and five in as many at-bats. Playing with the Arizona Diamondbacks' Double-A team in Mobile, Ala., Griffin has hit 14 home runs while batting .236 with 48 RBIs in 88 games.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Football: District breakdowns for 2014

Johnnie Lang (No. 22) and the Manatee Hurricanes will look to repeat as Class 8A-District 7 champions this fall.
Practice for the 2014 prep football season officially begins Monday, Aug. 4 with games beginning Aug. 27.
So here is a look at the districts involving Bradenton area teams. Don't get too attached, though - this is the last of each district's two-year cycle before the Florida High School Athletic Association realigns everything later this school year.

DISTRICT: Class 8A-7
LOCAL: Manatee
OTHERS: Palm Harbor, Sarasota Riverview, St. Petersburg
THE SKINNY: Perhaps you've heard Manatee has a new coach? Former Hurricane John Booth takes over for Joe Kinnan....Manatee hasn't lost a district game since 2008 against Venice. The Indians beat Manatee the next season, but that win was ruled a forfeit in favor of the Hurricanes by the FHSAA...The Rams, who made the playoffs as a runner-up, lost three games, all against playoff teams - Manatee, Venice and Fort Pierce Central in the quarterfinals of the Region 2 tournament...None of the teams had a losing record. The closest was Palm Harbor University, which went 5-5...Manatee's lone home district game is Oct. 17 against St. Petersburg.

DISTRICT: Class 7A-10
LOCALS: Braden River, Lakewood Ranch, Palmetto
OTHERS: North Port, Sarasota
THE SKINNY: Despite tallying a losing record (5-6), Palmetto made the playoffs for the fourth straight season, a program record...The Sailors won their last three district games by a combined 57 points to claim the title, though they'll try to repeat with a new coach as Brian Ryals takes over for Ed Volz. Ryals was Sarasota's offensive coordinator the last three seasons; Volz resigned to spend more time with his family...A year after winning just one game, Braden River finished 5-4 in coach Curt Bradley's second season. The Pirates were the lone district team to defeat Sarasota...After a 2-0 start in district play, Lakewood Ranch lost its final two league games to Palmetto and Sarasota, but beat previously undefeated Port Charlotte in its season finale to finish 5-5...North Port (3-6) was the only team in the district to finish the regular season below .500.

DISTRICT: Class 5A-13
LOCALS: Bayshore, Southeast
OTHERS: Arcadia DeSoto, Booker, Wauchula Hardee
THE SKINNY: Another John takes over for a local legend - John Warren was selected as Southeast's new head coach after Paul Maecthle retired. The Seminoles won Maechtle's final game against Palmetto but finished 3-7 and missed the playoffs...Bayshore went 2-8 under new head coach Elijah Freeman and dropped its final two district games after splitting its first two...Despite leading Booker to the second round of the playoffs, coach Johnnie Jones was dismissed and replaced with former defensive coordinator Recharde Goodwyn...Hardee rolled to the district title, allowing 30 points in its four district games, before losing at Plantation American Heritage in the Region 4 championship game...DeSoto went winless in four district games.

DISTRICT: Class 3A-6
LOCALS: Cardinal Mooney, Out-of-Door Academy
OTHER: Fort Myers Bishop Verot
THE SKINNY: The Cougars won the district last season, defeating Verot 35-10 in what wound up being the championship game...Verot made the playoffs as a runner-up...Bedeviled by injuries and transfers, the Thunder won one game.

DISTRICT: Class 2A-5
LOCAL:  Bradenton Christian
OTHERS: Largo Indian Rocks Christian, St. Petersburg Canterbury, St. Petersburg Keswick Christian, St. Petersburg Northside Christian, Tampa Cambridge, Tampa Carrollwood.
THE SKINNY: The only team located on this side of the Sunshine Skyway, Bradenton Christian finished at .500 (5-5) but went 2-4 against district teams. The Panthers haven't made the playoffs since they began playing football in 2006...Indian Rocks Christan went 6-0 to win the district en route to the state semifinals...Carrollwood Day (5-1) was the runner-up...Five of the district's seven teams finished at .500 or better overall.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wrestling: FHSAA taking applications to host state tournament

Do you want to host the Florida state wrestling tournament?
All you have to do is head over to the Florida High School Association's website, fill out a 31-page form and return it to the FHSAA by Friday, Aug. 15.
The association is looking for a host for the next three years after The Lakeland Center served that capacity from 1993-95 before reclaiming hosting duties in 1998.
So what exactly is the FHSAA looking for?
Applicants have to answer questions regarding available lodging in the area, plans for marketing and promoting event and about the site's food and beverage concessions, security and safety codes.
The facility cannot charge the FHSAA fees for use of power or lighting, and the host must provide, at its own expense, a public-address announcer, head table personnel, volunteer coordinators, awards coordinators, table workers for each mat, attendants for locker rooms and officials, eight certified trainers, an EMT or physician, security and media assistants to help run off copies.
The host must also, at its own expense, provide two meals per day to credentialed members of the event (an estimated 150 people per day) and have snacks and beverages readily available throughout.
Parking is also crucial, as the facility must have at least 40 reserved spots. According to the FHSAA, last year's total attendance for the two-day event was 13,726, a number that also includes coaches, wrestlers, team personnel, media and others who used to credentials to enter the arena and didn't have to purchase a ticket.
The paid attendance was 10,879. Admission was $9 per person.
What does the FHSAA provide? Compensation and expenses for officials, state championship trophies and medallions, a "memento" for all who participate (coaches, wrestlers, officials), souvenir programs (if printed) and merchandise, promotional materials including decals, signs and flyers bearing the FHSAA logo,  Gatorade coolers and cups and credentials.
In exchange, the host facility retains parking fees, sales from concessions, government and tourist development grants and agreements with sponsors.
So that's about does it. The state wrestling tournament is scheduled for March 6 and 7, the FHSAA plans on announcing its host no later than Oct. 1.
And in case you were wondering, the state wrestling tournament came to the area once: 1988 at the Manatee Civic Center.


Wrestling: Manatee does well at Disney Duals

Caleb Rudisill and members of Manatee's wrestling team had a solid showing during  the Disney Duals in Orlando, which wrapped July 1.'
The Manatee Mafia placed 14th out of 46 teams and Rudisill went 10-1 to earn All-America honors. A rising junior, Rudisill won 57 matches last season and was ranked No.1 in Class 3A at 113 pounds heading into the state tournament, where he fell a win short of reaching the medal round.
Rudisill won his first 10 matches in Orlando, however, and is 42-11 in offseason matches.
Jesse Fullk, a state runner-up last season at 160 whose 59 wins set a single-season program record, went 9-2 to also earn All-America honors. A rising senior, Fulk has wrestled 60 matches in the offseason, winning 48.
After losing 21 of 22 previous matches at past Disney Duals, Tim Dinsdale turned around this time, going 9-2 and also being named an All-American. Tyrek Hoyte, a surprising medalist at 126 last year, went 6-5.
Also notching winning records for the Canes were Alex Ginn (7-4), a state qualifier last year, John Baldwin (7-4) and Eric Pompey (5-4).


Monday, July 7, 2014

Prep football: Chris Conboy resigns as Manatee's quarterbacks coach

Chris Conboy will not return as Manatee's quarterbacks coach.
With new head coach John Booth coaching the quarterbacks and John's brother James serving as the offensive coordinator, Conboy didn't see a big role for himself on the staff.
"They do what I do, and I didn't want to coach another position," said Conboy, adding the split was amicable. "I thought it be best for the kids if I wasn't out there so they could buy into the new system."
A Cardinal Mooney graduate, Conboy coached at Manatee from 1992-98 and returned in 2006. He also served as a liaison between players and college coaches, and applied to be Manatee's new coach when Joe Kinnan decided to take a medical leave of absence for the 2014 school year.
Conboy was one of seven finalists before the job went to John Booth, who graduated from Manatee in 2000 and earned All-America honors while playing quarterback at MidAmerica Nazarene.
"It wasn't something I set out to do," John Booth said about parting ways with Conboy. "I was pleased with his professionalism. It could have gone a million different ways. He was very respectful.  We parted ways, and this gives him a chance to pursue a  coordinator opportunity at another school."
Booth offered Conboy another position on staff. But Conboy declined. 
Conboy said he plans on continuing to teach at Manatee. While he doesn't think he is through with coaching, he is unsure what will happen  in the immediate future."There are a few things I thought about doing," he said. "For the longest time, I never had time to do anything else in the fall but coach football. Just have to wait and see what unfolds. Having a 3-year-old and a 10-year-old, I'm sure I'll stay busy."
Though he won't be a part of it, Conboy said he plans on keeping an eye on how the Hurricanes fare in 2014.
"I said that one of reasons I stepped aside was I thought it would be best for (the players)," he said. "I didn't really feel like I could add any value. I think stepping aside and letting them go 100 percent into the new system was the best thing."


Monday, June 30, 2014

Prep football: Manatee's final seven candidates

Longtime Manatee assistant Chuck Sandberg is one of seven candidates in the running to replace Joe Kinnan as the  Hurricanes' head football coach.
Kevin Wallace, the  head coach of Bowling Green High in Kentucky, withdrew his name for consideration Monday morning, said Manatee athletic director Jason Montgomery, who said he hopes to have a decision finalized by the end of the week.
Montgomery said Wallace decided he did not want to move his family.

THE CANDIDATES
John Booth - head coach at Valrico Bloomingdale
Chad Choate - linebackers coach at Manatee
Chris Conboy - quarterbacks coach at Manatee
Jason Milgrom - co-offensive coordinator at Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas
Jim Phelan - defensive coordinator at Manatee
Chuck Sandberg - receivers coach at Manatee
Bart Sessions - recently resigned as head coach at McGill-Toolen Catholic in Alabama

Prep football: Manatee to interview two more candidates

Manatee alum John Booth and former Alabama coach Bart Sessions are being interviewed to be Manatee's new football coach.
Booth just wrapped his fourth season at Valrico Bloomingdale, where his record is 12-28. But the Bulls were 6-4 last year and have improved each season after going 0-10 under Booth in 2009.
After leaving Manatee, Booth earned All-America honors playing quarterback at MidAmerica Nazarene, a NAIA school in Kansas, before signing as a free agent with the Kansas City Chiefs and switching to wide receiver.
Booth played in NFL Europe with the Amsterdam Admirals, helping the team win World Bowl XIII in 2005 with 103 receiving yards.
He also coached wide receivers for two years at Nazarene and played in the Arena Football League with the Kansas City Brigade.
Sessions made his mark as one of the top defensive coordinators in Alabama, helping Daphne win the Class 6A state title in 2010 and Pratville to state championships in 2008 and '09.
He has been the head coach at Alabama's McGill-Toolen since 2011. Sessions is 35-5 in three seasons with the Yellowjackets.
Manatee assistants Chad Choate, Chris Conboy, Jim Phelan and Chuck Sandberg were scheduled to be interviewed, along with Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas assistant Jason Milgrom and Bowling Green (Kentucky) head coach Kevin Wallace.
Joe Kinnan announced earlier this month he is taking a medical leave of absence from Manatee for the 2014-15 school year.