Friday, April 29, 2011

Prep softball: Regional semifinals today

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Three area softball teams remain in the state championship hunt and are in action today in the regional semfinals.
The pairings can be found below:

Braden River at Lakewood Ranch, 7 p.m.
UP NEXT: The winner faces either Naples or Naples Barron Collier in Tuesday's regional final.

Winter Haven All Saints' Academy at Bradenton Christian, 4 p.m.
UP NEXT: The winner faces either Orlando Central Florida Christian Academy or Ormond Beach Calvary Christian Academy in Tuesday's regional final.

The state semifinals and finals will be played at the National Training Center in Clermont. Class 4A plays Monday, May 9 and Tuesday, May 10, and Class 1A plays Wednesday, May 11 and Thursday, May 12.

Prep wrestling: Changes are coming


During its meeting in Indianapolis earlier this month, the National Federation of State High School Associations' Board of Directors approved 17 rule revisions regarding high school wrestling.

Among the most pressing matters listed on a press release issued by the Florida High School Athletic Association:

WEIGHT CLASSES: The weight classes for the 2011-12 season will be 106 pounds, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 145, 152, 160, 170, 182,, 195, 220 and 285. According to Dale Pleimann, the chairman of the NFHS' wrestling rules committee, the goal was to create weight classes that feature at least 7 percent of wrestlers in each division.

THE BOUNDARY LINE: The two-inch line surrounding the wrestling area is now inbounds. Previously, any wrestler touching any part of the line was ruled out of bounds, and wrestling would stop.

THE FIGURE 4: Illegal only around the body or legs, the Figure 4 manuever around a wrestler's head is no longer allowed.

A total 272,890 boys wrestled during the 2009-10 school year, making wrestling the sixth-most popular boys sport at the prep level, according to a NFHS Athletics Participation Survey. Wrestling drew 6,134 girls during that year, as well, according to the survey.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Prep baseball: Canes, Noles win district titles

It's been a long time coming for the area's two biggest rivals, but Southeast and Manatee won district baseball championships Thursday night.

The Seminoles clinched their first title since 2005 with a 2-0 win over Cardinal Mooney, which entered the Class 3A-District 11 tournament as the top seed.

Andy Ramirez tossed a complete game for the Noles, striking out 12. The Noles host the loser of Friday's District 12 final between Cape Coral Island Coast and Fort Myers Bishop Verot in a Region 3 semifinal Tuesday.

Manatee beat Venice 6-5 to win the Class 5A-District 10 title, the Canes' first since 2002. The top-seeded Hurricanes rallied from an early 3-0 hole, scoring four runs in the first.

Scott Kelly pitched 4 2/3 innings to get the win. Correlle Prime, who tossed a complete game during Tuesday's semifinal against Naples Gulf Coast, pitched a scoreless seventh to earn the save.

Manatee hosts Tampa King, the runner-up from District 9, 7 p.m. Tuesday in a Region 3 quarterfinal. King defeated the Canes in last year's quarterfinals en route to a spot in the final four.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Prep baseball: Regional qualifiers and championship pairings


Listed below are the area district baseball championship matchups. All of the title-game qualifiers have clinched a berth in next week's regional tournament, with the district champs hosting a quarterfinal and the runners-up hitting the road.

Venice at Manatee, 7 p.m. Thursday
Seminole Osceola at Lakewood Ranch, 7 p.m. Friday
Cardinal Mooney at Southeast, 7 p.m. Thursday
St. Petersburg Northside Christian at Out-of-Door Academy, 7 p.m. Thursday
Bradenton Christian at Seffner Christian, 4:30 p.m. Friday

Prep softball: Regional action underway

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Lakewood Ranch and Braden River are each a step away from a rematch while Bradenton Christian will face a surprising opponent Friday as regional softball action gets underway this week.

The Mustangs upset the rival Pirates to claim the Class 4A-District 10 championship last Friday and host Tampa Jefferson 7 p.m. tonight in a Region 3 quarterfinal. The Pirates, who entered the district final ranked No. 1 in the state in Class 4A on the Miracle Sports softball poll, head to Dover Strawberry Crest.

Winners advance to Friday's semifinals, which means the East Manatee county foes could meet up again for the second time in a week.

Bradenton Christian, meanwhile, won't have to beat Hernando Christian Academy twice to advance in the Region 2 tournament. HCA, which was 25-0 and ranked third in Class 1A before losing to the Panthers in last week's Class 1A-District 8 final, fell 2-1 to Winter Haven All Saints' Academy in Tuesday's Region 2 opener.

The Panthers, who received a first-round bye because District 7 had no runner-up, host the Saints on Friday in a regional semifinal. On Tuesday, All Saints was powered by sophomore Lissette Garay, who struck out 16 and scored the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Garay also pitches for Puerto Rico's U16 national fast-pitch team.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Prep baseball: Locals moving on

(logo from Christian, Cardinal Mooney, Manatee and Southeast are playing for district championships.

Braden River, Lakewood Ranch and Palmetto are still in the hunt, as well.

Listed below are the district baseball matchups after Tuesday's results.


Championship - Venice at Manatee, 7 p.m. Thursday.


Semifinals - Braden River at Lakewood Ranch, 7 p.m. Wednesday; Palmetto at Seminole Osceola, 7 p.m. Wednesday.


Championship - Cardinal Mooney at Southeast, 7 p.m, Thursday.


Championship - Bradenton Christian at Seffner Christian, 4:30 p.m. Friday.

Prep baseball: Manatee will host Gulf Coast

Manatee, the top seed in the Class 5A-District 10 baseball tournament, finally knows its semifinal opponent.

The Hurricanes host Naples Gulf Coast at 7 p.m. tonight at G.T. Bray after the Sharks, the tournament's No. 4 seed, defeated No. 5 Port Charlotte on Monday in a game delayed roughly two hours by rain.

Gulf Coast beat the Pirates 6-0. Manatee, meanwhile, earned a bye.

Manatee defeated Gulf Coast twice this season, winning by scores of 7-4 and 7-5. Tonight's winner meets either Venice or Punta Gorda Charlotte in Thursday's final, and also clinches a berth in the regional playoffs, which get underway next week.

In other district baseball action tonight:


Quarterfinals - St. Petersburg Lakewood at Palmetto, 7 p.m.; Bayshore at Lakewood Ranch, 7 p.m.; St. Petersburg Dixie Hollins at Braden River, 7 p.m.


Semifinals - Booker/Arcadia DeSoto vs. Cardinal Mooney, 4:30 p.m.; Wauchula Hardee vs. Southeast, 7:30 p.m.


Semifinals - Saint Stephen's vs. Out-of-Door Academy, 7 p.m.


Semifinals - Sarasota Christian vs. Manatee HEAT, 7 p.m.


Semifinals - Seffner Christian vs. Bradenton Christian, 1 p.m.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Prep football: Spring game matchups


Cord Sandberg and the Manatee Hurricanes were the last locals standing last season before falling to Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas in a Class 5A state semifinal.

That's Palmetto's Quinten Bostic in pursuit of Sandberg during last fall's game at Hawkins Stadium.

The march to next season begins a week from today, when football teams are permitted to conduct their first official practice of the spring.

The games are listed below.

Friday, May 13

St. Petersburg Admiral Farragut at Braden River, 7 p.m.

Thursday, May 19

St. Petersburg Shorecrest Prep at Bradenton Christian, 7 p.m.

Friday, May 20

Tampa Berkeley Prep at Bayshore, 7:30 p.m.

Tampa Carrollwood Day School at Cardinal Mooney, 7 p.m.

Out-of-Door Academy at St. Petersburg Keswick, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, May 27

North Port at Lakewood Ranch, 7:30 p.m.

St. Petersburg Gibbs at Manatee, 7:30 p.m.

Booker at Palmetto, 7 p.m.

Venice at Southeast, 7:30 p.m.

NOTE: Saint Stephen's is not playing a spring game, and Braden River heads back to Raymond James Stadium on 10 a.m. Saturday, May 21 for the Pirate Bowl.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Prep softball: Regional pairings

(logo from below are the area pairings for Tuesday's regional softball quarterfinals. Winners advance to Friday's semifinals, with sites and times to be determined.
Games begin at 7 p.m.

CLASS 4A-Region 3
Braden River at Dover Strawberry Crest
Tampa Jefferson at Lakewood Ranch
CLASS 3A-Region 3
Cardinal Mooney at LaBelle
Class 1A-Region 2
Bradenton Christian receives a bye and will face either Hernando Christian Academy or Winter Haven All Saints Academy in a semifinal Friday.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Prep softball: Lakewood Ranch, Braden River knows its fate

Braden River's and Lakewood Ranch's softball team know what's next.

The winner of tonight's Class 4A-District 10 title hosts Tampa Jefferson, the runner-up out of District 9, 7 p.m. Wednesday in a Region 3 quarterfinal.

The runner-up heads to Dover to face Strawberry Crest, the champion from District 9.

The Pirates, the top seed, host the third-seeded Mustangs tonight.

Braden River won the regular-season meeting, 1-0.

Prep track and field: Falcons girls fourth in regional meet

Saint Stephen's girls team had a fine day during Thursday's Class 1A-Region 3 meet in Naples, finishing fourth in the team standings with 39 points.
Alyssa Allen nabbed a state berth in the 200-meter dash by placing third with a time of 26.57.
The top four finishers in each event qualify for next Friday's Class 1A state meet at Showalter Field.
Allen, a senior, also qualified in the long jump by placing fourth with a jump of 16 feet, 6 1/2 inches. She also ran a leg on the Falcons' winning 1,600 relay team. Joining her on the team was Hannah Howell, Cassidy Whidden and Lauren Csubak.
Howell, a sophomore, also qualified in the 400 dash, where she placed second with a time of 1:00.73. She was also fourth in the 800 (2:21.65).
On the boys side, Out-of-Door Academy's Jeff Young was third in the 800 (2:00.76), and Brian Ragone was third in the 300 hurdles (40.93).
The Thunder's boys were 15th with 12 points.
Saint Stephen's boys, who had no state qualifiers, were 20th with seven points.
ODA's girls, who also had no qualifers, were 22nd with six points.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Prep softball: BCS Panthers shock Hernando Christian

Keeping their ailing coach close to their heart, the Bradenton Christian Panthers stunned Hernando Christian Academy 7-1 during Thursday's Class 1A-District 8 final.

Hernando Christian entered the game 25-0 and defeated BCS twice during the regular season.

The Panthers (10-8) were playing without coach Gene Brown, who underwent emergency surgery Tuesday night. Brown is recovering at Blake Medical Center and was getting inning-by-inning updates via text message.

Brown's daughter, Rachel, went 4-for-4 with three singles, a triple and two RBIs.

For more on this story, see Friday's edition of The Bradenton Herald.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Prep softball: Three county teams playing for titles

(logo from County is assured of at least one district softball champion this spring and will send three teams into next week's regional tournament.

Lakewood Ranch and Braden River won Class 4A-District 10 tournament semifinals Wednesday, with the third-seeded Mustangs beating host Seminole Osceola 5-2, and the top-seeded Pirates knocking off No. 5 St. Petersburg Lakewood 10-0.

The Mustangs and host Pirates meet 7 p.m. Friday to decide the District 10 title. Braden River, which is 25th in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Softball Rankings, won the regular-season meeting 1-0.

Both have clinched a berth in the Region 3 tournament, which begins Wednesday, April 27.

Bradenton Christian, which won its Class 1A-District 8 semifinal in thrilling fashion Tuesday, meets undefeated Hernando Christian 4:30 p.m. at home Thursday for the District 8 title.

Hernando Christian is 25-0 and received votes in Bright House Sports Network's BHSN Top 10 Softball Poll. Yet the Panthers played the Lions close during the regular season, losing 4-0 and 5-2 - not bad, considering HCA has outscored is opponents 341-19 this season.

Win or lose, BCS heads into the Region 2 tournament Tuesday.

Prep football: Bradenton Christian's McCarthy headed to Case Western Reserve

(photo by Grant Jefferies)

Bradenton Christian quarterback Sean McCarthy is headed to Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, said BCS coach Allan Gerber.

McCarthy threw for 1,295 yards and 10 touchdowns this year for the Panthers. He also rushed for 214 yards and seven touchdowns.

Case Western is ranked 41st in the country by U.S. News and World Report in its latest list of the top 50 colleges in the country and is a Division III school.

The Spartans, who compete in the University Athletic Association, went 8-2 last season.

Prep baseball: Local district pairings

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Posteason baseball begins next week with the district tournaments, and the local pairings are listed below.

The top two teams in each district advance to the regional tournament, which begins Tuesday, May 3.

Seeds are in parentheses.

Semifinals - (5)Port Charlotte/(4) Naples Gulf Coast winner at (1) Manatee, 7 p.m. Tuesday

Championship - 7 p.m. Thursday at highest seed.


Quarterfinals - (5) St. Petersburg Lakewood at (4) Palmetto 7 p.m. Tuesday; (6) St. Petersburg Dixie Hollins at (3) Braden River, 7 p.m. Tuesday; (7) Bayshore at (2) Lakewood Ranch, 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Semifinals - Lakewood/Palmetto winner at (1) Seminole Osceola, 7 p.m. Wednesday; Braden River/Dixie Hollins winner vs. Bayshore/Lakewood Ranch winnter, 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Championship - 7 p.m. Friday at highest seed.


Semifinals - (5) Booker/(4) Arcadia DeSoto winner vs. (1) Cardinal Mooney, 4:30 p.m., Tuesday; (3) Wauchula Hardee vs. (2) Southeast, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday

Championship - 7 p.m. Thursday


Semifinals - (3) Saint Stephen's vs. (2) Out-of-Door Academy, 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Championship - 7 p.m. Thursday.


Semifinals - (3) Sarasota Christian vs. (2) Manatee HEAT, 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Championship - 7 p.m. Thursday.


Semifinals - (3) Seffner Christian vs. (2) Bradenton Christian, 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Championship - 7 p.m. Thursday.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Prep softball: Canes, Seminoles move on

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Manatee and Southeast opened the softball postseason with victories Monday.

The Hurricanes rallied past Port Charlotte 4-2 in a Class 5A-District 10 quarterfinal at G.T. Bray, while the Seminoles buried Booker 26-8 in a Class 3A-District 11 quarterfinal at Southeast.

Each team will play a semifinal tonight against each tournament's No. 1 seed - the Hurricanes travel to Venice at 7 p.m., while Southeast meets Arcadia DeSoto at 5:30 p.m. at Wauchula Hardee, the tournament's host.

Listed below are Tuesday's other local softball pairings:


Bayshore at Lakewood Ranch, 7 p.m.

St. Petersburg Lakewood at Palmetto, 7 p.m.


St. Petersburg Northside Christian vs. Saint Stephen's, 2 p.m.

Out-of-Door Academy vs. St. Petersburg Shorecrest Prep, 4:30 p.m.


Bradenton Christian vs. Seffner Christian, 4 p.m.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Prep football: Kitchie hired at Leto

(file photo from Kitchie is a head football coach again.

The Southeast graduate confirmed Thursday night he has been hired to pilot the program at Tampa Leto.

Kitchie graduated from Southeast in 1996 and was hired as Saint Stephen's head coach when the school resurrected a program in 2006. He went 11-14 in three seasons with the Falcons before leaving to take the head job at Land O'Lakes, where he was 17-3 before his tenure came to a halt last fall because of an off-the-field incident concerning one of his players.

Kitchie was one of the applicants vying to replace John Sprague at Riverview. That job went to Riverview alum Todd Johnson, who was hired earlier this month.

Leto went 1-9 last season.

Prep softball: District pairings

The district softball playoffs begin next week. Listed below are the local matchups, with the seeds in parentheses.

The top two finishers advance to the regional quarterfinals, with the winners hosting and the runners-up going on the road.

Class 1A, 3A and 5A begin play on Tuesday, April 26 while 2A, 4A and 6A begin April 27.


Quarterfinals - (5) Port Charlotte at (4) Manatee, 7 p.m. Monday

Semifinals - Port Charlotte/Manatee winner at (1) Venice, 7 p.m. Tuesday

Championship - 7 p.m. Thursday at highest seed


Quarterfinals - (5) St. Petersburg Lakewood at (4) Palmetto, 7 p.m. Tuesday; (6) Bayshore at (3) Lakewood Ranch, 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Semifinals - Palmetto/St. Petersburg Lakewood winner at (1) Braden River, 7 p.m. Thursday; Bayshore/Lakewood Ranch winner vs. (7) St. Petersburg Dixie Hollins/ (2) Seminole Osceola winner, 7 p.m. Thursday.

Championship - 7 p.m. Friday at highest seed

CLASS 3A-DISTRICT 11 at Wauchula Hardee with the exception of Monday's game

Quarterfinals - (5) Booker at Southeast (4), 6 p.m. Monday

Semifinals - Booker/Southeast winner vs. (1) Arcadia DeSoto, 5:30 p.m.; (2) Cardinal Mooney vs. (3) Wauchula Hardee, 7:30 p.m.

Championship - 7 p.m. Thursday.

CLASS 2A-DISTRICT 11 at Saint Stephen's

Quarterfinals - (5) St. Petersburg Admiral Farragut vs. (4) Out-of-Door Academy, 4 p.m. Monday

Semifinals - (2) St. Petersburg Northside Christian vs. (3) Saint Stephen's, 2 p.m. Tuesday; ODA/Farragut winner vs. St. Petersburg Shorecrest Prep, 4:30 p.m.

Championship - 4 p.m. Thursday.

CLASS 1A-DISTRICT 8 at Bradenton Christian

Semifinals - (2) Bradenton Christian vs. (3) Seffner Christian, 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Championship - 4 p.m. Thursday.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Prep baseball: Bradenton's Murphy beginning season in Charleston


As expected, Bradenton's J.R. Murphy has begun the baseball season with the Charleston RiverDogs, the low Single-A affiliate of the New York Yankees.

Murphy, who graduated from The Pendleton School, spent all of last season with the RiverDogs. The next step could be a promotion to high Single-A Tampa, which competes in the Florida State League with the Bradenton Marauders.

Murphy is batting .207 in seven games this season, but has hit three home runs and driven in seven runs, upping his slugging percentage to .552.

The Yankees picked Murphy during the second round of the 2009 draft. A catcher in high school, Murphy has also logged time as a designated hitter and third baseman this season.

Prep football: Tigers ready for a night at the movies

Members of Palmetto's football team are headed to the Sarasota Film Festival on Thursday to take in a screening of "Through The Tunnel," a documentary about Lincoln Memorial High's football team and its role during the dawning of integration in Manatee County.

The film is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Sarasota Opera House. It will be followed by discussion featuring local football legend Henry Lawrence, a standout player at Lincoln who appears in the film.

"Through The Tunnel" was produced and directed by Charles Clapsaddle, Charles Williams and Durand Adams, and was named Best Historical Documentary at the docMiami International Film Festival. The movie was also selected for screenings at festivals in Clearwater and Atlanta.

Prep sports: Seminoles, Mustangs signing this week

Two student-athletes at Southeast and one at Lakewood Ranch will make their college choices official this week.

At Southeast, baseball player Michael Suchy is off to Florida Gulf Coast University, a Division I school in Fort Myers.

Lineman Sonjai Persaud is headed to Graceland University in Iowa, which competes in the National Association of Interscholastic Athletics.

For the Mustangs, soccer player Kristen Voight is going to the University of South Carolina Beaufort, which also plays in the NAIA.

Prep tennis: Regional final pairings

Listed below are the local pairings for Thurday's regional tennis finals. The winners advance to next week's state team tournament.

All matches are at 3 p.m. unless otherwise noted.


CLASS 3A - Venice at Lakewood Ranch

CLASS 2A - Tampa Jesuit at Bayshore

CLASS 1A - Bradenton Christian at St. Petersburg Shorecrest Prep


CLASS 4A - Manatee at Riverview

CLASS 1A - Saint Stephen's at St. Petersburg Shorecrest Prep

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Prep baseball: Manatee-Southeast game to be shown on BHSN

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Thursday's baseball game between Manatee and host Southeast will be broadcast live on Bright House Sports Network, beginning at 7 p.m.

"Manatee-Southeast is one of the preeminent rivalries in the Tampa Bay area," said Paul Kosuth, BHSN's general manager. "We are excited to see how this rivalry plays out on the baseball diamond on Thursday."

Manatee has already clinched the top spot in the Class 5A-District 10 tournament, while Southeast is 13-6. Manatee's Bryan Voelkl and Southeast's Michael Suchy were listed as honorable mention on the network's All-Bay Area Preseason Baseball Team.

Both teams will be in action when the district playoffs begin the week of April 25.

Prep track: Southeast to host Class 2A-District 10 meet

The Class 2A-District 10 track meet is coming to Southeast.

Orgininally scheduled for Thursday at Booker, the meet will instead be run Friday at John Kiker Memorial Stadium, said Southeast athletic director Paul Maechtle.

Cardinal Mooney will join Southeast at the meet, along with Arcadia DeSoto, Booker, Clearwater Central Catholic, Ruskin Lennard, Wauchula Hardee and St. Petersburg Catholic.

On Thursday, Out-of-Door Academy plays host to the Class 1A-District 11 meet. The Thunder, Bradenton Christian and Saint Stephen's will be joined by Sarasota Christian and a slew of schools from St. Petersburg - Admiral Farragut, Canterbury, Keswick Christian and Shorecrest Prep.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Prep baseball and softball: Braden River, Lakewood Ranch, Manatee make BHSN polls

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Braden River's softball team, along with baseball teams from Lakewood Ranch and Manatee, are listed in the latest BHSN polls.

Listed as Next Best after just missing the cut last week, the Pirates cracked the top 10 in the latest poll, which was unveiled April 7, and are ranked ninth. Braden River won a regional playoff game last year for the first time in team history.

The Mustangs are fifth for the second straight week in the baseball poll, while Manatee just missed the top 10, and is listed as Next Best.

The softball playoffs begin April 18, while the baseball postseason gets underway the week of April 25.

Prep tennis: Regional pairings

logo from Here are the pairings for the regional tennis tournament, which begins Tuesday. All matches begin at 3 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Winners advance to Thursday's final.


CLASS 3A - Winter Haven at Lakewood Ranch

CLASS 2A - Lutz Steinbrenner at Bayshore

CLASS 1A - Clearwater Central Catholic at Bradenton Christian


CLASS 4A - Manatee at Vero Beach

CLASS 3A - Lakeland Ranch at Lakewood

CLASS 1A - Out-of-Door Academy at St. Petersburg Shorecrest Prep; St. Petersburg Canterbury/Clearwater Central Catholic at Saint Stephen's.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Prep baseball: Pendleton's Chris Perez a key part of Indians' start

(photo from

The Cleveland Indians are off to their best start since 2002 - thanks in no small part to Bradenton native Chris Perez.

Perez threw a perfect inning Sunday to preserve the Indians' 6-4 win over the Seattle Mariners. It was the fourth save of the year for Perez, who has helped stake the surprising Indians to a 7-2 start.

A graduate of The Pendleton School who also pitched for Manatee, Perez hasn't been scored upon in five innings this season. He's allowed two hits, walked two and struck out three, and is 4-for-4 in save chances.

Perez is coming off a solid 2010 season, when he converted 23 of 27 saves and posted a 1.71 ERA in 63 games.

The St. Louis Cardinals chose Perez with the 42nd overall pick of the 2006 draft before trading him to Cleveland during the '09 season.

Perez and the Indians head to Tropicana Field for a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays from May 27-29. It will be the Indians' lone trip to St. Petersburg this season.

Prep baseball: Bayshore's Ryan Pope off to Triple-A

(photo by Tiffany Tompkins-Condie)

Bayshore graduate Ryan Pope begins the baseball season one step closer toward becoming a major-leaguer.

Pope is on the roster of the New York Yankees' Triple-A affiliate in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

The pitcher spent all of last season with the organization's Double-A team in Trenton, N.J, and this is the first time he has cracked a Triple-A roster, and he is on the seven-day disabled list.

Pope, who is also listed on the Yankees' 40-man roster, pitched out of the bullpen for the majority of last season and recorded 17 saves with the Thunder.

The Yankees took Pope, who graduated from Bayshore in '04, during the third round of the 2007 draft, making him the first player ever drafted from the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Prep baseball: Tigers, Pirates to play at McKechnie

(photo from Wikipedia) While the Marauders are away, the Pirates and Tigers will play. Braden River and Palmetto will move to McKechnie Field for a 3 p.m. game Saturday. The Bradenton Marauders, a high Single-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates who play their first home game of the summer tonight, head back to Charlotte County on Saturday to play the Stone Crabs. The Marauders return home Sunday to open a seven-game homestand. The Pirates and Tigers last played McKechnie in April 2009, when Braden River won 5-2. Bradenton Christian and Saint Stephen's played a game there last season, as well.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Prep baseball: Milledge designated for assignment

(photo by Chicago Tribune)

The Chicago White Sox have designated Lastings Milledge for assignment, according to a story on

The Palmetto native and Lakewood Ranch grad made the team after a strong spring. He appeared in two games for the White Sox and went 1-4 with a double and a run scored. The White Sox will replace him on the roster with relief pitcher Jeff Gray.

If Milledge makes it through waivers, he can either sign with another team or return to the White Sox as a minor-leaguer.

"Personally, it was very hard for me to do it," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said in a story by's Doug Padilla, adding the decision was based less on Milledge's performance and more on Chicago's need for depth in the bullpen. "He handled it very well. I talked to Milledge about the problem we have. Unfortunately, that's part of the game. It's one of the hardest talks I've ever had with any of the players."

A first-round pick of the New York Mets in 2003, Milledge has also played with the Mets, Washington Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Boys weightlifting: State qualifers

Four area lifters qualified for the boys state weightlifting meet, scheduled for Friday, April 15 (Class 2A) and Saturday, April 16 (Class 1A) at the Kissimmee Civic Center.
In Class 2A, Braden River's Nathan Kirkman is seeded 10th at 219 pounds, and Manatee's Drakkar Wilson is 14th at heavyweight.
There are 18 qualifiers in each weight class, and rankings are determined by each lifter's total during the district meets.
In Class 1A, Southeast's David Pascual is 11th at 119 pounds, and Cardinal Mooney's Alex Nugent is fifth at 169 pounds.
Nugent placed first during last week's Class 1A-District 8 meet, earning him an automatic berth to state.
Kirkman, Pascual and Wilson earned at-large bids.
The top six finishers in each weight class at state earn a medal.

Prep tennis: Flying blind in Class 1A-District 10

When the district tournament rolls around, Out-of-Door Academy's girls tennis coach, Noel Dougherty, has no idea what's coming her way.
The same can be said for the coaches at Saint Stephen's, Cardinal Mooney and Bradenton Christian, all of whom join ODA in Class 1A-District 10.
It's a unique batch of teams - aside from the locals, the league is rounded out by Cape Coral Oasis, Community School of Naples, Fort Myers Canterbury, Fort Myers Evangelical Christian, Naples First Baptist, Naples St. John Neumann and Naples Seacrest Country Day.
That's a lot of miles to cover. Consequently, the area teams never see the Naples/Fort Myers schools until the postseason.
"It's like a horse race - you're walking into it blind," said Dougherty, whose team won the district last season and trails first-place Saint Stephen's in this year's tournament, which resumes this morning at ODA. "You have no idea what they're bringing up...It makes for interesting seeding meetings, but everybody is so professional and it really works smoothly, which is delightful. In the same breath, you absolutely wish you were being exposed to some of the schools down there."
Long bus rides, the mid-season time change and the fact that few courts have lights make it hard for the teams to meet during the regular season. ODA, for example, wouldn't get to a school in Fort Myers or Naples until around 5:30 p.m. during a typical school day.
That would leave about 90 minutes of light to play five singles and two doubles matches, which are best-two-out-of-three affairs.
"We used to play Canterbury and make the trip - every other year, we'd switch on and off," Dougherty said. "But by the time we'd get down there...(and) you're driving all that distance for an eight-match pro set..."
The Thunder faced Mooney, Saint Stephen's and BCS during the regular season and filled the rest of the schedule with teams such as Braden River, Lakewood Ranch and Sarasota.
Dougherty would rather see more of her district foes, especially those are the players the Thunder need to beat.
"Maybe there will come a time when somebody will get lights, and maybe we could hold a tournament," Dougherty said.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Prep softball: Braden River keeps rolling

(photo from Braden River High School Athletic Boosters)

Braden River's dominance on the softball diamond continues.
The Pirates, powered by the two-pronged pitching attack of Courtney Mirabella and Hannah Loyer, won the Diamondback Division's Gold Championship during this weekend's 11th Annual Doc4Life Varsity Showdown in Ocala.
The Pirates didn't allow a run in four games and capped their run with a 4-0 win over Dunnellon in the championship game.
Mirabella allowed four hits, struck out 13 and didn't issue a walk in the final. She began the tournament by tossing a perfect game against Satellite, striking out 15.
Mirabella also pitched 3-plus innings of perfect relief against Arch Bishop McCarthy, striking out eight.
Loyer was nearly as good, tossing a two-hit shutout and striking out 12 against Vanguard, and striking out nine, walking one and yielding three hits against Arch Bishop.
Offensively, Kenya Yancy homered and scored five runs, Jessica Cadorette homered and Jada Schopfer drove in four runs for the Pirates, who improved to 19-2.
Braden River, which won a regional playoff game for the first time in program history last year, is hoping to take the momentum into the Class 4A-District 10 tournament, which gets underway Monday, April 18.

Prep tennis: Postseason is here

(image from

Just another reminder the 2010-11 prep season is almost complete - here come the spring playoffs.
District tennis begins Monday, with area teams playing in tournaments around Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties.
The No. 1 singles and doubles champions advance to the state tournament,which begins the week of April 18.
The top two overall teams advance to regional play, which begins Tuesday, April 12.

Class 4A-District 7 at Sarasota
When: Monday (8 a.m.) and Tuesday (8:30 a.m.)
Locals: Manatee
Others: North Port, Plant City, Sarasota, Riverview

Class 3A-District 10 at Punta Gorda Charlotte
When: Tuesday (8 a.m.) and Wednesday (9 a.m.)
Locals: Braden River, Lakewood Ranch, Palmetto
Others: Punta Gorda Charlotte, Port Charlotte, Venice

Class 2A-District 9 at Bayshore
When: Monday (10 a.m.) and Tuesday (TBA)
Locals: Bayshore, Southeast
Others: Arcadia DeSoto, Booker, Englewood Lemon Bay, St. Petersburg Lakewood, Seminole Osceola

Class 1A-District 10 at Saint Stephen's (girls) and Out-of-Door Academy (boys)
Note: Out-of-Door Academy hosts boys and girls Tuesday
When: Monday (9 a.m.) and Tuesday (TBA)
Locals: Bradenton Christian, Cardinal Mooney, Out-of-Door Academy, Saint Stephen's
Others: Cape Coral Oasis, Community School of Naples, Fort Myers Canterbury (girls only), Fort Myers Evangelical Christian, Naples First Baptist, Naples Seacrest Country Day

Friday, April 1, 2011

Prep football: Your vote counts in my poll

You may notice something different on the right side of Prep Rally - our first poll.
Since the 2011 prep football schedules were unveiled today, we are asking you which school has the toughest road to hoe next fall. And since next year marks the first of the new district cycle, you will notice all of the teams are squaring off with some new opponents, so take a hard look at each team's schedule before making your choice.
You can vote for any of the 10 schools in our coverage area, and all voting is anonymous, so even if you don't think your favorite team has the roughest schedule, nobody has to know.
Not even me.

Prep football: 2011 schedules unveiled


The Florida High School Athletic Association unveiled the 2011 football schedules Friday - roughly a month before the start of spring practice.
Here are schedules for the area teams, all of whom are looking to finish their season at the Florida Citrus Bowl - cite of the this year's state championship games.
Each school is responsible for the accuracy of each schedule.
Home games are in caps.
*-district game

Sept. 2 at Tampa Catholic
Sept. 9 at Port Charlotte
Sept. 30 vs. CYPRESS
Oct. 7 at Palmetto*
Oct. 14 at Braden River
Oct. 21 vs. SOUTHEAST*
Oct. 28 at Arcadia DeSoto*
Nov. 11 vs. SARASOTA

Sept. 9 at North Port
Sept. 16 vs. PALMETTO
Sept. 23 at Riverview
Sept. 30 at Port Charlotte
Oct. 7 at Manatee*
Oct. 14 vs. BAYSHORE
Oct. 21 vs. SARASOTA*
Nov. 4 vs. VENICE*
Nov. 11 at Palmetto Ridge

Sept. 2 at Lakeland Christian
Sept. 9 at St. Petersburg Northside Christian
Sept. 30 at. St. Petersburg Canterbury*
Oct. 14 at. Tampa Carrollwood*
Oct. 21 at. St. Petersburg Admiral Farragut*

Sept. 2 vs. LABELLE
Sept. 16 at Lake Placid
Sept. 30 at Clearwater Central Catholic
Oct. 14 at St. Petersburg Catholic
Oct. 21 at Frostproof*
Nov. 4 at Fort Meade*

Sept. 2 at Braden River
Sept. 9 vs. SOUTHEAST
Sept. 16 at Bayshore
Sept. 23 at Gulfport Boca Ciega*
Sept. 30 at Palmetto
Oct. 28 at Largo*
Nov. 4 at Seminole Osceola*

Sept. 2 at Our Lady of Good Counsel (Md.)
Sept. 9 vs. RIVERVIEW
Sept. 16 vs. DON BOSCO PREP (N.J.)
Sept. 30 vs. SOUTHEAST
Oct. 7 vs. BRADEN RIVER*
Oct. 14 vs. CYPRESS BAY
Oct. 21 vs. VENICE*
Oct. 28 at Palmetto
Nov. 4 at Sarasota*
Nov. 11 at Lakewood Ranch

Sept. 16 vs. MOORE HAVEN*
Sept. 23 at Naples St. John Neumann*
Oct. 21 at Southwest Florida Christian*
Oct. 28 at First Baptist Academy*
Nov. 4 at Saint Stephen's*
Nov. 11 at Cardinal Mooney

Sept. 2 vs. RIVERVIEW
Sept. 9 at Sarasota
Sept. 16 at Braden River
Sept. 23 at Arcadia DeSoto*
Oct. 7 vs. BAYSHORE*
Oct. 28 vs. MANATEE
Nov. 4 at Southeast*
Nov. 11 at Trinity Catholic

Sept. 2 at Naples St. John Neumann*
Sept. 30 at. St. Petersburg Shorecrest Prep
Oct. 7 at Moore Haven*
Oct. 21 at Fort Myers Evangelical Christian*
Oct. 28 at Community School of Naples*

Sept. 2 vs. LARGO
Sept. 9 at Lakewood Ranch
Sept. 16 at Booker
Sept. 23 vs. SARASOTA
Sept. 30 at Manatee
Oct. 14 at Riverview
Oct. 21 at Bayshore*
Oct. 28 at Wauchula Hardee*
Nov. 4 vs. PALMETTO*