By Andy Villamarzo
Hernando Sun sports writer
Prep baseball season is winding down around the state of Florida but there’s still two teams from Hernando County that remain in the mix.
In Class 6A, Springstead is coming off a dominating district championship victory against rival Dunnellon and the rival Eagles are now looking to set their sights on a deep postseason run and it begins against the Colts.
The Eagles were expected to reach the playoffs, but in Class 5A, Central enters with a record of 6-21 and surprised everyone by defeating Nature Coast and upending Hudson Fivay for the chance to host a playoff game.
Both regional quarterfinal games will be played in Hernando County, so let’s take a closer look at the matchups for Springstead and Central.
Citra North Marion (16-11) at Springstead (22-4): Fresh off of winning the Class 6A, District 6 championship against district foe Dunnellon, Springstead now shifts its focus to Citra North Marion. The Colts have few common opponents with the Eagles, as North Marion has faced teams like Dunnellon. North Marion faced Dunnellon twice during the regular season and lost by scores of 3-2 and 10-9, respectively. The Eagles got the better of the Tigers in the last go around, upending Dunnellon 9-4 to win the district crown. With a chance to move up the region bracket fairly quickly, Springstead will start pitcher Jack Jasiak on the mound against the Colts. With Springstead sending their ace in for the start, the Eagles are hoping the senior punches their ticket to the region semifinal.
Atlantic (11-9) at Central (6-21): When talking about a Cinderella-type story, you have to mention the season the Bears endured in 2018. Central wasn’t looked at to be a postseason contender by any means as they strolled into the Class 5A, District 7 tournament with just three victories and 21 losses. Since then, the Bears have racked up three straight victories and along with Fivay (9-16), were able to finish below the .500 mark and clinch postseason berths. Now Central rides a three game winning streak heading into the Class 5A postseason and they face an Atlantic team that is coming off a 1-0 loss to Orlando Bishop Moore in the Class 5A, District 8 title game. The Bears will rely upon the pitching of sophomore Ryan Ebberup, whom is 2-5 on the season with an earned run average of 3.84. Winner will face the winner of the Hudson Fivay-Orlando Bishop Moore matchup.
While Hernando High headed into districts in the No. 1 seed, they lost to Fivay in the semi-final 5-1.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.