With all the winter sports now officially concluded in Hernando County, we move into the spring season of athletics and it brings on baseball and softball. Along with baseball and softball is track and field and spring football. The 2020 season was cut short due to the onset of the novel coronavirus and teams were not able to complete a full campaign. We take a brief look at all the prep baseball teams across Hernando County and what to look forward to this upcoming 2021 campaign.
Nature Coast: The 2020 season was only 10 games for the Sharks and through that, they were at 7-3 when everything was shut down due to the coronavirus. Now back for a full season of baseball and the Sharks are still plenty loaded all around. Nature Coast has already started the season off well with two wins over Inverness Citrus. Justin Montanez is one of the team’s top pitchers they’ll rely on all season long.
Springstead: Going 22-5 just a couple of seasons ago in 2019 was a sign that the Eagles’ baseball program is on the up and up. Sitting at 5-5 when the pandemic began and ending the season at that mark was the new sign that it could be a bit of rebuilding going on at Springstead. The Eagles have started out the season with a 5-4 loss to Crystal River, but expectations are this group should bounce back from the pandemic-shortened campaign. Stay tuned.
Hernando: The always tough Leopards are now one of, if not Hernando County’s top baseball team to start off 2021. Hernando is off to a 2-0 start with back-to-back wins over Weeki Wachee. The Leopards have a myriad of talent under the watch of longtime manager Tim Sims. Hernando has a tough stretch of games coming up as they face back-to-backs against Lecanto and Central, both good programs.
Central: The Bears made one of the most unprecedented playoff runs back in 2019, going 7-22 but winning a district championship and clinching a playoff berth. Central was building on that and then last year happened to cut everything short. Now the Bears are back on the baseball diamond ready to make another run. Central has started off slow with losses to Lecanto and New Port Richey River Ridge.
Weeki Wachee: The Hornets were just finding their stride last season after playing nine games through, sitting at a mark of 5-4 when the 2020 campaign ended. It was a step forward for the program, as Weeki Wachee heads into this 2021 season with high expectations as a district contender of sorts. The Hornets have started off the season slow with losses to the Hernando Leopards back to back, one of the county’s top programs.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.