It was a busy week for Hernando County’s prep baseball programs, as they played host to the Farm Bureau Insurance Classic. The five-day long tournament came to an end on Friday night, with Mitchell defeating South Sumter in the final at Hernando’s Emerson Field, 2-1.
Among the county schools, Springstead came within a game of reaching the championship contest, falling to South Sumter in a semifinal on the Eagles’ field on Thursday, 6-5 on a walk-off in the seventh inning. Springstead (14-4) had defeated Wesley Chapel on Monday, 11-1, and Bishop McLaughlin on Tuesday, 3-1.
Nature Coast (13-3) won over Land O’ Lakes on Monday, 3-2 in eight innings, but lost to Mitchell on Wednesday, 7-2, with both games played at Weeki Wachee. The Sharks were set to take on Bishop McLaughlin at Hernando on Friday, however rained forced a cancelation.
Hernando and Central, which also hosted games, went 1-2. The Leopards (9-8) fell to Crystal River on Monday, 4-3, before a 7-2 triumph over Pasco on Tuesday and a 4-2 loss to Land O’ Lakes on Thursday.
The Bears (9-8) topped Lecanto on Monday, 5-4, then lost to South Sumter the next day by the same score. They concluded their tournament slate Thursday with a 13-0 defeat at the hands of Citrus.
Weeki Wachee (4-15) went 0-3, losing to Gulf on Monday, 4-3, Land O’ Lakes on Tuesday, 3-0, and Pasco on Thursday, 4-3.
In boys weightlifting, Central earned runner-up honors in Wednesday’s Class 1A, District 11 Meet at South Sumter. The Bears scored 45 points, trailing only Citrus with 54. “We made a good run at first and ended up taking second. We had two kids not lift, but overall I thought our kids did really well,” Central head coach Chris Sands said. “We had a surprise district champ in Josh Rivera. He worked his tail off to get that and I’m proud of him.”
Rivera, competing at 238 pounds, benched 245 pounds and had a 215 in the clean-and-jerk for a 460 total. Central’s other district champion was more anticipated as senior Ben Cooper came in first at 119 (185-125—310).
The top six finishers in each weight class advanced to the regional meet this Thursday at River Ridge. Other qualifiers for the Bears included: Bryan List (119), Brian Ureta (129), Anthony Fiore (129), Darion Davis (139), Angelo Giurini (154), Nathan Clotter (169), Dominique Walker (183), Donovan Diaz (199) and Travon Lincoln (heavyweight). “When you’re bringing 11 guys into regionals, you have a chance at placing,” Sands said. “We’re just excited to get that chance to be there and have that experience.”
Hernando, placing third overall with 37, boasted three champs behind Uriah Coniglio at 139 (250-195—445), Abel Terkovich at 199 (285-255—540) and Shawn Bystrom at 219 (305-225—530). Also reaching regionals was Michael Patrick (139), Austin Sternberger (183), Tyler Quigley (199), Hunter Fetrow (238) and Jeremiah Griffin (heavyweight).
Weeki Wachee (fifth, 19 points) had eight regional qualifiers, as well: Antonio Molina (119), Austin Vedder (154), Jake Pasmore (154), Dalton Fletcher (169), Shawn O’Gorman (183), Devon Dupuis (199), Zach Rodriguez (heavyweight) and Izzy Cardona (heavyweight).
Nature Coast, taking seventh (nine), sent two to regionals, with Phillip Orlando and Trevor Gamble both making it at 219.
The previous Friday, Springstead qualified three to regionals at the 2A-6 Meet at Sunlake. Charles Monzo placed first at 129 (200-155—355), as did Nick D’Amico at 169 (295-235—530). Jordan Gilmore also advanced at 119.
Springstead’s softball team defeated county-rival Nature Coast for the second time in four nights on Tuesday, rallying from deficits of 6-0 and 9-7 for a 10-9 victory on Emily Kolwicz’s three-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh.
The Lady Eagles (19-1) added wins over Tampa-Academy of the Holy Names on Wednesday (5-1) and Central on Thursday (10-0). The Lady Sharks (17-3) did not have any other games scheduled for the week.
Nature Coast’s boys tennis team suffered its first loss of the season, falling to Tampa-Jesuit on Wednesday, 7-0. Still, the Sharks (17-1) tallied wins over Springstead on Tuesday, 4-3, and Hernando Christian Academy on Thursday, 7-0, to finish out the regular season.
Follow Chris Bernhardt Jr. on Twitter @cpbernhardtjr.