With Hernando’s 3-2 loss to Keystone Heights in the Class 5A, Region 2 final, prep softball in Hernando County concludes and caps one of the best seasons the county has seen in quite some time. Hernando was once again a force and was able to notch a district championship and a couple postseason victories in the process. Springstead wasn't too far behind, but fell in the region semifinals in Class 6A against district rival Crystal River. Heading back over to Brooksville, Nature Coast continues its strong district rivalry against Hernando and narrowly lost to the Leopards 3-2 in the region semifinals. Both Central and Weeki Wachee made strides this season and should be able to contend in the near future. We go team by team and look back on the 2018 campaign.
Central (5-20): Competing in a district that features Hernando, Nature Coast and up and coming Wesley Chapel Cypress Creek is never an easy task and that’s what the Bears had to battle through during the 2018 season. Central showed signs of competing within the district and outside of it coming close to upending schools like Gulf, Hudson and Lecanto. The Bears do return Kenna McQuown next season, as the junior batted over .400 and notched 27 hits this year.
Hernando (25-4): From hitting nearly .400 as a team for the 2018 season to belting 16 home runs to winning the Class 5A, District 7 championship, there’s not enough to say about the Leopards strong run this season. Hernando was on the cusp of reaching states, before being upended by Keystone Heights. Despite the region final loss, the Leopards should be strong again in 2019 as they’ll return ace pitcher Ali Shenefield and a host of others from this season’s squad.
Nature Coast (19-11): The Sharks were undoubtedly the biggest threat to Hernando in Class 5A, District 7 and nearly defeated their district rivals in the region semifinals. A close 3-2 loss to the Leopards proves the Sharks are not too far away from getting the best of the district’s best team. Nature Coast was able to win a playoff game over Taylor in the opening round and Hernando County 2018 prep softball wrap up will no doubt be a contender once again in 5A-7.
Springstead (24-5): In what looked to be a deep playoff run brewing for Springstead, ended up concluding a bit prematurely in the region semifinals in a 3-2 loss to district rival Crystal River. The Eagles graduate one of their best senior classes in quite some time, but will still return enough talent to be the cream of the crop in Class 6A, District 6. Springstead will have to overcome the graduating losses of Paige Pfent and Kayla Cruz.
Weeki Wachee (4-21): The Hornets were a very green group playing out of Class 6A, District 6 and playing against the likes of Crystal River, Dunnellon and Springstead was tough enough. Weeki Wachee, however, has some solid pieces that are up and coming for 2019, including Madison Moran. Moran batted over .300 and collected 23 hits for the Hornets.