Chris Bernhardt Jr.

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A resident of Spring Hill since 1986, Chris graduated from Springstead High in 1999 before moving on to earn a bachelor's degree in journalism at the University of Central Florida. In summer of 2003 he joined the staff at Hernando Today, working at the paper for 11 years as a sports reporter, the last three as sports coordinator in charge of the paper's sports coverage. For live updates follow on twitter @cpbernhardtjr.

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Spring Hill “O”Zone teams take part in states

Photo provided

The Spring Hill National "O"Zone All-Stars. Front row (from left): Ricky Engley, Jacob Rief, Brendan Anderson, Johnny Drewal and Justin Sessera. Back row (from left): head coach Larry Marsh, assistant coaches Vince Anderson and Shane Thompson, Rylan Thompson, Trevor Brady, Ian Finnan, Kaden Plummer, Marco Ramos, Matt DeHart and Omario Morris. Photo provided

With no district tournament, Spring Hill Dixie Baseball sent two entrants into the “O”Zone (age 11-12) All-Stars State Tournament at the MERE Complex in Marianna.
In the double-elimination event, which began July 15, Spring Hill American had the longest run, going 2-2.
On the opening day of action, SH American started off with a 4-3 win over Sneads. On July 16, a rain-soaked Sunday, SH American ended up playing late in the evening, falling to Sebring, 9-8.

Down on the farm

Photos provided

Hernando alum Brandon Lawson started two games for the Charlotte Stone Crabs this past week. Photo provided by Charlotte Stone Crabs

NOTE: Three 2013 Hernando County graduates, Hernando High’s Christian Arroyo (San Francisco Giants) and Brandon Lawson (Tampa Bay Rays), and Springstead’s Brandon Brosher (New York Mets), are currently playing professional baseball, working their way up through the minor leagues within their respective organizations. Hernando Sun will track their progress weekly throughout the next few months.
For the first time in his professional career, Brandon Lawson toed the rubber as a starting pitcher, making two starts this past week for the Advanced Single-A Charlotte Stone Crabs.

Caso earns first pro win in hometown tourney

Photography by Cheryl Clanton, Chris Bernhardt Jr.

Spring Hill native Anthony Caso, surrounded by Spring Hill Lanes co-owners Carlos Martins (left) and George Martins, holds his trophy and check after winning the Crystal Automotive Spring Hill Open. Photo by Chris Bernhardt Jr.

SPRING HILL – For a lefty bowler like Anthony Caso, leaving the 7-pin standing can be the greatest cause of frustration.
But when Caso left that pin on the first ball of his final frame on Sunday, the result was perhaps his happiest moment ever on the lanes.
At Spring Hill Lanes, the house where he bowled as a youth, and a day after his 23rd birthday, Caso cherished the first victory of his pro career, winning the Professional Bowlers Association South Region’s 29th annual Crystal Automotive Spring Hill Open.

Spring Hill Minors come home with state title in tow

Photo provided

Spring Hill American White displays its championship banner following Wednesday's final of the Dixie Baseball AAA Minors All-Stars State Tournament in Marianna. Photo provided

Roughly 34 miles separate the home fields of the Spring Hill and South Sumter Dixie Baseball Leagues.
Yet teams from those two organizations found themselves up in the Panhandle on Wednesday, playing in the final of the AAA Minors (age 9-10) All-Stars State Tournament at the MERE Complex in Marianna.

Down on the farm

Photos provided

Sprinstead alum Brandon Brosher playing for the Columbia Fireflies in the New York Mets organization. Photo by Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images

NOTE: Three 2013 Hernando County graduates, Hernando High’s Christian Arroyo (San Francisco Giants) and Brandon Lawson (Tampa Bay Rays), and Springstead’s Brandon Brosher (New York Mets), are currently playing professional baseball, working their way up through the minor leagues within their respective organizations. Hernando Sun will track their progress weekly throughout the next few months.
Coming off a recent hot streak, Brandon Brosher only got into two games for the Single-A Columbia Fireflies this past week.

Dixie round-up: HYL Angels learn from state showing

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

HYL Angels second baseman Carmen Edwards throws to first at Tom Varn Park on June 18. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

The Hernando Youth League Angels (age 9-10) All-Stars garnered a trip to states with an impressive performance despite finishing as the runner-up in last month’s district tournament.
Afforded the opportunity to keep playing, the HYL Angels had a short two-game stay at the state tournament last weekend in Bristol, but hoped it was productive moving forward.

Brooksville Bulldogs send two to World Series

Photos provided

The Brookville Bulldogs Majors All-Stars celebrate winning a state championship in Bushnell on Sunday. Photo provided

Suffice to say, the Brooksville Bulldogs travel team had a pretty good weekend up in Sumter County.
With two entries in the Dixie Baseball Majors (19U) All-Stars State Tournament at Kenny Dixon Sports Complex in Bushnell, one of them a Pre-Majors (17U) squad, the Bulldogs didn’t even have to bother playing a final when they ended up as the last two teams standing.
At the end of the month, the Bulldogs squads will go on their respective World Series, the Majors to Monroe, La. and the Pre-Majors to Guntersville, Ala. Both tournaments start on July 29.

Spring Hill Senior Boys take states

Photography Cheryl Clanton

Spring Hill Senior All-Star Anthony Anselmo connects on a pitch against West Seminole on Wednesday morning. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

One out away from a state title, yet one run away from blowing a lead, Spring Hill Senior Boys (age 14) All-Stars head coach Jimmy Holt rolled the dice and held his breath.
Holt opted to intentionally walk dangerous West Seminole hitter Tyler Hopkins, loading the bases with two outs in the top of the seventh inning of Wednesday’s Dixie Baseball District 6 Tournament championship game at Anderson Snow Sports Complex.
“It was a really tough decision,” Holt said. “We made a decision to walk him and I literally swallowed my stomach a few times hoping it was the right one.”

Down on the farm

Photos provided

Springstead grad Brandon Brosher batted .409 with two doubles, two homers, five runs batted in and five runs scored during a recent six-game hitting streak for the Columbia Fireflies. Photo submitted

NOTE: Three 2013 Hernando County graduates, Hernando High’s Christian Arroyo (San Francisco Giants) and Brandon Lawson (Tampa Bay Rays), and Springstead’s Brandon Brosher (New York Mets), are currently playing professional baseball, working their way up through the minor leagues within their respective organizations. Hernando Sun will track their progress weekly throughout the next few months.
Brandon Brosher continued his recent hot streak at the plate this week for the Single-A Columbia Fireflies.

Spring Hill American enjoy state experience

Photography Cheryl Clanton

Spring Hill American second baseman Brody Hedick won a "sharp shooter" contest for his accuracy throwing to first base at the state tournament this past weekend. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

The Spring Hill American Dixie Baseball AA Machine Pitch (age 7-8) All-Stars came into the summer as a young squad facing lowered expectations.
Yet the local crew ended up placing second at the District 6 Tournament last month at Ernie Wever Youth Park, and last weekend took part in the state tournament at the Max Long Recreational Complex in Sebring.

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