Sports

Keeping up with the Arroyos

AP photos

San Francisco Giants' Christian Arroyo drives in two runs with a double in the 13th inning during a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Saturday, May 20, 2017, in St. Louis. At right are Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and home plate umpire Vic Carapazza. (Chris Lee/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

NOTE: Hernando High graduates Bronson Arroyo (Class of 1995) and Christian Arroyo (Class of 2013) aren’t related, but they’re both playing Major League Baseball this summer. Hernando Sun will track their progress weekly throughout the next few months.

After a solid start to his big-league career playing third base for the San Francisco Giants, the rookie Christian Arroyo has had a tough go of it in May, hitting .180 with a home run and 10 runs batted in over 89 at-bats.

Rivera’s state title school year’s top story

Springstead 113-pounder Richie Rivera finishes off a takedown against Lleyton Taylor of Riverdale in their quarterfinal match in Class 2A state meet action. Rivera won 5-0. Photo by Matt Pfiffner/Citrus Chronicle

With the school year coming to a close in Hernando County, the time has come to reflect back on the 2016-17 prep sports season.
Success was spread out, with all six FHSAA-sanctioned schools boasting at least one district championship team, and the county had an Elite Eight squad in all three seasons, fall, winter and spring.
Here are the top three stories from the past 10 months of action:
1. Rivera overcomes adversity for state crown

Sports notebook: New football coaches make debuts

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

New Weeki Wachee head coach Jacob Gray during Thursday's spring game against Anclote. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

In the long run, this week’s spring football classics will likely be forgotten footnotes for the upcoming prep football season.
But for Nature Coast’s Cory Johns and Weeki Wachee’s Jacob Gray, those exhibitions marked the first time those two new head coaches roamed the sideline at their respective posts.
Johns and the Sharks traveled to Palm Harbor University on Tuesday, since Nature Coast held its graduation on Friday night, and cruised to a 44-14 victory.

Sharks hang tough, fall just short at Bishop Moore

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Nature Coast junior J.P. Gates struck out 11 batters in six innings and homered against Bishop Moore in Tuesday's regional semifinal. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

The Nature Coast baseball team rode a red-hot offense to a district championship repeat and just the second trip to the Sweet 16 in program history.
But perennial state title contender Orlando-Bishop Moore Catholic managed to cool off the Sharks’ bats in Tuesday night’s Class 5A, Region 2 semifinal. Still, visiting Nature Coast certainly held its own, but struck out 16 times and allowed the winning run to score on a wild pitch in the bottom of the sixth inning to fall, 2-1.

Zena’s four TDs lead Bears to spring win

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Cental quarterback Izzy Zena tries to elude the grasp of Hudson's Dominick Rutigliano. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

BROOKSVILLE – Last time Central played a football game, the Bears were absorbing a season-ending 50-12 loss to Hudson in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl and the ending of the prep career of De’Vonta Smith.
More than six month later, on Thursday night, Central was once again looking at the Cobras on the opposing sideline, but the outcome was far different. Behind 265 rushing yards and four touchdowns on the ground by quarterback Izzy Zena, the host Bears capped their spring with a 35-14 exhibition victory.

Eustis bats heat up late, Hernando falls short of Final Four

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Hernando's Taliyah Dowdell takes a swing at the ball during an at-bat Friday night against Eustis. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

BROOKSVILLE – Hernando High’s softball team has spent the past few weeks proving it belonged among the elite squads in the area.
On Friday, the Lady Leopards found themselves in the Elite Eight, hosting Eustis in a Class 5A, Region 2 final at Ernie Chatman Field at Tom Varn Stadium.
After Hernando staved off the Lady Panthers, ranked second in the Miracle Sports state poll in 5A, through four scoreless innings, the visitors busted things open in the fifth and sixth, pulling away for a 6-0 victory.

Two Hernando High baseball players face off in the Majors

Christian Arroyo (left) of the SF Giants and Bronson Arroyo (right) of the Cincinatti Reds before Friday night's game.  Both Arroyos, although unrelated, are from Brooksville and played baseball for Hernando High School.  Photo via #floridacrackerstyle

On Friday Cinco De Mayo a rare occurrence took place during the game that pitted the San Francisco Giants against the Cincinnati Reds. Two players from the same small high school played against each other in a Major League Baseball game. The pitcher for the Reds was Bronson Arroyo and the third baseman for the San Francisco Giant was Christian Arroyo. Both of these players graduated from Hernando High School and even though they share the same last name and hometown, they are unrelated.

Sharks gain regional redemption, advance to Sweet 16

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Nature Coast's Zach Funkhouser hit a solo home run in the Sharks' 7-3 win over Lake Highland Prep. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

Only one Hernando County prep baseball team survived Tuesday’s first round of regionals, and for Nature Coast it was also about gaining a measure of redemption.
The Sharks found themselves hosting Orlando-Lake Highland Prep in a Class 5A, Region 2 quarterfinal, just as they had last year when they allowed four runs in the seventh inning in a 5-3 loss.
This time around, Nature Coast took care of business. Even after giving up two runs in the top of the first, the Sharks rallied right back and pulled away for a 7-3 victory.

Hernando roughs up rival, heads to Elite Eight

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Hernando leadoff hitter Josey Sims gets a bunt down during Tuesday's regional semifinal against Nature Coast. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

BROOKSVILLE – Back on March 30, Hernando High’s softball team had dropped four straight the past two seasons to Nature Coast, and were three outs away from pushing that streak to five.
Then the Lady Leopards scored three times in the top of the seventh inning that night, rallying for a 3-2 victory, and everything changed. They followed that with a 4-0 win in the Class 5A, District 7 title game on the Lady Sharks’ home field on April 27.

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