Hernando

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.

Sports notebook: Eagles repeat with blowout win

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Springstead's Joey Delgatto throws to the plate during Wednesday's 6A-6 semifinal versus Lecanto. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

It was no secret that Springstead’s baseball team entered the Class 6A, District 6 Tournament as the prohibitive favorite to repeat as champion.
But the Eagles certainly didn’t fall short of those expectations this week, recording two blowout wins to collect another first-place trophy.
“We just played real well,” Springstead head coach Shawn Laferty said. “Defensively, we made one error. That’s been our M.O. all year. We played good defense, had good pitching and hitting when we need to.

Bats heat up as Sharks take district title

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Nature Coast's baseball team celebrates after the final out of Friday night's 5A-7 championship game. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

Nature Coast’s baseball team came into the Class 5A, District 7 Tournament seeded third behind county rivals Hernando and Central respectively, having gone 1-3 against those two in the regular season.
Furthermore, the Sharks opted to use ace lefty J.P. Gates in a first-round 12-1 win over Gulf on Tuesday, leaving him unavailable the remainder of the tournament.

County softball teams go 3-for-3 in region quarters

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Springstead pitcher Kama Woodall, who threw a perfect game, readies for a pitch in the batter's box during Wednesday's regional quarterfinal. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

SPRING HILL – Three Hernando County prep softball entered regional play on Wednesday, and all three will be back in action for next Tuesday’s semifinals.
That’s the situation after Hernando, Nature Coast and Springstead all recorded quarterfinal wins to advance to the Sweet 16.
For the Lady Eagles, seeking their second straight trip to the Elite Eight after repeating as Class 6A, District 6 champions last week, it was another day at the office for senior pitcher Kama Woodall.

Sports notebook: Springstead rallies for district repeat

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Springstead catcher Paige Pfent had the game-winning single in Thursday's 6A-6 final. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

Suffice to say, Springstead’s softball team’s road to a repeat district championship hit a significant speed bump halfway through Thursday night’s Class 6A, District 6 final.
Host Crystal River had shown it could stand up to the once top-ranked Lady Eagles a few weeks earlier, holding on for a 2-1 win at Springstead’s home field on April 4.
This time around, the Lady Pirates built a 4-0 advantage through the top of the fourth, but couldn’t stave off the top seed, who rallied to tie it up twice and eventually pulled out a 7-6 victory in eight innings.

Hernando makes statement, knocks off Nature Coast for district title

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Hernando's Ali Shenefield delivers a pitch against Nature Coast in Thursday night's 5A-7 final. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

BROOKSVILLE – Over the past two seasons, much of the local prep softball discussion has centered around two programs, Springstead and Nature Coast.
After all, those two teams did win district titles and advance to the Elite Eight a year ago, and they’ve met in back-to-back Leopard Slam finals.
Quietly, though, Hernando has built a case for belonging in that same class, and on Thursday night on the Lady Sharks’ home field they cemented that claim, defeating the top-seeded Lady Sharks in the Class 5A, District 7 championship game, 4-0.

Sports notebook: Sharks double up on track district titles

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Nature Coast senior Kaitlyn Pierce won the 400 meter (1:04.88), came in second in the triple jump (33-1) and placed third in the 200 (27.98) in Friday's district meet. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

District championships have become a tradition for the Nature Coast track and field team, and nothing changed on Friday at Anclote High.
Both the boys and girls defended their Class 2A, District 7 crowns, the Lady Sharks tallying 199 points to far outdistance second-place Weeki Wachee (108), while their male counterparts totaled 159, well ahead of Zephryhills with 116.

Sports notebook: Springstead softball ramps up competition

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Springstead, led by pitcher Kama Woodall, took on two other ranked softball teams this past week. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

As a team with Final Four aspirations, Springstead softball can’t be accused by anyone of playing a soft schedule.
The Lady Eagles, ranked fourth in this week’s Miracle Sports state poll for Class 6A, took on the No. 1 team in 2A, Academy at the Lakes in Land O’ Lakes, on Monday and suffered a 4-0 loss.
After dusting 6A-District 6 foe Lecanto the next night, 12-2, behind home runs by Kayla Cruz, Paige Pfent and Kama Woodall, Springstead (19-3 overall, 8-2 6A-6) knocked off Belleview, which came into the week ranked fifth in 6A, 3-1 on Thursday night.

Sports notebook: Central lifter Walker earns state medal

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Central's Dominique Walker placed fifth at states on Saturday, earning a medal at 199 pounds. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

Two Hernando County lifters competed in Saturday’s Class 1A FHSAA Finals, and one left DeLand High with a medal in hand.
Central senior Dominique Walker placed fifth at 199 pounds, benching 325 pounds and putting up 265 in the clean-and-jerk for a 590 total. All were personal bests.
“It means a lot to get to states and then to place at states,” Walker said. “I put in the work at home with my dad and it showed today. It’s a blessing to go out in my high school career like this and now I can get ready for college football.”

Nature Coast boys, girls remain tops in county track

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Nature Coast's Kailtyn Pierce competes in the triple jump during Thursday's Hernando-Citrus Classic. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

The names and faces have changed, yet for Nature Coast’s track and field program, the results remained the same in the Hernando-Citrus Classic.
All nine schools from the two counties converged on Weeki Wachee’s football field on Thursday, and both the Nature Coast boys and girls remained the defending champs.
For the Lady Sharks, it was a bit of a surprise, though they scored 170 points to finish well ahead of second-place Lecanto with 135.

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