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.
Abby Oliver went 2-for-3 with a double, a run and two runs batted in against the Lady Rattlers, and Woodall also drove in a run while striking out eight in the complete-game effort on the mound.
Already this year, the Lady Eagles have twice beaten Nature Coast, ranked 10th in 5A, and will host the Lady Sharks for a third meeting on Wednesday. In February, they won 3-0 over Tampa-Academy of the Holy Names, now ranked ninth in 4A.
Nature Coast (16-6 overall, 11-1 5A-7) won 4-1 at Gulf in eight innings on Monday, as Alanis Berrios went 3-for-3 with a run and a RBI. Abbey Primavera threw all eight innings, giving up the one earned run on three hits and fanning seven.
The Lady Sharks followed with a 16-1 triumph over Central one night later, with Celine Kordon homering and Chayse Skinner tripling and knocking in three runs. Playing its third game in as many nights, however, proved Nature Coast’s undoing as it fell 2-0 to Crystal River on Wednesday.
Hernando (15-8 overall, 11-1 5A-7) knocked off Gulf on Tuesday, 10-0, thanks in part to Ali Shenefield doubling and tallying three RBI to back her own 1-hit shutout featuring a walk and seven strikeouts over five frames.
On Thursday, the Lady Leopards won 7-4 versus Hudson, Ali Bronson and Taliyah Dowdell plating two runs apiece, with the latter hitting a home run. Kaylee Frascatore was 3-for-4 with two doubles, a run and a RBI. Shenefield struck out 11 in seven innings of work.
Ranked seventh in 6A by ThePrepZone.com in its state baseball poll this week, Springstead (18-2 overall, 9-1 6A-6) stayed hot, pushing its win streak to 10 with district victories over Dunnellon, 3-0 on Tuesday, and Crystal River, 2-0 on Thursday.
In the first game, the Eagles got redemption for a 5-3 loss to the Tigers on March 10. John Oliveira hit two doubles and pushed across a run, in support of starter Jack Jasiak (six innings, two hits, five strikeouts). Closer Dominic Marrone struck out the side in the seventh to earn the save.
Against the Pirates, Oliveira had another double and a RBI. Joey Delgatto and Brett Maharaj combined for the 2-hit shutout, striking out 10.
Over at Hernando (12-7 overall, 9-1 5A-7), the Leopards collected a 9-1 victory over Ridgewood on Tuesday, but fell 8-3 to Crystal River on Wednesday preceding a 13-3 drubbing of Gulf on Friday.
Logan Flood had a 3-for-4 night, smacking two doubles and scoring three times with a RBI against the Rams, and Austin Legg and Trevor Vendrone both chipped in two RBI. Cameron Price gave up an unearned run on two hits and a walk over six innings, whiffing five.
Central (12-7 overall, 7-4 5A-7) pulled out a pair of 3-2 wins, over Gulf on Tuesday and Nature Coast on Friday. Justin Chevalier was 2-for-4 with a run against the Buccaneers, while Adam Palma and Marcus Rodriguez each had a RBI.
The Sharks (13-6 overall, 8-4 5A-7) had previously beaten Hudson on Tuesday, 11-1, and Citrus on Thursday, 8-3.
Weeki Wachee (5-14 overall, 2-8 6A-6) has suddenly won three of four, including twice this past week. In a 10-8 victory at Lecanto in eight innings on Tuesday, Dalton Mosser doubled, tripled, finished 4-for-5, scored three times and tacked on three RBI. Mosser even got the final out to record a save. Cameron Sereda went 3-for-5 with a triple, a run and two RBI, and Matthew Webb also drove in two.
The Hornets pounded River Ridge on Thursday, 17-3. Nick Scarangella and Austin Seeman both ended up 2-for-3 with three RBI, while Larry McLeod was 3-for-3 with two runs and two RBI. Sereda went 2-for-4 with two doubles, a run and two RBI, and John Moran knocked in two runs.
With the postseason for other spring sports getting underway, Springstead’s track and field team took part in the 3A-District 7 Meet held at Lecanto on Wednesday. The top four placers in each event earned a spot in the 3A-Region 2 Meet this coming Saturday at Lakeland-George Jenkins, and a handful of Eagles will be competing.
Junior Jacy Scharlow collected a district title on the girls side with a first-place 5-2 in the high jump, and teammate Yhanni Batts tied for third, leaping 4-8. Charlize Soares added a second-place 34-3/4 in the triple jump.
For the boys, senior Jordan Wright came in first in the 110 hurdles (16.11) and junior Kyle Manuel did the same in the discus (149-7). Manuel was also third in the shot put (44-5 1/2).
Sophomore Nathan Sims had a strong day, taking third in the 100 meter (11.48), the 200 (23.41) and the long jump (20-2 1/4). Noah Holmes was third in the 300 hurdles (44.34), Randy Morgan placed fourth in the long jump (19-11 3/4) and the 4x100 relay took second (44.68).
Follow Chris Bernhardt Jr. on Twitter @cpbernhardtjr.