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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Zena’s four TDs lead Bears to spring win

May 19, 2017 - 01:00

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

May 13, 2017 - 00:43

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.

Sharks gain regional redemption, advance to Sweet 16

May 11, 2017 - 02:28

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

May 10, 2017 - 01:26

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

May 07, 2017 - 01:26

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

May 06, 2017 - 23:23

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

May 04, 2017 - 01:52

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

April 30, 2017 - 00:18

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.

Leopard family enjoying Arroyo’s big-league debut

April 29, 2017 - 01:06

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

San Francisco Giants' Christian Arroyo, a Hernando High graduate, celebrates after hitting a two-run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the seventh inning of a baseball game in San Francisco on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Before the general public, the media and the world became aware, Brooks Timmons received a group text message that he will likely never forget.
His former teammate, classmate and still current close friend was sharing perhaps the greatest news of his life. On Monday, the San Francisco Giants called up their 2013 first-round draft pick, 21-year-old Christian Arroyo.

Hernando makes statement, knocks off Nature Coast for district title

April 28, 2017 - 01:40

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.

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