Primavera on point as Lady Sharks take title

April 15, 2016 - 01:32

Photography Alice Mary Herden

Nature Coast pitcher Abbey Primavera walks off the mound during Thursday's 5A-7 final against Gulf. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

BROOKSVILLE – In its three previous trips to regionals, including each of the past two seasons, the Nature Coast softball team had to settle for the district runner-up spot.
On Thursday night, the Lady Sharks finally found their way to a district championship. Junior ace Abbey Primavera was nearly unhittable in the Class 5A, District 7 Tournament final at Tom Varn Park, paving the way to a 6-1 victory over Gulf.

Pfent powers Springstead to district final

April 14, 2016 - 00:44

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Springstead's Paige Pfent is greeted by her teammates at home plate after her first-inning home run Wednesday night. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

SPRING HILL – Anyone driving past Springstead High at about 7:15 p.m. Wednesday night might still be wondering where that yellow thing came from.
It was a softball off the bat of Lady Eagles catcher Paige Pfent, who hit a towering home run in the bottom of the first inning of a Class 6A, District 6 semifinal against Lecanto.
The solo shot easily cleared two fences in left field and landed in the left-hand northbound lane of Mariner Boulevard, then bounced across the rest of the busy five-lane road and finally came to a stop in the grass across the street.

Eagles’ Murray earns redemption with walk-off

April 13, 2016 - 00:54

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Springstead shortstop Jake Murray uncorks a throw during Tuesday night's game against Nature Coast. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

SPRING HILL – Tuesday night’s game couldn’t have started much worse for Jake Murray. The very first batter reached on the first of three throwing errors by Springstead’s senior shortstop.
Two of those miscues occurred in the opening frame, when visiting Nature Coast pushed across two runs. That made it all the more satisfying for Murray when his teammates mobbed him in the bottom of the seventh, his base hit pushing across the winning run in a 3-2 walk-off victory.

Sports notebook: Hernando girls earn regional repeat

April 10, 2016 - 00:33

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Hernando's Maddie Pickersgill during her match with Crystal River's Olivia Parker Thursday afternoon in Brooksville. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

Three Hernando County tennis teams advanced into regional play as district champions, but only one remained standing after Thursday’s finals.
For the second season in a row, Hernando’s girls collected a regional championship by defeating Crystal River at the Brooksville City Courts. This time around, the Lady Leopards won by a 5-2 score in the Class 2A, Region IV final.

Pfent, Lady Eagles enjoying dream season

April 09, 2016 - 00:06

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Paige Pfent steps into the box for Springstead Friday night against Hernando. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

SPRING HILL – Not a whole lot has gone wrong for Springstead’s softball team throughout the regular season, and with the postseason approaching the Lady Eagles have the luxury of dreaming big.
They concluded the regular season at 23-1 with a 7-0 home victory over Hernando Friday night. Among the stars of the game was sophomore catcher Paige Pfent, just as she has been all year long. Out of the third spot in the batting order, Pfent went 3-for-3 with a pair of run-scoring singles.

Curren, Pickersgill send Leopards to states

April 08, 2016 - 00:12

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Grace Curren plays a shot against Crystal River's Maddie Lewis during Thursday's regional final. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

BROOKSVILLE – The final point and team victory secure, Grace Curren and Maddie Pickersgill collapsed into one another’s arms, an embrace of both supreme relief, celebration and ultimately some sadness.
For the two Hernando seniors, Thursday’s Class 2A, Region IV girls tennis final represented their final time playing for the Lady Leopards at the Brooksville City Courts.

Pierce part of Sharks’ 1-2 punch

April 07, 2016 - 01:02

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Nature Coast's Kaitlyn Pierce prepares for a relay in Tuesday's Citrus-Hernando Track Meet at Weeki Wachee. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

WEEKI WACHEE – Each meet brings an intriguing challenge for Nature Coast girls track and field coach Nikki Pierce, the type any coach would probably love to have.
She must decide how best to configure her lineup, particularly with her two top athletes, Ashley Gentz and Kaitlyn Pierce.

Hernando’s Curren finishing off fine career

April 03, 2016 - 00:23

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Hernando senior Grace Curren returns a shot during the 2A-7 Tournament at Crystal River. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

CRYSTAL RIVER – For the past four years, Grace Curren has dominated the local girls tennis prep circuit. But her time on the court will soon come to a close.
The Hernando senior will lead the Lady Leopards into Tuesday’s regional semifinal against Hudson at the Brooksville City Courts, starting at 3 p.m.

Sports notebook: Three tennis teams finish first in district

April 02, 2016 - 20:37

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Nature Coast's Hunter Schwefringhaus (right) and Dakota Willey team up in No. 1 doubles competition at the 2A-7 Tournament in Crystal River. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

This week’s district tennis tournaments proved fruitful for Hernando County’s prep squads, as three of them collected championship trophies and moved on to regionals next week.
Crystal River played host to the Class 2A, District 7 Tournament for both boys and girls, with action extending into a third day after heavy rained washed away many of Tuesday’s scheduled matches.
By Thursday, the Nature Coast boys and Hernando girls had laid claim to district crowns. The Sharks cruised to the title, locking up first place before finals even began late Wednesday.

Stacy grand slam sparks Sharks

April 02, 2016 - 01:25

Top photo by Alice Mary Herden
Head shot by Chris Bernhardt Jr.

Nature Coast senior Mason Stacy drove in five runs and hit a grand slam in Friday's 18-1 victory at Hernando. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

BROOKSVILLE – Mason Stacy came into Friday night’s game at Emerson Field without a home run on the season, and it’s certainly debatable whether he should have left with one.
Regardless, there’s no arguing the impact of Stacy’s third-inning grand slam that allowed Nature Coast to take control over host Hernando, leading to an 18-1 victory in six innings.
“That was huge I think. Because we were having trouble hitting until then, and then right after that we just piled it on,” Stacy said.