Weeki Wachee

Sports notebook: County baseball teams stay busy over break

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Springstead's Dominic Marrone gets ready for a pitch in Wednesday's game against Nature Coast. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

With Hernando County public schools out for spring break this week, the sports schedule was relatively lite outside of Friday and Saturday’s Leopard Slam softball tournament.
Yet the county’s baseball teams still kept busy, all playing multiple games throughout the week.

Sports notebook: Gates strikes out 15 in perfect game

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Nature Coast's J.P. Gates threw a perfect game, striking out all 15 batters against Central on Tuesday. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

Nature Coast junior J.P. Gates has literally been unhittable in three starts this season, but on Tuesday he took it to another level.
The hard-throwing southpaw, already committed to the University of Miami, threw a perfect game in a 10-0 win over Central that was shortened to five innings due to the mercy rule.
As if that wasn’t impressive enough, Gates struck out 15. In other words, he fanned every single batter he faced.

Nature Coast sweeps county tennis invite

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Nature Coast's Sierra Remondelli serves during Friday's final day of the county invitational at Delta Woods Park. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

The field wasn’t as complete as originally intended, but for the Nature Coast boys and girls tennis teams, what turned out be a county invitational this week proved a rewarding experience.
While the boys went down to the wire to edge Weeki Wachee, the Lady Sharks dominated two other county squads, as both captured first place in the tournament that was held Thursday and Friday at Delta Woods Park.

Central lifters earn district hardware

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Central's Dominique Walker finished second at 199 in Monday's district meet, with a 315-255--570. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

Last week, the Central boys weightlifting team was on the outside looking in as Hernando and Springstead tied for first place in the county meet.
But this week, it was the Bears taking home a trophy, finishing as the runner-up in Monday’s Class 1A, District 11 Meet at Weeki Wachee. Though Citrus ran away with the team title at 91 points, Central edged Hernando, 29-28.

Springstead’s Rivera wins ‘amazing’ state title

Photography by Matt Pfiffner/Citrus Chronicle

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

Capturing a wrestling state championship requires an incredible amount of mental fortitude all by itself.
But under the circumstances Springstead senior Richie Rivera faced during the Class 2A FHSAA Finals at Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, his accomplishment of placing first at 113 pounds had his coach Bob Levija repeating one word over and over.
“It was amazing,” Levija said. “It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever experienced, that he could stay that focused and wrestled the way he did.
“He wrecked everybody. He was just really on.”

Sports notebook: County wrestlers advance to states

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Hernando's Josh Hulse collected a regional championship on Saturday, winning at 120 pounds as the Leopards finished second in 2A-2. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

A week after both collected district championships, both Hernando and Springstead’s wrestling teams had to tangle with state title contenders in Friday and Saturday’s regional meets.
With that in mind, each squad had to be satisfied with its performance and all four Hernando County programs will have some representation at the FHSAA Finals next weekend at Kissimmee’s Silver Spurs Arena.

Sports notebook: Eagle, Leopard wrestlers earn district titles

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Springstead Richie Rivera (blue and white) was among the Eagles' eight district champions on Saturday. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

For so many years, the idea of Springstead’s wrestlers capturing a district championship seemed like a foregone conclusion.
But after seeing its streak of 11 straight titles come to end last year, and dealing with a tumultuous coaching situation prior to this season, the Eagles were a considerable question mark when this campaign began.
On Saturday, though, Springstead put all that in the rearview mirror, collecting its 30th district crown with a first-place finish in the Class 2A, District 5 Tournament at Citrus.

Lady Eagles, Hornets go down in semis

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

Springstead guard Reagan Huden dribbles down the court during Tuesday's regional semifinal against Sunlake. Photo by Cheryl Clanton

WESLEY CHAPEL – Springstead’s girls basketball team found itself in uncharted territory Tuesday night, making its first-ever appearance in the Sweet 16.
But the opponent was far from unfamiliar, even if the game was in an unusual location. The Lady Eagles faced Sunlake for the fourth time this season, a team they had split with in the regular season before losing to the Lady Seahawks in the district final, 62-54.

Sports notebook: Gray tabbed as new headman for Hornets

Photo provided

Jacob Gray

For the first time in its history, the Weeki Wachee football program will have a new man at the helm and this week the school officially announced the hiring of Jacob Gray as head coach.
The 25-year-old Gray was plucked off the coaching staff of Jacksonville-Bolles, where he served as special teams coordinator for the Class 4A state runner-up Bulldogs.

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