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Prep Sports Report

Bob Putnam, Rodney Page, Kelly Parsons

HomeTeam 25: Baseball rankings for Tampa Bay

In just a few short years, coach Richie Warren has turned around Berkeley Prep's baseball fortunes.

Scott Purks | Special to the Times

In just a few short years, coach Richie Warren has turned around Berkeley Prep's baseball fortunes.



1. Berkeley Prep (14-2)

This week: Tuesday-Thursday at IMG Tournament

Scoop: The Bucs have four games guaranteed this week, so all pitchers on deck. Casey Keller is 5-0 with a 0.23 ERA and Julian Bosnic is 6-0 with a 0.38 ERA. Those guys must eat innings at IMG.

2. Steinbrenner (13-3)

This week: Tuesday at Bloomingdale, Thursday vs. Plant

Scoop: The Warriors won the Saladino Tournament and have now won eight straight. They must guard against post-tournament blues, which sometimes happens to Saladino winners. And this is not an easy week, with district foe Plant looming.

3. Alonso (13-4)

This week: Tuesday vs. Plant

Scoop: A light week is needed for the Ravens, who advanced to the Saladino final before losing to Steinbrenner 6-4 in 10 innings. That was Alonso’s first loss since dropping its first three games of the season. The Ravens have clearly figured things out.

4. Mitchell (11-2)

This week: Tuesday-Saturday at Farm Bureau Classic

Scoop: Since losing to Northeast in early March, the Mustangs have won four straight. They are the likely favorites in the Farm Bureau tournament, a field that consists of mostly Pasco and Hernando schools. Jakob Mattos has been a solid No. 1 pitcher, but Mitchell must find some depth to be tournament champions.

5. King (11-3)

This week: No games scheduled.

Scoop: King just missed out on the Saladino quarterfinals, falling 9-5 to Plant on the final day of pool play. The Lions have time to regroup before a tough matchup with Saladino champion Steinbrenner next week. Kobe Barnum continues to lead the team with a .417 average and 14 RBIs.

6. Bishop McLaughlin (10-2)

This week: Tuesday-Saturday at Farm Bureau Classic

Scoop: If not for a seventh-inning comeback to beat Carrollwood Day last week, the Hurricanes would have lost two straight after falling to Central 5-4 earlier in the week. Now comes a four-game marathon, which started off right with Monday’s 10-0 win over Citrus. Chris Berglund and Dillon Morton combined for seven RBIs, with Berglund picking up the win on the mound.

7. Jesuit (12-3)

This week: Tuesday at Tampa Catholic,  Wednesday vs. Calvary Christian.

Scoop: The Tigers are reeling a bit. They have lost three of their past five games and two straight last week. Three straight games this week (including Monday’s 4-3 win over Miami Southridge) could be tough for a team that is thin on pitching due to injuries.

8. Land O’Lakes (13-1)

This week: Tuesday-Friday at Farm Bureau Classic

Scoop: The Gators are unbeaten no more, falling in the first round of the Farm Bureau Classic, 3-2 to Nature Coast in eight innings. A usually stellar pitching staff will have to find a way to regroup for the remainder of the tournament.

9. East Lake (11-4)

This week: Tuesday-Friday at Dunedin Spring Classic

Scoop: The Eagles have won five straight and beat both Jesuit and Countryside last week. Christian James has emerged as an ace, and Kevin Lambert continues to swing a hot bat, as his home run against Jesuit proved. They are one of the favorites in the Dunedin Tournament.

10. Strawberry Crest (11-4)

This week: Tuesday at Armwood, Thursday vs. Wharton

Scoop: The Chargers won three games in the Saladino tournament before losing to Riverview in the quarterfinals. Alex Kachler is the top hitter with a .354 average and nine RBIs. Senior Brandon Harris has improved to 6-0 with a 0.64 ERA.

11. Countryside (11-4)

This week: Tuesday-Friday at Dunedin Spring Classic

Scoop: The Cougars have been a bit inconsistent that past two weeks. A big win over Jesuit was followed by a 10-0 loss to Seminole. Then a big 9-2 win over Palm Harbor University was followed by a 4-2 loss to East Lake. Hard to tell what Countryside can put together this week in Dunedin, though the Eagles did beat Bogie 6-0 on Day 1.

12. Osceola (11-3)

This week: Tuesday-Thursday at IMG Tournament

Scoop: The Warriors don’t have an overpowering pitching staff, but they do have enough arms to do well in tournaments. They will try to bounce back from a 3-0 loss to Palm Harbor University, in which they got only three hits. The Warriors notched a big win in the opener Monday, defeating Cullman (Ala.) 2-1 in 17 innings.

13. Brandon (12-4)

This week: Thursday at Lennard

Scoop: Brandon had two losses in the Saladino tournament, but one was 2-1 in eight innings to Steinbrenner. No shame in that. Antonio Velez is pounding the ball. He has a .406 batting average.

14. Northeast (11-4)

This week: Tuesday at Camden Military (S.C.), Wednesday at Greenville (S.C.)

Scoop: The Vikings started their South Carolina trip on the wrong foot. Six players were hit with the flu bug and the first game was a 16-3 loss to Lexington, S.C. They did rebound on Monday with 9-2 win over York. Ryan Cook, who is hitting .362, had a triple and double in Monday’s win.

15. Plant (11-5)

This week: Tuesday at Alonso, Thursday at Steinbrenner

Scoop: The Panthers advanced to the Saladino semifinals before getting shut out 6-0 by Alonso. They’ll get the Saladino runnerup again this week. And it that wasn’t enough, they’ll play Saladino champion Steinbrenner as well.

16. Nature Coast (13-2)

This week: Tuesday-Saturday at Farm Bureau Classic

Scoop: Before last week’s loss to a Knoxville (Tenn.) team, the Sharks were one of the hottest teams in the area, winning 10 in a row. Nature Coast bounced back in a big way, handing Land O’Lakes its first loss of the season in the Farm Bureau Classic opener. You name a category and sophomore Jonathan Gates likely leads it for the Sharks, including 28 RBIs, second-best in the state behind only Lakewood SS Bo Bichette, according to MaxPreps.

17. Springstead (13-3)

This week: Tuesday-Friday at Farm Bureau Classic

Scoop: Springstead is on a roll entering this week’s spring break tournament. The Eagles have won seven straight and should not be taken lightly. Jake Murray is hitting .404 to lead the offense. Miguel Martinez is leading the pitching staff with a 6-1 record and a 0.77 ERA.

18. Hillsborough (8-5)

This week: Thursday vs. Chamberlain

Scoop: The Terriers are in a bit of a tailspin, losing two of three games in Saladino pool play and five of their last eight games overall. The week’s lone meeting against 0-15 Chamberlain should help them get back on track. Tim Elko continues to lead the district in multiple categories, including batting average (.553), RBIs (18) and home runs (three).

19. Plant City (9-4)

This week: Tuesday vs. Newsome, Thursday vs. Bloomingdale

Scoop: The Raiders’ only loss last week in the Saladino tournament was 9-6 in nine innings to Freedom. That was followed with a 21-4 win over Chamberlain. Dalton Wingo is hitting .415 with 17 RBIs to lead an offense that is hitting . 317.

20. Durant (9-5)

This week: Thursday vs. East Bay

Scoop: The Cougars had a rough go of things at Saladino, drawing eventual champion Steinbrenner in the opener and finishing 1-2 in pool play. Durant, currently second in 8A-6, gets another shot at district leader Plant City next week.

21. Bloomingdale (9-6)

This week: Thursday vs. Plant City

Scoop: The Bulls went 1-2 at Saladino, including a 2-1 Day 1 loss to 8A-6 leader Plant City. Bloomingdale beat the Raiders 5-3 earlier in the season. The Bulls will see if they can make it two out of three Thursday. Andrew Tubb leads the Bulls on the mound, with a 4-0 record, 1.02 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 20.2 innings pitched.

22. Robinson (10-5)

This week: Tuesday vs. Lennard, Thursday vs. Sickles

Scoop: The Knights had to face eventual runnerup Alonso twice in the Saladino tournament, losing both. They will try to bounce back this week against two non-district teams. Matthew Steckel is hitting .409 with 11 RBIs to lead the Knights.

23. Newsome (10-4)

This week: Tuesday at Plant City, Thursday at Riverview

Scoop: The Wolves went 1-2 in the Saladino tournament, and it doesn’t get any easier this week. They are only hitting .228 as a team. Beau Nichols is 3-0 in six starts with a 0.52 ERA.

24. Palm Harbor University (8-5)

This week: Tuesday-Friday at Dunedin Spring Classic

Scoop: The Hurricanes went 2-1 last week, their first winning week all season. John Pinchman threw a 3-0 shutout against Osceola in his last start. A.J. Hrica continues to lead an offense that sprays the ball all over the field.

25. Riverview (10-6)

This week: Tuesday at Tampa Bay Tech, Thursday vs. Newsome

Scoop: Riverview picked up two wins last week in the Saladino tournament before losing to Steinbrenner. Anthony Gonnella is hitting an even .400 and Frank Tarnok isn’t far behind at .375.

On the bubble: Northside Christian (13-3), Zephyrhills (8-6), Keswick Christian (13-1), Indian Rocks Christian (9-7), River Ridge (8-6), Calvary Christian (9-5), Freedom (7-7), Seminole (9-7), Pinellas Park (8-7), Central (9-6)

[Last modified: Tuesday, March 22, 2016 11:48am]


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