These are the final Hot Shot nominations for this school year from our HomeTeam staffers. The nominations span the state baseball tournament, May 15-23. Read up on what made our nominees stand out, then look for our writers’ pick for overall winner in Tuesday’s Tampa Bay Times. (Female sports wrapped up two weeks earlier than the boys.)
Luis Diaz, Cambridge Christian baseball: The senior shortstop went 2-for-4 and stole a base in the Lancers’ 4-0 loss to Miami Westwood Christian in their Class 2A semifinal. He finished with half of Cambridge’s four total hits in the shutout defeat.
Brett Morales, King baseball: The UF-bound ace pitched seven strong innings in the Lions’ 2-0 defeat to Lynn Haven Mosley in the Class 6A semifinals. He scattered six hits and struck out nine, giving him a total of 26 strikeouts in his last two starts. He also was walked and hit by a pitch.
David Paul, Clearwater Central Catholic baseball: The junior (11-1) was the Marauders’ ace all season and pitched like one in the Class 3A state semifinals. Paul threw seven scoreless innings against Jacksonville Providence, giving up five hits. He also picked off two runners. Providence won 3-1 in the eighth inning, when Paul had thrown more than 100 pitches.
Daniel Portales, Jesuit baseball: The USF signee drove in the Tigers’ only run in a 2-1 loss to Ponte Vedra in the Class 5A semifinals. Portales, who went 2-for-4, also allowed one run on three hits in nearly four innings on the mound.
Paxton Sims, Durant baseball: The junior outfielder was nearly flawless at the plate in the Cougars’ two state tournament games, going 6-for-7 with three RBIs and two runs. In the final against Lake Brantley, Sims went 3-for-3 with a triple and an RBI.