HomeTeam Hot Shots
Each week, our HomeTeam staffers will nominate male and female Hot Shot athletes from each of the counties we cover. These nominations span Saturday, March 9 through Friday, March 15. Winners get a free T-shirt and bragging rights over every other school in the area. Read up on what made our nominees stand out then look for our writers’ picks for overall winners in Tuesday’s Tampa Bay Times.
Saphara Harrell, Clearwater Central Catholic track: The senior was the lone county girls athlete to win multiple individual titles at the Warrior-Eagle Invitational, taking first in the 1,600 (5:36.68) and 3,200 (12:00.33) to lead the Marauders to a team title.
Sara Hogan, Fivay softball: A few days after signing with PHCC, the outfielder was 3-for-6 with two home runs, a triple, six RBIs and three runs scored in a win over Weeki Wachee.
Nikki Misner, Plant softball: The Panthers' ace went 3-0 in the Lady Canes softball tournament in Clearwater, leading her team to the championship. In two games last Saturday, the senior allowed one earned run and 11 hits in 15 innings. In the final, an eight-inning, 1-0 win against River Ridge, she allowed four hits while fanning 10 and walking one.
Courtney Riddle, Hernando softball: In a return from illness, Riddle was 3-for-3 with two doubles and six RBIs while allowing two hits on the mound in a shutout win over Crystal River. She also batted in four runs and struck out nine batters in an 11-1 victory over Dunnellon.
Danielle Scott, Plant softball: In the sophomore’s first two games last Saturday at the Lady Canes tournament, Scott went 4-for-7 with two triples and five RBIs. She hit a walk-off RBI-single in the bottom of the seventh of the Panthers' 3-2 semifinal win against Palm Harbor University.
Mariah Watts, Lakewood softball: The junior pitched two shutouts this week in wins against Dunedin and Dixie Hollins, giving up a combined eight hits. Against the Falcons for first place in Class 5A, District 12, Watts struck out 10 and had a two-run homer in a 3-0 victory.
Brandon Brosher, Springstead: The Oral Roberts signee threw his first no-hitter in a 2-1 win over Lecanto. He struck out 13 batters and also finished 1-for-3 at the plate.
Jonathon Diaz, Jefferson baseball: The sophomore's eight-inning start in a 2-1 victory over Strawberry Crest in the semifinals of the Saladino Tournament prompted longtime Dragons coach Pop Cuesta to say it ranked among the great performances he'd ever seen at the tourney. Diaz allowed one run on five hits, retiring 15 of the final 16 hitters. He was one of three pitchers selected to the all-tournament team.
Nick Nolan, Seminole baseball: The senior threw a no-hitter against Pinellas Park in a key district game, striking out seven to improve to 5-0 in five starts this season.
Michael Rusnak, St. Petersburg Catholic track: The junior won the 400 (50.73 seconds), finished second in the 800 (2:04.81) and ran a leg on the winning 4x800 relay (8:41.90) to help the Barons win the team title at the Warrior-Eagle Invitational.
Zach Whitaker, Land O’Lakes baseball: The Gators star allowed only three hits through six innings against Mitchell and finished 4-for-5 with four RBIs against one of Pasco County’s top teams.
Jamal Wilson, Bloomingdale baseball: The senior was named MVP of the Saladino Tournament after going 12-for-19 with three RBIs and threw 4 1/3 innings - 108 pitches - in a start against Brandon in the quarterfinals. Wilson also pitched a scoreless eighth and scored the winning run against Jefferson in the championship game Friday.