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  1. Region softball: Boca Ciega dispatches Robinson

    Softballpreps

    GULFPORT — Boca Ciega scored three runs in the fifth inning Thursday and used a strong outing from starting pitcher Caylie VanAuken to earn a 6-2 win over Robinson in the Class 5A region semifinal. Boca Ciega will host Lemon Bay today at 4 p.m. …

    Boca Ciega’s Caylie VanAuken turns in another solid start on the mound, finishing with 12 strikeouts in the Pirates’ 6-2 win.
  2. District softball roundup: Countryside, Seminole dispatch top seeds

    Softballpreps

    PINELLAS PARK — With district semifinals this good, Thursday's final could almost be anticlimactic. …

  3. UConn easily dispatches Maryland, vies for third straight title

    College

    TAMPA — At least one college basketball juggernaut remains upright today. A night after Kentucky's men were introduced to mortality, Connecticut's women remained a sleek, sturdy model of infallibility in Sunday's national semifinals at Amalie Arena. …

    Maryland Terrapins forward A'Lexus Harrison (33) wipes a tear after her team loses to the UConn Huskies in the NCAA Final Four semifinals at the Amalie Arena in Tampa on Sunday, April 5, 2015.
  4. District boy soccer: Northeast dispatches Seminole

    Preps

    SEMINOLE— Seminole brought the energy looking for an upset, but failed to maintain the intensity in overtime. …

  5. District volleyball: Osceola dispatches Springstead in five games

    Volleyballpreps

    TRINITY — To almost no one's surprise, Tuesday's first Class 6A-10 district semifinal went the distance. In a match where two even teams couldn't hold momentum for long, Osceola had it when it mattered, beating Springstead 25-15, 11-25, 25-19, 20-25, 15-13. …

  6. District tiebreaker: Berkeley Prep dispatches Tampa Catholic to move on

    Footballpreps

    TAMPA — Tampa Catholic and Fort Meade were moments from kicking off for the first quarter of a three-way tiebreaker to determine the Class 3A-4 district runner up. But Berkeley Prep, the host team for Monday's shootout, was out of sight. …

  7. Jury starts deliberations in Valrico strangulation case

    Criminal

    TAMPA Verdict not in yet in husband's murder trial …

  8. Dispatcher resigns amid investigation of failure to send help for trapped baby

    Publicsafety

    TAMPA — A Tampa police dispatcher who refused to send help to a woman who called 911 after her baby was locked inside a hot car has resigned. Darrell Brown, 25, was under investigation for violating a police department policy on attentiveness to duty when he quit Oct. 2.  …

  9. The latest Dispatches: Burn survivor's words are the balm that soothe

    State

    Set for Floridian in Sunday's Times from award-winner John Woodrow Cox: TAMPA — "Joe Versaggi," he said, lightly bumping fists with the young man in the hospital bed. "Burn survivor." …

    Joe Versaggi.
  10. Tampa police dispatcher faces discipline for handling of trapped baby

    Publicsafety

    TAMPA — A Tampa police dispatcher is facing discipline after he failed to send help to a woman who called 911 after her baby got locked inside a car, officials said. …

  11. Tiffany Lawrence remembered as more than a police dispatcher

    Obituaries

    TAMPA — To an officer on patrol in Tampa, Tiffany Lawrence's voice was one of the most reassuring sounds that could come through the radio. …

    Tiffany Lawrence, left, with friend and fellow TPD employee, Melissa Jammes, right.
  12. Dispatches from Next Door: Burn survivor's words are the balm that soothe

    Humaninterest

    TAMPA — “Joe Versaggi," he said, lightly bumping fists with the young man in the hospital bed. "Burn survivor." …

    Joe Versaggi, 71, has always loved to fly. He was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam and flew on hundreds of death-defying missions that he survived. But eight years ago, the Cessna a friend was flying crashed and left Joe with burns covering 35 percent of his body. He now volunteers at Tampa General Hospital, where he splits his time between driving the courtesy shuttle and talking to the survivors in the burn unit.
  13. Baseball: Sunlake pulls ahead late, dispatches Mitchell

    Baseballpreps

    TRINITY — The Mustangs and Seahawks seemed evenly matched, with comparable win-loss records and pitching stats. For the first five innings Tuesday night, those similarities were obvious. Then Sunlake (9-5) broke away in the sixth, and the game was over.  …

  14. Cruise plane crashes, all 9 on board die (w/video)

    Nation

    SEATTLE — A small plane carrying eight passengers from a cruise ship that departed from Seattle on June 20 crashed in southeast Alaska Thursday afternoon. All nine people on board, including the pilot, were killed, Holland America Line confirmed Thursday night. …

  15. Hillsborough County Sheriff: Six-foot alligator attacks horse in Odessa pasture

    Crime

    Deputies were dispatched to Odessa Thursday evening to corral a six-foot alligator that attacked a horse, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. …

  16. Region baseball: Focused Pasco dispatches Land O'Lakes

    Baseballpreps

    LAND O'LAKES — For most of this season, Pasco has been up and down, here and there and pretty much all over the place. The Pirates won a few games by the mercy rule, and lost a few that way, too, including the district championship. …

  17. U.S. team wins St. Petersburg Grand Slam beach volleyball tourney

    Olympics

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was an early wakeup call for Americans Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson on the final day of the men's competition at the St. Petersburg Grand Slam. …

    Casey Patterson goes for a return in the gold-medal match of the beach volleyball tournament.
  18. Dispatches from next door: A new stage in life

    Humaninterest

    TEMPLE TERRACE — The young woman gripping the microphone glided onto the stage, her 4-inch black heels thumping the thin carpet. "Check, check, check," she said. "Mike one." That evening in Temple Terrace, she prepared to headline a concert for kids in a church hall no bigger than a double-wide mobile home. It had low ceilings with fluorescent lights and the stage was just a raised section of floor. But up there, as she tested the rattling acoustics in a nearly empty room, Terri Saffold beamed as if that was where she most belonged. As if she had never been far from a church's holy stage. But Terri had. …

    Gospel rapper Terri Saffold, a.k.a. Terri Vee
  19. Dispatches From Next Door: The cabana boy grows up

    Humaninterest

    CLEARWATER BEACH — His rusting Nissan puttered up the Memorial Causeway Bridge, its engine wheezing. Mike McIntosh peered at purple clouds swirling just south. "I don't like weather looking like this," he said, his voice a slow-grinding blender. That wind, Mike knew, would make a hard day harder. He coughed and flicked his cigarette out the cracked window.  …

    Mike McIntosh has worked at Clearwater Beach for nearly two decades. But time and tide stop for no man, and Mike can’t be the cabana boy forever.
  20. Boys basketball: Nature Coast dispatches rival Springstead

    Preps

    BROOKSVILLE — Both sides of the gym were packed with fans Tuesday night for a game everyone expected to be close. "Coming into the game, it's a big rivalry," Nature Coast coach David Pisarcik said. "Records go out the window when you face a team like this one." …

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