Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Fighting for the finals

Baseball | Region semifinal preview

Baseball: region semifinal breakdown

Class 2A: Naples St. John Neumann (17-7) at Northside Christian (20-8), 7 p.m.

How they got here: St. John Neumann — beat Shorecrest 2-1; Northside Christian — beat

Community School of Naples 8-7

About St. John Neumann: The Celtics are in the playoffs for the first time since 2005. Will Affleck kept their season going with a two-run homer, his first of the season, in Tuesday's quarterfinal win. Affleck is hitting .412. He can pitch and will most likely start tonight. He is 9-1 this season with a 0.97 ERA.

About Northside: The Mustangs have won seven of their past eight. JoJo Hess, tonight's probable starter, has won six straight after losing his first four. He has got plenty of run support from a strong lineup that includes David Edwards, Ryan McDonald and Robbie Williams.

Up next: The winner faces the Fort Meade-Winter Haven All Saints' winner.

Class 3A

Fort Myers Bishop Verot (16-12) at Clearwater Central Catholic (25-2), 7 p.m.

How they got here: Bishop Verot — beat Tampa Catholic 3-1; CCC — beat Sarasota Cardinal Mooney 6-2.

About Bishop Verot: After starting 4-9, the Vikings have won 12 of 15 games. Bobby Borchering (six HRs) and Austin Flores (five HRs) lead Bishop Verot's offense. Borchering started Tuesday's quarterfinal win against Tampa Catholic.

About CCC: The Marauders, the defending state champions, are in the region quarterfinals for the third straight year. CCC knocked off the Vikings in the region quarterfinals last season and beat them again in the preseason this year. Ryan Weber, the Times' 2007 all-county and all-Suncoast pitcher of the year, most likely will start tonight. Sam Mende, who signed with USF, has a team-high 10 home runs.

Up next: The winner faces the Frostproof-Fort Pierce John Carroll winner.

Class 5A

Plant (25-3) at Dunedin (21-6)

at Englebert Complex, 7:30 p.m.

How they got here: Plant — beat Palm Harbor University 8-6; Dunedin — beat Chamberlain 4-3

About Plant: The Panthers, led by former Largo coach Dennis Braun, are in the playoffs for the first time since 2004. For most of the season, Plant was ranked in the state poll and nationally. Mychal Givens will most likely be the Panthers' starter. He won his first eight games this season before losing the regular-season final to Sickles. He came back to throw a three-hitter in the district semifinals.

About Dunedin: The Falcons have made the playoffs nine times in the past 11 years. But this is their first region semifinal appearance since 2004. In the preseason, Dunedin beat the Panthers 7-3. Max Kreuter, Danny Gardner and Alex Norris combined on a three-hitter in that game. The Falcons will most likely go with Jacksonville recruit Clay Kollenbaum tonight.

The game will air live on

Catch 47, complete with color commentary from Times staff writer John C. Cotey.

Up next: The winner faces the North Port-Bradenton Bayshore winner.

>>Fast facts

Region semifinals

When: TodayAdmission: $6

At stake: A berth in next week's region finals, a best-of-three


Baseball: region semifinal breakdown 05/01/08 [Last modified: Saturday, May 3, 2008 12:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Kevin Cash: 'We've got to turn it around. ... Time is of the essence'


    The question to manager Kevin Cash was about a rematch with the Mariners this weekend at the Trop, but he made clear this afternoon that with his Rays losing nine of their last 12 that they have to treat every game as essential.

    "We've got to start playing good baseball games whether we match up well against that team or not," Kevin Cash said.
  2. Lightning wing J.T. Brown on why he donated to remove Confederate statue


    Lightning wing J.T. Brown was back in his Minneapolis offseason home over the weekend when he saw on TV the violent protests in Charlottesville over the removal of a Confederate statue.

    J.T. Brown decided to get involved, donating $1,500 to assist in removing a Confederate statue in Tampa.
  3. Rays, Bucs and Lightning join Dungy in donating to move Confederate monument


    The Tampa Bay area's three major league sports teams have pledged their financial support in moving a Confederate monument out of downtown Tampa.

    Tony Dungy in 2011. [Getty]
  4. Tim Tebow came into their life, and never left


    There are a lot of stories about Tim Tebow connecting with people during his life, Tebow inspiring them and Tebow being inspired.

    Boomer Hornbeck of Naples, Fla., has battled cerebral palsy and undergone surgery after surgery in the hopes of allowing him to one day walk. Inspired by Tim Tebow, and encouraged by his relationship with him, Hornbeck has become a motivational speaker.
  5. For starters: Rays at Jays, with Longoria moved to No. 2 spot in order


    UPDATE, 3:10: Cash said the change was made primarily for two reasons, to change the look for several of the hitters and to get back to alternating lefty and righty hitters to make it tougher for opposing managers to match up relievers. Cash said he plans to stick with this structure for a while but doesn't …

    Evan Longoria was moved from his usual No. 3 spot in the batting order up to second.