Entering this baseball season, there was one question that overrode all others.
Where did everybody go?
Most of the county's leaders from a year ago graduated.
And the coaches weren't exactly familiar either — seven from a year ago left.
With so many changes, the status of baseball in the county seemed unclear. New coaches were getting acclimated to their teams and the others were trying to find replacements in the lineup. Welcome to baseball 2009, a topsy-turvy season in which anything seems possible.
So far there have been a few surprises with some teams emerging as contenders.
Countryside (4-3): Playing in the one of the area's toughest districts, the Cougars are holding their own with a win over Sickles and one-run losses to Gaither and Mitchell.
East Lake (7-2): After dropping two games two weeks ago, the Eagles rebounded nicely, beating Palm Harbor University, Seminole and Tarpon Springs.
Osceola (6-1): The Warriors are getting big contributions at the plate from Taylor Layner (two home runs, three triples) and on the mound from Winston Rivas (3-0 start).
Pinellas Park (5-3): The Patriots were roughed up by Osceola and Seminole, but they have some quality wins, the biggest coming against East Lake.
St. Petersburg Catholic (4-3): After a 4-1 start, the Barons have lost two straight. But they should be a contender in a tight district race with Tampa Catholic, Berkeley Prep and Clearwater Central Catholic.