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Top Contenders Academy gymnasts take top honors

Gymnastics might sometimes fly under the radar, but with the success that Top Contenders Academy is having, that may not be the case much longer.

Competing at the 20th annual Gasparilla Classic at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg a couple of weeks ago, Top Contenders teams finished first overall at Level 3 and second at Level 4. The school also was the home of four of the top five finishers at the Prep Optional Level.

The Gasparilla Classic consisted of programs from all over the world, including teams from the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Canada and all over the United States. In Level 3 competition, Top Contenders (111.9) edged out Aerial Stars Gym of Land O'Lakes (110.975) and Stars & Stripes Academy of Spring Hill (110.55).

The effort was led by two first-place individual finishes from Molly Hanley, 8, (38.25) and Kaylee Pizzano, 6, (37.05). Hanley swept all four events (bar, beam, floor and vault) on her way to defeating Riley Brown of Aerial Stars.

The most advanced individual victory for a Top Contenders competitor came from Level 8 gymnast Vicky Luckina, 15. Luckina won both the vault and floor exercise on her way to an overall crown. She received the only 9-plus scores in either event.

Baseball: The Brooksville Bombers (14-10) continue to fight through a slump at the plate and still win games.

Although the Bombers split a home doubleheader with the St. Petersburg Hurricanes on Sunday at Ernie Wever Park in Brooksville, the team shows grit and determination with every victory.

Continuing their AAU schedule, the Bombers dropped the first game 7-3. Mike Ebberup pitched well in the loss, surrendering only two runs in three innings as coach Randy Mosser waits for the bats to come around.

On the back end of the twin bill, Brooksville pulled out a 10-9 win thanks in large part to the efforts of the team's closer, Derek Ordaz, who pitched three sturdy innings to end the contest, allowing only a run. He also had the only extra base hit for the Bombers with a double.

Brooksville has an off weekend Sunday because of Easter.

Pitch, Hit & Run: The Aquafina MLB Pitch, Hit & Run Competition will be coming to Brooksville at the Jerome Brown Community Center Adult Fields at 6 p.m. April 23.

The event is the Official Skills Competition of Major League Baseball and is designed to provide local youths the opportunity to compete, free of charge, against their peers to recognize individual excellence.

There will be four age divisions: 7-8, 9-10, 11-12 and 13-14.

If they qualify, youths will have the opportunity to advance through four rounds of competition, with the final two rounds taking place at MLB ballparks and the national finals at the 2008 MLB All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium in New York.

All participants must bring a copy of their birth certificate and fill out a waiver-registration form before the start of the competition. For information, call Lou Bermudez at (352) 544-5498.

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Top Contenders Academy gymnasts take top honors 03/20/08 [Last modified: Thursday, March 20, 2008 10:33pm]
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