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  1. HomeTeam 25: Softball rankings

    Softballpreps

    1. Palm Harbor University (23-2)

    This week: Tuesday-Thursday (Class 9A, District 8 tournament)

    Palm Harbor University High School varsity softball player Mia Buffano (3) heads to first base on a double during Tuesday's (4/18/17) game with Clearwater High School at Palm Harbor.
  2. Palm Harbor U. ace Savanna Bennett a study in perseverance

    Softballpreps

    In one quick motion, Palm Harbor University ace Savanna Bennett extends her arms. Her right one whips around like a windmill as the ball whistles out of her hand. Her left extends enough in her delivery to show a tattoo written in cursive:

    "With pain comes strength."

    Savanna Bennett
  3. Boca Ciega softball looks for respect, playoff longevity

    Softballpreps

    GULFPORT — Two years ago, Boca Ciega made one of the most improbable runs in softball. The Pirates, 4-11 entering the district tournament, won five straight to make the state semifinals for the first time.

    Boca Ciega softball player Caylie Van Auken plays in the game against Dixie Hollins at Boca Ciega High School Thursday, April 17, 2017.
  4. HomeTeam 25: Softball rankings

    Softballpreps

    1. Palm Harbor University (21-2)

    This week: Thursday vs. Clearwater; Friday vs. Boca Ciega (PCAC title game)

    Things are heating up on softball fields all over Tampa Bay as districts approach.
  5. HomeTeam Hot Shot winners: Marina Rao and Joshua Bowers

    Softballpreps

    Marina Rao Mitchell

    Rao was inserted into Mitchell's starting lineup in the season opener. The move did not come as a surprise to the freshman.

    East Lake track and field athlete Joshua Bowers
  6. HomeTeam 25: Softball rankings

    Softballpreps

    1. Academy at the Lakes (14-0)

    This week: Monday vs. Springstead; Tuesday vs. Canterbury; Thursday vs. Seven Rivers Christian (doubleheader).

    Kama Woodall is just as dangerous with a bat in her hand as she is on the mound for Springstead. (Brendan Fitterer, Times)
  7. Years of futility fade for Wesley Chapel's softball program

    Softballpreps

    WESLEY CHAPEL — The history of Wesley Chapel High softball is, to put it kindly, a bit unsightly from a record standpoint.

    Sophomore Logan Coward, left, and freshman Jordan Almasy have helped spark the Wildcats.
  8. For Chamberlain players, Bobby Diez's bellow is a boon

    Softballpreps

    TAMPA — Chamberlain High softball coach Bobby Diez yells just like he always has and he doesn't plan to stop any time soon.

    "I'm Latin," he said, "I'm loud."

    Coach Bobby Diez isn’t exactly known for keeping his cool with players. As Chamberlain shortstop Hope Hernandez puts it: “We know that if he’s yelling at you then he cares about you. So we know that he cares about all of us very, very much.”
  9. HomeTeam Hot Shot winners: Mariah Melendez and Keegan Galloway

    Baseballpreps

    Mariah Melendez, Sunlake

    The mound is where Melendez feels most comfortable on the softball field.

    St. Petersburg baseball player Keegan Galloway
  10. HomeTeam 25: Softball rankings

    Softballpreps

    1. Academy at the Lakes (12-0)

    This week: Tuesday at Keswick Christian; Thursday vs. Citrus Park Christian

    Brianna Lindner (13) gives her coach five as she heads for home past Springstead's Paige Pfent, left, with the Gators lone run of the game during the Class 6A regional softball final featuring Land O'Lakes at Springstead Friday (4/29/16). Land O'Lakes won 1-0.