Make us your home page
Instagram

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Strawberry Crest softball team goes from hunter to hunted

DOVER

Strawberry Crest wasted little time jumping into the county's always-strong softball mix last season. After going 13-10 in their inaugural season in 2010, the Chargers posted a 22-3 record en route to the school's first district title and region quarterfinal appearance last year. This year, the hunters have turned into the hunted.

"We came into this season knowing there was a target on our backs," coach Mindy Miltner said. "We weren't going to be looked at as the underdogs anymore."

For all the firsts last year's team achieved, Miltner knew 2012 was a different team.

"They understood what we were losing," she said. "But they have come out and worked hard."

Strawberry Crest lost six seniors from last year's team and has none on the roster this season. To boot, the Chargers have just four juniors this season .

"We are very young," Miltner said.

USF-commit Mia Fung, centerfielder Cacey Simmons and first baseman Savannah Bradley are the lone returning starting position players. Despite the turnover, the Chargers are 10-5 (as of press time), with three of those losses coming at the ultra-tough Bartow Tournament during spring break.

"That tournament was really beneficial for us," Miltner said. "We needed to see good competition and we saw some great pitching. The girls played really well."

Two of those losses came against state-ranked teams. Eau Gallie is ranked No. 2 in 6A while Bartow is No. 6 in 7A.

"A loss is always a loss but as a team we knew how good the teams we were facing," pitcher Brianna Alonso said. "There were a whole bunch of top-notch teams there and we stayed with them."

Another new facet of the Chargers team this year is their pitching staff. Alonso, who went 20-2 last year with a 1.41 ERA in 104 innings, almost exclusively handled things inside the circle. But with Jordan Bowers fully healed following knee surgery before last season and Bradley, Miltner has an unusual arsenal of three quality pitchers.

"It's an advantage to us because the other teams usually get different looks throughout the game," Miltner said. "It depends on a lot of things who starts and who will come in. They are all ready at any time."

Typically, most teams feature one pitcher who eats up nearly all the innings, but all three have thrown at least 23 this year. And it's not uncommon for all three to throw in one game.

"It's a completely different game plan than the last two years and that took some time to adjust to," Alonso said. "But I think it will benefit all three of us in the long run in that we're all getting rest and we'll be ready down the road."

The next few weeks will be important for the young Chargers as they jockey for district seeding with games against Jefferson on Tuesday and Sickles on April 3, their two toughest district opponents. And even though a lot has changed since last season, Alonso thinks adding a second district title trophy to the case is well within reach.

"I think we will win out district for sure," Alonso said. "The way we're going, with the unity we have, we can do it."

Brandon Wright can be reached at hillsnews@tampabay.com.

Strawberry Crest softball team goes from hunter to hunted 03/24/12 [Last modified: Saturday, March 24, 2012 4:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Why Ryan Fitzpatrick may solve the puzzle for Bucs at backup quarterback

    Blogs

    Ryan Fitzpatrick will have to leave One Buc Place following Thursday’s off-season workout and fly home to New Jersey in time to teach a class of 10 second and third grade students how to solve the Rubiks Cube.

  2. For starters: Rays vs. Angels, with Cobb leading the way

    Blogs

    Rays veteran RHP Alex Cobb had a lot to say Monday about the team needing to focus on getting past .500 and building a winning record.

    And after the disappointing 3-2 loss that …

    Alex Cobb will start tonight when the Rays play the Angels.
  3. Family a driving force for University of Tampa pitcher David Lebron

    College

    TAMPA — For University of Tampa junior pitcher David Lebron, baseball reminds him of family. He uses it to help honor the memory of his father, who taught him the game. One day, he hopes his career can help support his mother and allow her to rest.

    University of Tampa junior pitcher David Lebron (Courtesy of University of Tampa)
  4. L.A. delay could re-open Super Bowl chance for Tampa in 2021

    Blogs

    Construction delays on the NFL's new stadium in Los Angeles mean the Rams and Chargers won't be playing there until 2020, a year later than expected, and the ripple effect could give Tampa another …

    Tampa and Raymond James Stadium last hosted a Super Bowl in 2009, when the Pittsburgh Steelers edged the Arizona Cardinals.
  5. Bucs' Gerald McCoy, Jameis Winston honored in NFL top 100

    Blogs

    Helping fans pass time through the offseason each summer, NFL Network has been unveiling its top 100 players for 2017 as chosen by the players, and the Bucs' Gerald McCoy and Jameis Winston are the first Tampa Bay players revealed, coming in at No. 52 and 57, respectively.

    Bucs quarterback Jameis WInston and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, shown in the 2016 season finale against the Panthers, have both been named to the NFL Network's top 100 players for 2017.