Friday, December 15, 2017
Sports

Calvary Christian softball ahead of schedule, amps up competitive factor

CLEARWATER

Sarah Coleman was accustomed to being a part of softball programs that made the playoffs at the high school and college levels.

She played for Palm Harbor University 2006-09 and went to the playoffs three times. Coleman then went to Barry, which advanced to regional play three times during her career.

Playoff appearances have become more elusive for Coleman as a head coach. That is due in large part to being placed in challenging districts. When she took over at Dunedin in 2014, the program was in a seven-team district that included North Suncoast powers River Ridge and Land O'Lakes. The Falcons never got past the district semifinals in her two seasons as coach.

Last season, Coleman was hired at Calvary Christian. The Warriors, who were coming off consecutive postseason appearances, were bumped up to Class 4A and placed in the same district as Tampa Catholic and Academy of the Holy Names, both powerhouses at the private school level.

"I knew there would be a building process," Coleman said.

She figured the program would have to take gradual steps to contend, a process that could years.

Her timetable was off. After going 6-14 last season, Calvary Christian has already matched that win total and is tied for second place in the Class 4A, District 4 standings. Better still, the Warriors (6-3 entering the week) have already beaten Holy Names and Tampa Catholic once this season.

The swift turnaround can be attributed to a talented freshman class. Charlotte Schultheis, Hayley Eaton and Kaylin Cole have been the biggest contributors.

"It's been an amazing freshmen class," Coleman said. "We really kind of lucked into this having this many talented girls come in all at once. I saw them a little bit in travel and fall ball so I knew a little bit of what I was getting."

Eaton leads the team in hitting with a .600 average. Schultheis, Calvary's ace, is 6-3 with a 2.95 ERA and 34 strikeouts.

The veterans play a key role, too. Catcher Amy Smith, a University of Massachusetts signee, is hitting .462 with 14 RBIs. Her leadership behind the plate is just as valuable in helping Schultheis as a first-year starting pitcher at the varsity level.

"It can be a tough transition going from travel ball to high school, especially for a freshman," Smith said. "The games are seven innings and not timed like they are a lot of times in travel. I just try to help keep Charlotte grounded and help with the pace and boost her confidence as much as possible."

After starting 2-2, the Warriors have won four of their past five games. The biggest win came against Holy Names, two-time defending region finalist. Trailing 8-3, Calvary Christian rallied with six runs in the bottom of the seventh for a 9-8 victory.

"That was like the World Series for us," Smith said. "We know we can beat anyone, but we can't just be satisfied with those wins. We have to keep it going."

Smith transferred from East Lake last season. She made the playoffs with the Eagles as a freshman. She has not been back since.

"I would love to finish my high school by going back to the playoffs," Smith said. "I think that's what we're all striving for now."

Comments
Nobody has Jameis Winston’s back more than Dirk Koetter, offensive coordinator Todd Monken insists

Nobody has Jameis Winston’s back more than Dirk Koetter, offensive coordinator Todd Monken insists

Nobody is a bigger supporter of Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston than head coach Dirk Koetter.That was the passionate message that offensive coordinator/receivers coach Todd Monken unloaded at his news conference Thursday, saying that reports that Win...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Florida Gators, Florida State both on track for lackluster recruiting classes

Florida Gators, Florida State both on track for lackluster recruiting classes

A month ago, the Gators and Florida State were both on track to land top-10 recruiting classes.Less than a week before the inaugural early signing period begins, both are on pace to land their worst classes of the Rivals era, with the crazy coaching ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa Bay Times’ all-Tampa Bay girls swim teams

Tampa Bay Times’ all-Tampa Bay girls swim teams

Hillsborough County Swimmer of the Year: Morgan Tankersley, Sr., PlantTankersley defended her state title in the 500 free (4:44.75) and placed second in one of the country’s fastest 200 free races in 1:46.75, 2.07 seconds behind Buchholz junior Isa...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa Bay Times’ all-Tampa Bay boys swim teams

Tampa Bay Times’ all-Tampa Bay boys swim teams

Hillsborough County Swimmer of the Year: Brendan Driscoll, Jr., JesuitDriscoll was the only boys swimmer from Hillsborough County to win an individual state title this year and he did it with emphasis, taking gold in the 500 free in 4:29.50, almost...
Updated: 2 hours ago
When you think you’ve got Brayden Point figured out, a surprise awaits

When you think you’ve got Brayden Point figured out, a surprise awaits

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Center Brayden Point is the Lightning’s calmest player, both on the ice and off, according to Victor Hedman.Point’s soft-spoken nature belies his baby face and 5-foot-10 frame. "I’ve never seen him angry before," Hedman said.That ma...
Updated: 2 hours ago
How to optimize your college football bowl-watching experience

How to optimize your college football bowl-watching experience

Game-day guide to watching bowl games over the next few weeks: Five locals to watch Toledo WR Diontae Johnson (Lennard High): Only two players in the country average more yards per touch than Johnson (19.1), who could light up Appalachian State in ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Cannon Fodder podcast: Let’s revisit Monday night games in Bucs’ past

Cannon Fodder podcast: Let’s revisit Monday night games in Bucs’ past

Times Bucs writer Greg Auman has injury updates on Lavonte David and Gerald McCoy and a nostalgic trip through the Bucs’ history on Monday night, including the current three-game win streak and yes, that infamous 2003 Colts game where the Bucs were u...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Why the Bucs need a Dungy more than a Gruden

Why the Bucs need a Dungy more than a Gruden

TAMPA — The worst week of Dirk Koetter’s life rolls on.It’s Gruden Week, just like Shark Week, only with smaller teeth and a bigger playbook. It’s the big build-up to Gruden’s induction into the Buc Ring of Honor this Monday night, with the accompany...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rick and Tom podcast: Is Dirk Koetter fighting for his job?

Rick and Tom podcast: Is Dirk Koetter fighting for his job?

In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones discuss whether Dirk Koetter is fighting for his job the final three weeks of season. Is there a rift between him and Jameis Winston? Has Winston shown enough progress this year? And who are the Glaz...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Ryan Callahan injury makes Lightning win ‘bittersweet’

Ryan Callahan injury makes Lightning win ‘bittersweet’

The Lightning's 4-1 victory over the Coyotes Thursday night still featured the usual post-game music in the dressing room.But there was more of a somber tone with veteran right wing Ryan Callahan's right arm in a sling. Callahan, who got hurt on a na...
Updated: 10 hours ago