Sunday, June 17, 2018
Sports

Eagles regain stride at right time, topple Cougars

PINELLAS PARK — East Lake decided it would not go quietly for the rest of the season.

In Thursday's Class 7A, District 9 title game, the Eagles pitched, hit and darted around the bases. The team that struggled for traction through a miserable late regular-season stretch against district opponents regained its grip with a 8-7 victory over rival Countryside.

"I'm so proud of the way the team came back and played well the last few games," East Lake coach Kristie Delk said.

It was especially meaningful for Ashley Bonalewicz and Hannah Roberts, the senior starters whose last district title came three years ago as freshmen.

On Thursday, Bonalewicz hit a three-run home run in the first inning, and Roberts had a two-run homer in the third as the Eagles (16-6) jumped out to an 8-2 lead. The top-seeded Cougars (20-7) rallied with a run in the third and two in the fifth to make it 8-5. Countryside also was helped by a defense that turned in double plays to get out of bases-loaded jams in the fourth and fifth innings.

In the bottom of the seventh, East Lake was trying to hold on through heavy rain that halted the game about 10 minutes. Eagles starter Diana Rayder had a hard time gripping the ball in the wet conditions. She tried to dry the ball in her glove and motioned to the dugout to provide a new ball every few pitches.

The Cougars took advantage with two runs to cut the deficit to 8-7. Still, Rayder found a way to bear down with a strikeout on a full count to end the game.

"That last inning was so intense," Rayder said. "I just had to find a way to get through the rain. The rosin bag I had with me was a life saver."

Aliyah Andrews was 4-for-4 and Maddie Bertisch 3-for-4 for the Eagles. Countryside was led by Keeley Mayers, who was 4-for-4, including a two-run homer in the first inning.

6A-10: The wind was blowing out, and it showed on the scoreboard. Kassidy Neptune hit a pair of two-run homers as host Mitchell handled Osceola 13-8.

The teams combined for 24 hits. Mitchell led 7-0 in the second and looked headed to a mercy-rule rout before Osceola fought back to within 10-7.

Held to one hit through three innings, Osceola caught up to Madison Stanilou. The Warriors collected eight hits while scoring a combined seven runs in the fourth and fifth.

MacKenna Willis started the comeback with a single. Malorie Wallace singled to load the bases, and Lindsey Hall's base hit made it 7-1. A wild pitch added a run, and Olivia's McCoy's double plated two more. Becca Bunday singled to lead off the fifth and scored on Rae Piscitello's infield hit. Hall and Maria Kappos followed with RBI singles cutting the margin to three.

And after sophomore Sarah Huskey set the Mustangs (24-3) down in order to end the fifth, the Warriors (12-4) sprinted off the field, having all the momentum. But Jordan Fowler answered with a 1-2-3 sixth punctuated by her first strikeout.

5A-8: Aubrey Ehlers gave up a run in the first but drove in two herself. That gave Dunedin a lead that held up — but just barely.

A late Land O'Lakes rally fell short as the Falcons held on 4-3 at River Ridge to advance to the final and clinch a third straight region playoff berth.

The Falcons jumped out to a 4-1 lead, then survived three hits by the Gators in the sixth.

"That was really big getting out in front," Dunedin coach Sarah Broeseker said. "When we played Land O'Lakes the first time, it was a 2-0 game and very tight. The girls did a nice job tonight."

After the Gators (13-13) took a 1-0 lead in the first, Taylor Scott walked and Abbie Sexton reached on an error to put runners on second and third. Ehlers drove both home with a base hit.

Sexton doubled in the third and scored on Tiona Hill's single, and Alexis Talley drove in Hill with a hit to make it 4-1.

But a couple of two-out hits in the sixth for Land O'Lakes pulled the Gators within 4-3. Ehlers got out of that jam then struck out two batters in the seventh to wrap up her 17th victory of the season.

The Falcons (17-5) face River Ridge, which beat the Falcons 1-0 and 6-0 during the season, for the district title this morning.

5A-10: Rain postponed the final at Lakewood. The game against Bradenton Bayshore was called in the top of the sixth inning Thursday with the score tied at 0. Lakewood will decide this morning when the final will resume.

3A-9: Top seed Calvary Christian won its first district title, cruising to an 11-1 victory over Clearwater Central Catholic. Rachel Hunt pitched a complete game, allowing two hits while striking out six. She also produced at the plate with two hits and two RBIs. Teammate Gaby Alvarado had four hits and three RBIs. In all, the Warriors had 16 hits.

2A-8: Host Canterbury, the defending state champ, hit four homers in a 12-run first to beat Lakeland Christian 16-1 for its ninth consecutive district title. The power display even impressed coach Jody Moore.

"I know we have some very good hitters on this team, and we've been working hard at pitch selection," Moore said. "In the past, we've had games where we've hit a couple of home runs, but this was good to see."

Hailey Hopkins, Maddie Posey, Taylor Bump and Danielle Romanello homered in the first, and the Crusaders (18-6) had eight extra-base hits in the inning. Lakeside Christian (7-12) managed to scratch across a run in the second.

An RBI double by Bump and another homer from Hopkins in the second got Canterbury back on track. And an RBI single from Kama Woodall in the fourth closed out the game.

Moore said she's happy with her team's focus going into regionals.

"I know Cambridge has an excellent pitcher and Central Florida Christian has a solid team. But we're just going to stay in our lane and play our game," Moore said.

Times staff writer John C. Cotey and correspondents Darek Sharp and Corey Long contributed to this report.

Comments

Tarpons’ Castillo, North squad notch FSL All-Star Game victory

TAMPA — The Tarpons' Diego Castillo led the North squad to a 5-0 victory in the 57th Florida State League All-Star Game on his home field Saturday night.The game MVP went 2-for-4 with two doubles and started the scoring for the North in the sec...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays lose again to Yankees, this time 4-1

Rays lose again to Yankees, this time 4-1

NEW YORK — Kevin Cash was not going to go all Lou Piniella on his Rays, raging and ripping and roaring over their latest mess, a 4-1 Saturday loss to the Yankees that didn't feel that close.Which is too bad because Piniella, the volcanic former...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Sports on TV/radio for Sunday, June 17

TODAYAutosXfinity: Iowa 250 qualifying2:30 p.m.FS2Xfinity: Iowa 2505 p.m.FS1BaseballMarlins at Orioles1 p.m.FSFRays at Yankees2 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMAstros at Royals2 p.m.MLBRed Sox at Mariners (in progress)5 p.m.MLBCubs at Cardinals8 p.m.ESPNCollege b...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rays journal: Arroyo on DL, Hechavarria returns

Rays journal: Arroyo on DL, Hechavarria returns

NEW YORK — Just when it seemed like SS Adeiny Hechavarria might not play another game for the Rays, he will rejoin them on Sunday.The Rays announced after Saturday's 4-1 loss that INF Christian Arroyo was placed on the DL due to an oblique stra...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

RHP Ryne Stanek did his job as the opener just fine in getting four outs on Saturday, but for the Rays' unorthodox pitching plan to work it takes a team effort. And LHP Ryan Yarbrough's inability to throw strikes quickly put them in a hole.The experi...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Peering into the crystal baseball to see what Rays could look like in 2019

Peering into the crystal baseball to see what Rays could look like in 2019

The Rays are still talking, as they should, about playing for something this season. The reality is that almost every move they've made, going back to the end of last season, and in some cases further, has been about 2019 and beyond.Clearing out vete...
Updated: 9 hours ago
For starters: Rays at Yankees, trying to break through

For starters: Rays at Yankees, trying to break through

UPDATE, 11:49: Cash said he played Cron at 1B in an effort to get him more involved in the game, indicated he may do so again Sunday (with Bauers off vs. LH Sabathia) and should have done so more as Cron struggled. … Cash reiterated that CF Kev...
Published: 06/16/18
Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

TAMPA — There's always a lot of attention on the rookie class this time of year, rightfully so. There's a reason the Bucs focused on defense, and DT Vita Vea, CBs M.J. Stewart, Carlton Davis and S Justin Whitehead all look like they could have ...
Published: 06/16/18
Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Times wiresVISTA, Calif. – Former Bucs and Hurricanes tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was jailed without bail Friday after pleading not guilty to nine counts of kidnapping, rape and other charges.If convicted on all counts, Winslow, 34, could face...
Published: 06/15/18
Rays owner Stuart Sternberg frustrated, but optimistic

Rays owner Stuart Sternberg frustrated, but optimistic

NEW YORK — So what does the boss — lowercase, of course, around here — think of this up-and-down, hot-and-cold Rays season so far? Appropriately, a variety of things.In a 30-minute chat with the Tampa Bay Times before Friday's 5-0 l...
Published: 06/15/18