Alex Sexton, Dunedin
A four-year starter for the Falcons, Sexton's role on this year's team was evident in a 4-3 win over Countryside on Thursday. As the starting shortstop, he made several key defensive plays. At the plate, he went 2-for-3 as the leadoff hitter. And on the mound he recorded his first save of the season by getting a strikeout for the final out.
He will be Dunedin's versatile jack-of-all trades in his senior year.
"I'm definitely most comfortable at shortstop," said Sexton, who played third and second base for the past three seasons. "And this is the second time that I've come in in relief. I always want the ball in those situations."
With a 3-2 win over Largo on Friday, Dunedin is 6-3. The Falcons don't play again until this weekend in Vero Beach. Sexton is hitting .500 so far with three doubles and four RBIs. He is hoping to have a good season and get some attention from college coaches.
"That's the plan," he said. "I want to go out the best way I can and then find a place to play next season."
Sexton's father, Ron, is Dunedin's head coach. Alex has not only played for his father in high school, but during some youth league seasons as well. He said it's been interesting having his dad in the same dugout.
"I enjoy it," Sexton said. "We're always talking about baseball and how the team can get better and what we need to do. It's been a lot of fun."
Maddie Neuhaus, East Lake
Neuhaus knew this would be her final season of competitive softball. She did not want to play in college.
All Neuhaus wanted as a senior was to have fun and play hard.
Oh, and make the playoffs.
The postseason was no guarantee. After starting 3-0, the Eagles lost two straight, including a game against defending Class 8A, District 7 champion Countryside.
East Lake fell out of first place in the district standings. It did not get any easier last week with games against playoff contenders Pinellas Park and Seminole.
Neuhaus helped East Lake get back on track thanks to her performance at the plate. She went 2-for-3 with a solo homer and scored both runs in a 2-0 win over the Patriots that snapped the Eagles' two-game losing streak.
The hits kept coming for Neuhaus throughout the week. She was a combined 6-for-8 in wins against Dunedin and Seminole.
East Lake is now alone in second place in the district, a game behind the Cougars.
"That game was against Pinellas Park was so big," Neuhaus said. "We just lost a big district game against Countryside so we were down. When we beat Pinellas Park we knew we were better and that's how we should always play. Last week really boosted our confidence up."
Neuhaus said she is undecided on a college but wants to attend UCF if she is accepted.