Region softball quarterfinals
All games tonight at 7 unless noted.
6A, Brandon (14-11) at Palm Harbor University (22-4), 4: The last time Brandon advanced to regionals was 1992 , but the Eagles are in after rallying from a 1-0 deficit in the seventh inning of their district semifinal against Bloomingdale. Don't be fooled by Brandon's mediocre record. In addition to the Bloomingdale win, the Eagles own victories over East Bay and Mitchell. PHU is looking to win its first region game since 2007.
5A, Boca Ciega (12-7) at East Lake (23-2): Boca Ciega advanced to regionals for the first time since 2004. The Pirates have just one region tournament win in six tries. East Lake hasn't fared much better. The Eagles' last region playoff win came in 1995. East Lake owns a 10-1 victory over the Pirates this month.
5A, Seminole (16-7) at Pinellas Park (22-4): The most intriguing matchup of today's regionals. Both teams feature outstanding pitching — Sarah Read (13-5) will throw for Seminole; Pinellas Park counters with Sara Nevins. Nevins, a USF signee, held the Warhawks to two hits in a 5-0 shutout victory on April 14. The Patriots are in search of their first region win. The Warhawks are hoping to advance to the region semis for the third time in four seasons.
3A, St. Petersburg Catholic (17-6) at Lakeland McKeel Academy, 4: McKeel was the second seed for its district tournament but knocked off Mulberry 8-1 to earn a first-round region home game. St. Petersburg Catholic is coming off a 6-5 loss to Tampa Catholic in 11 innings. The Barons haven't had too much success against McKeel in playoff games. The Wildcats have knocked off the Barons in the region finals each of the past two seasons.
2A, Indian Rocks Christian (10-10) at Lakeland Christian (17-4): IRC suffered a heartbreaking 10-9 loss to Bishop McLaughlin in the district final after rallying to hold a 9-8 lead late. The Golden Eagles qualified for regionals for the third year in a row but have yet to win a playoff game. They'll have to put the district final loss behind them to beat a Lakeland Christian team that won its district title by the mercy rule.
2A, Evangelical Christian (15-7) at Northside Christian (22-2), 4: Northside Christian enters regionals sporting a 12-game win streak and sparkling record. The Mustangs, who haven't tasted defeat since a 6-0 loss to St. Petersburg Catholic on March 25, have their strongest team in years and are searching for the school's first region championship. The closest they came was in 1995 when they reached the region final.
2A, Shorecrest (14-3) at St. John Neumann (10-6): Shorecrest hasn't made regionals since 2000 and hasn't won a region. The Chargers, though, are a good bet to advance despite playing on the road. Shorecrest averages nine runs a game, and all three of its losses have came to Northside Christian. St. John Neumann upset Evangelical Christian to earn homefield advantage.
A, Southwest Florida Christian (8-10) at Canterbury (18-7), 5: Canterbury's journey for a third straight region crown begins today against Southwest Florida Christian. The Kings lost in the first round last year but were a Class 2A semifinalist in 2008 and a Class A finalist in 2007. In the district final, top-seeded Southwest Florida Christian fell to Sarasota Christian 6-3 in nine innings.
Bryan Burns, Times staff writer