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Softball| Region quarterfinals

Pinellas: Softball region quarterfinals preview

Junior Bonnie Joyner throws out a runner for the Barons, who have been to the region semifinals two straight years.

\uFEFFWILLIE J. ALLEN JR. | Times

Junior Bonnie Joyner throws out a runner for the Barons, who have been to the region semifinals two straight years.

All games tonight at 7, unless noted.

Admission: $6

Class 6A, Plant City (14-4) at Countryside (22-4), Clearwater Rec Center at Misty Springs: Countryside has advanced to the region semifinals a remarkable nine straight years. Plant City hasn't won a playoff game since 2002. Guess you could say the Cougars have experience on their side.

Class 5A, Plant (21-4) at East Lake (17-6): Senior pitcher Kim Mazzapica gutted through seven shutout innings — her longest outing of the year — in the district final win over Pinellas Park. The Eagles will need another solid performance from Mazzapica against Plant in what could be the best matchup of the quarterfinals. East Lake is searching for its first playoff win since 1995.

Class 5A, Pinellas Park (19-8) at Chamberlain (22-4), 4 p.m.: Pinellas Park was unfortunate to come away from its final against East Lake with a loss. The Patriots had more baserunners and better scoring opportunities; a few costly mistakes, however, sealed the Patriots' fate. Even more unlucky? Pinellas Park now must travel to Chamberlain, the 21st-ranked team in the country according to USA Today.

Class 5A, Lakewood Ranch (15-9) at Seminole (17-6): Seminole made short work of the rest of the 5A-11 district tournament field, winning two games, each just five innings, by a combined score of 32-0. The Warhawks are playing better than anyone in the county.

Class 5A, Dixie Hollins (12-9) at Venice (27-0): If Dixie Hollins thought Seminole was tough after losing 20-0 in the district final, wait until the Rebels get a look at undefeated Venice, the top-ranked team in Class 5A according to MiracleSports. The Indians won their fifth straight district title and are led by pitcher Stephanie Sullivan, who struck out 11 in the district final and is 20-0.

Class 3A, Cardinal Mooney (6-16) at St. Petersburg Catholic (20-3), 4 p.m.: The Barons have reached the semifinals two years in a row. A third trip seems likely considering they have defeated Cardinal Mooney once this season, winning 14-3 in five innings.

Class 2A, Indian Rocks Christian (3-16) at Lakeland Christian (21-5), Westside Complex: Indian Rocks' third victory of the season couldn't have come at a better time. The Golden Eagles' 6-3 win over Bishop McLaughlin in the district semis secured the school's second playoff appearance. Lakeland Christian is hosting courtesy of a 1-0 victory over All Saints'.

Class 2A, Northside Christian (16-4) at Southwest Florida Christian (16-4), 4 p.m.: After starting the year 14-1, Northside enters its region quarterfinal mired in a slump with losses in three of its past five games. Two of those losses came to teams the Mustangs dismantled during the regular season (St. Stephen's and Shorecrest). Southwest Florida Christian earned a home date with a 3-2, eight-inning victory in the district final.

Class A, Sarasota Christian (10-5) at Canterbury (21-6), 4 p.m.: Sarasota Christian lost to Bradenton Christian 3-1 in the district final. Canterbury was a 3-0 winner over Bradenton Christian during the regular season, which means the Crusaders would have to be favored to reach their third straight region semifinal. Canterbury boasts three pitchers — Jennifer Crosthwaite (7-0, 0.51), Krissy Longstreet (6-5, 0.95) and Emily Winesett (5-1, 1.63) — who maintained a sub-2.00 ERA during the regular season.

Bryan Burns, Times staff writer

Pinellas: Softball region quarterfinals preview 04/21/08 [Last modified: Monday, April 21, 2008 11:23pm]
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