Thursday, April 26, 2018
Sports

Region softball: Hernando ace steady as usual

BROOKSVILLE — After returning most of its roster from last season's region final appearance, Hernando came into this postseason with something to prove. The journey began with a 3-1 victory over Dunedin in Thursday night's Class 5A region quarterfinal at Tom Varn Park.

"There were a lot of what ifs after last year (in the region final)," Hernando coach Kevin Bittinger said, "but we've proven ourselves time and time again against tough competition."

Courtney Riddle (26-1) was masterful on the mound for the home team, tossing a complete-game three-hitter with no earned runs, no walks and three strikeouts. And although the Leopards (26-2) committed three errors, one of which resulted in the Falcons' lone run, the senior ace controlled the tempo of the game.

"(Courtney) did a good job of working ahead and locating her pitches," Bittinger said. "They have some pretty decent hitters and she kept them off-balance, just like she's done all year."

Riddle's counterpart, Dunedin ace Aubrey Ehlers (16-6), was almost as good against the Hernando lineup. The hurler had only one shaky inning, when the Leopards had four straight two-out hits to score three runs in the third.

Ehlers retired Kaylee Frascatore and Lauren Moore to start the inning before No. 9 hitter Erika Lewis slapped a single. Megan Lane followed by lining a two-strike pitch back up the middle for a single. Danielle Harvey knocked in Lewis with a single, and senior captain Tana McDaniel capped the scoring with a two-run double in the right-centerfield gap.

After a hit by pitch and an error, Dunedin (17-7) scored when Central Florida State College signee Tiona Hill hit a bloop single over first base. Hill will join Riddle at the collegiate level next season, with both signing to the same school.

Hernando advances to Tuesday's region semifinal against River Ridge. The Leopards and Royal Knights split their two games this season.

"If you're going to play River Ridge, you have to ready to play ball," Bittinger said. "They have some unbelievably talented hitters, so you have to pick your battles."

Comments
Valdes-Scantling gives his heart, soul and back to USF

Valdes-Scantling gives his heart, soul and back to USF

Though his career at USF ended only four months ago, rangy WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling already is giving back to his alma mater.By giving it his back.Valdes-Scantling, projected as a Saturday selection in this weekend's NFL draft, tweeted a photo sho...
Updated: 1 hour ago
2018 NFL draft: How Saquon Barkley could fall to the Bucs and why they shouldn’t take him

2018 NFL draft: How Saquon Barkley could fall to the Bucs and why they shouldn’t take him

There is "mounting belief" in NFL circles that the Browns are going to choose quarterback Baker Mayfield with the No. 1 overall pick tonight, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.If that happens, that increases the likelihood of running back Saquon Bark...
Updated: 2 hours ago
A look at the baseball world’s reaction to Venters comeback with Rays

A look at the baseball world’s reaction to Venters comeback with Rays

We tried to explain on Wednesday just how big a deal it was that the Rays were bringing LHP Jonny Venters back to the majors for the first time since his Braves days in 2012. And that it was not only a credit to how hard he worked and how long he per...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays morning after: Cobb still searching

Rays morning after: Cobb still searching

The 12 years he spent in the Rays organization, and the seven seasons he was around the big-league team, mean the world to Alex Cobb.But Wednesday he wasn't in the mood for memories.After a third straight outing for his new Orioles team ended badly, ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
After Bucs’ second-round pick, they face a historically bad situation

After Bucs’ second-round pick, they face a historically bad situation

Say Saquon Barkley, Bradley Chubb and Quenton Nelson are gone by the time the Bucs are up to make the seventh overall pick tonight at the NFL draft.What should they do? Take a defensive back? Trade down and acquire more picks?Here's some ammunition f...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Bucs fill a need at running back on the first day of the draft…but it’s Charles Sims, who agrees to a 1-year deal

Bucs fill a need at running back on the first day of the draft…but it’s Charles Sims, who agrees to a 1-year deal

The Bucs landed a running back on the first day of the NFL draft.It wasn't Saquon Barkley or Sony Michel or Derrius Guice. Not just yet, anyway.Tampa Bay reached an agreement on a one-year contract with Charles Sims.The 27-year-old Sims was a third-r...
Updated: 4 hours ago
The Lightning is fun, but does its playoff run translate into dollars for Tampa?

The Lightning is fun, but does its playoff run translate into dollars for Tampa?

TAMPA — As the Tampa Bay Lightning wait for the Boston Bruins to come to town for the next round of playoffs, the city’s business community — large and small — say they’ve already won this NHL postseason.At WestShore Plaza this week, with blue and wh...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays’ 8-4 win over Orioles

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays’ 8-4 win over Orioles

Marc Topkin's takeaways from the Rays 8-4 win over the Orioles on Wednesday:* RHP Alex Cobb is going to be Alex Cobb again. But it seemed clear from watching him against his old Rays mates he's not quite ready yet, the result of signing in late March...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Three things to know about new Land O’Lakes football coach Chad Walker

Three things to know about new Land O’Lakes football coach Chad Walker

Chad Walker, 34, is the new football coach at Land O'Lakes, inheriting a team that went 4-5 under Brian Wachtel in 2017. Walker played college football at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., from 2002-05. He didn't move to Florida until Jan. 1, 20...
Updated: 5 hours ago
A look at the Lightning-Bruins series

A look at the Lightning-Bruins series

So it is the Bruins.The big, bad Bruins.The Bruins come to town Saturday for the start of the Eastern Conference semifinals with the Lightning, a best-of-seven series that begins with a 3 p.m. puck drop.It is the second-round series nearly everyone p...
Updated: 6 hours ago