Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Region softball: Hernando bows out before state

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando was hosting a Class 5A region final a second straight season. And the Leopards were dominated from the start once again.

Belleview jumped ahead in the first inning Monday afternoon, and with an offensive outburst, eventually dispatched Hernando 18-4 at Tom Varn Park.

"Give Belleview credit," Hernando coach Kevin Bittinger said. "This was the best top to bottom hitting lineup we've faced all season."

The Leopards (27-3) were playing an afternoon game, a rarity for this time of year. The temperature at game time was 84 degrees, and with almost no wind, the heat felt far more intense on the field.

"(Blaming the heat) is the easy way out," Bittinger said. "We're better than that, and we have to own it."

Hernando ace Courtney Riddle (27-2) labored through her seven innings of work, giving up bloop singles early. But the Rattlers (25-5) eventually began to make solid contact. The senior was charged with 18 runs, only one unearned. She was also tagged for 20 hits, hitting four batters, walking one, and striking out only one.

"They are a great hitting team, and I was making good pitches," Riddle said. "Sometimes it doesn't work out the way you want it to."

Belleview, which came in hitting .426 as a team, lived up to that statistic. If you take away the eighth and ninth batters for the Rattlers, the lineup went a combined 20-for-32 with four doubles, 17 runs scored and 17 RBIs. Alex Suzuki led the team at 5-for-5 with two doubles, four runs and three RBIs.

Rattlers starter Jamie Adams (20-3) wasn't stellar, but she outdueled Riddle thanks to her ability to erase mistakes. In the complete game, the freshman struck out five and walked four, but only was charged with three earned runs. Belleview even had four defensive errors.

For senior-laden Hernando, it was disappointing. Creekside eliminated the Leopards 10-0 last year, but confidence was high heading into Monday.

"I told the girls, I'd rather have this group in back-to-back region finals than another group and win a state title," Bittinger said. "That's how much they mean to me."


• With an 11-0 victory over Orlando Christian Prep that lasted five innings because of the mercy rule, Canterbury earned its sixth trip to the Class 2A state semifinals in the past seven seasons.

• Bloomingdale plated two runs in the top of the first inning, and junior ace Lace Smith overpowered Vero Beach in a 2-1 Class 8A region final.

• In a back-and-forth game where Carrollwood Day trailed by three runs in the fourth inning, the Patriots rallied for a 12-7 victory over Cornerstone Charter.

State softball

At Historic Dodgertown, Vero Beach


8A: Bloomingdale vs. Cypress Bay

6A: Chamberlain vs. Lake Region winner

2A: Canterbury vs. Sarasota Christian


3A: Carrollwood Day vs. Moore Haven

Region softball: Hernando bows out before state 05/05/14 [Last modified: Monday, May 5, 2014 9:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Snell to rejoin rotation Wednesday



  2. For starters: Rays lineup vs Orioles



  3. Alex Faedo, Florida advance to face LSU in College World Series finals


    OMAHA, Neb. — Alex Faedo pitched three-hit ball for 71/3 innings in a second straight strong performance against TCU, and Florida moved to the College World Series finals with a 3-0 win Saturday night.

    Florida’s Austin Langworthy scores on a single by Mike Rivera in the second inning during a 3-0 victory over TCU.
  4. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect


    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  5. Rays journal: Jumbo Diaz falters after getting within a strike of ending rally

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday's game got away starting with a leadoff walk in the seventh inning by Rays LHP Jose Alvarado, who was brought in exclusively to face Baltimore's lefty-swinging Seth Smith.

    Rays reliever Jumbo Diaz wipes his face as he walks off the mound after the Orioles score four during the seventh inning to give them a 7-3 lead. Diaz was one strike away from working out of the jam before he allowed a two-run double and a two-run homer on back-to-back pitches.