Bob Putnam, Preps Reporter

Bob Putnam

Preps Reporter

I've been a staff writer since 1996. My career started before that as a correspondent with the St. Petersburg Times. I covered former Tampa Bay Buccaneer and current USF assistant Shaun King's first start as a quarterback at Gibbs High. Writing about locals is a passion. I'm a fourth-generation Floridian who graduated from Dixie Hollins High. My great grandfather owned a farm in Pinellas Park. My father was among the first graduating classes at Boca Ciega. Sometimes I venture into other sports. Once, I tried out for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. I was even assigned to one of their minor league affiliates. Well, sort of. Dan Jennings, the team's director of scouting at the time, said he was sending me to Walla, Walla, Wash. He was kidding. I think. Well, either way, I'm still here doing what I love to do.

State softball: Admiral Farragut repeats as Class 3A champion

Admiral Farragut centerfielder Alyssa Rano, right, offers congratulations to leftfielder Hayley Saylor, center, moments after Saylor made a diving catch during the Class 3A state championship. (SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times)
The Blue Jackets have no trouble beating Fort Pierce John Carroll to become just the fourth bay area program to win back-to-back softball titles.

State softball: Hernando’s Ali Shenefield takes a cerebral approach to pitching

Hernando pitcher Ali Shenefield is second in the state in strikeouts this season and could surpass travel ball teammate Ashley Blessin with a successful state performance.  (ALLIE GOULDING | Times)
The senior always thought she’d be a third baseman. Instead she’ll leave the Leopards with a slew of records on the mound.

State softball: Academy at the Lakes dominates en route to title repeat

Many opportunities to cheer after Academy at the Lakes' Class 2A state final victory Wednesday afternoon. (SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times)
The Wildcats, behind yet another gem from Lexi Kilfoyl, become the first Pasco County softball team to win back-to-back titles.

Scouting Hernando’s state softball semifinal

Hernando catcher Taliyah Dowdell gets ready to throw the ball back to pitcher Ali Shenefield during practice. (ALLIE GOULDING | Times)
The Leopards return to the final four for the first time since 2001. Their reward? Squaring off with a four-time defending state champ.

State softball: Tampa Catholic’s 22-year wait ends in semifinals

Tampa Catholic senior Alexa Russo gets some encouraging words from athletic director Don Dziagwa moments after the Crusaders lost a Class 4A state semifinal 7-2 to Miami Westminster Christian. (SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times)
Senior Alexa Russo and the Crusaders run into a state juggernaut that is a regular in title games.