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Bob Putnam, Times Staff Writer

Bob Putnam

Bob Putnam is a fourth-generation Floridian who was born in St. Petersburg and graduated from Dixie Hollins High School (Class of '91). He went to St. Petersburg College (1991-93) and USF (1993-95) before working at the Times as a staff writer in 1996.

Phone: (727) 445-4169

Email: putnam@tampabay.com

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  1. Region softball roundup: Leto prevails in extra innings

    Softballpreps

    SEMINOLE — Leto's Carrie Reynolds, who led off the 10th inning with a walk and moved to third on consecutive sacrifice groundouts, scored the winning run on a passed ball to beat Osceola 7-6 in Friday's Class 6A region quarterfinal.

    It was the Falcons' first postseason win in school history.

    "This was a monumental moment for our school, our players and our program," Leto coach Kelly Hacker said....

  2. Spring football primer for Pinellas County

    Footballpreps

    Spring football practices start Monday for high schools around the state, and the annual evaluation of talent and position battles begins as teams retake the field.

    New coaches in the mix

    Pinellas County had a slew of new coaches prior to the 2014 season, so this year seems tame by comparison. There are four new head coaches — and one interim. Only Mike Lube at Tarpon Springs takes over a team with a winning record....

    S Craig Watts drops back into coverage during Gibbs High School Football practice in St. Petersburg  Monday afternoon (08/11/14).
  3. Region softball roundup:

    Softballpreps

    TAMPA — Forget about Academy of the Holy Names 12-8 record entering Thursday's Class 4A region quarterfinal game against Mulberry. Pay no attention to the fact the Jaguars lost three of their final four regular season games.

    AHN coach Don Barron fashioned a schedule that yielded few easy nights. Of their 12 non-district games, the Jaguars ended up playing nine teams that made the playoffs....

  4. Region softball roundup: Countryside's game plan on target

    Softballpreps

    CLEARWATER — Braden River's offense has packed some punch, averaging nine runs in the past four games. That got the attention of Countryside coach Kaylyn Bayly, who figured there would be plenty of balls put in play in Wednesday's Class 7A region quarterfinal.

    The game plan for Cougar starter Stella Preston was to hit her spots, forcing the big bats in the Pirates' lineups to ground out or pop out. Preston did just that — and her defense did the rest....

  5. Pasco high school football teams have questions as spring practice starts

    Footballpreps

    Spring football practices start Monday for high schools around the state, and the annual evaluation of talent and position battles begins as teams retake the field.

    How to repeat last year's magic

    Last season, junior running back Chris Schwarz came out of nowhere, rushing for a Pasco County record 2,689 yards and 27 touchdowns after putting up just 204 yards and three scores as a sophomore. Schwarz is back, but the biggest question the Royal Knights have going into the spring is who will block for him....

    River Ridge’s Chris Schwarz (carrying the ball) hits Tarpon Springs’ Jacquez Holmes during the Class 5A region quarterfinal. Schwarz ran for 2,689 yards in 2014.
  6. Region softball: Young pitchers making an impact

    Softballpreps

    SEMINOLE — With four senior starters returning, Osceola High coach Jerry King was confident his team could win a district softball title, so much that he requested to host the Class 6A-10 tournament this season.

    Then the unexpected happened. All four quit, either to get jobs, to concentrate on other sports or to prepare academically for college. King was left with a roster of 15 players that included just one senior and seven freshmen, three of whom became starters....

    Osceola freshman Megan Weisenberg impressed in the PCAC game and districts.
  7. Clearwater football coach Donnie Abraham steps down

    Footballpreps

    Clearwater High football coach Donnie Abraham announced Monday that he is resigning to pursue other opportunities.

    The decision comes a week before the start of spring football. Don Mesick, an assistant coach with the Tornadoes, will take over as interim head coach.

    Abraham, a former player for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who previously coached at Gibbs, did not say what those opportunities would be. He was 4-16 in two seasons at Clearwater. His son, Devin, a former East Lake standout, is currently a defensive back at USF....

    Former Bucs player Donnie Abraham, middle, said Monday that he was resigning after two seasons as the head football coach at Clearwater High. The Tornadoes went 4-16 during his tenure.
  8. District track: East Lake girls nab third straight title

    Tranckandfieldpreps

    BRADENTON — In 2011, East Lake's girls team finished last at the district meet. Since then, the Eagles have gone through a remarkable transformation and have become consistent title contenders under coach Britt Taylor.

    On Thursday, East Lake won its third straight team title at the Class 4A, District 8 meet. That was expected considering how much the numbers have soared during their recent success. Fielding perhaps the deepest team in school history, the Eagles outscored Sarasota Riverview 164-138 to win by the widest margin in their three-year title run....

  9. District track: Locals settle for personal glory in 3A-10

    Tranckandfieldpreps

    CLEARWATER — Unable to match the superior depth of Lakewood Ranch and Sarasota, the Pinellas County schools competing at Wednesday's Class 3A, District 10 meet had to concede team titles and focus on individual ones.

    Clearwater's Steven Randall started the day off by running anchor leg on the winning 4x800 relay team (eight minutes, 16.67 seconds). He also finished second in the 800 (2:01.93)....

  10. District track roundup: Berkeley Prep girls take 2A-10 title

    Tranckandfieldpreps

    TAMPA — After missing out on a district team title by 1½ points last season, Berkeley Prep's girls track made sure there was no doubt in Tuesday's Class 2A, District 10 meet.

    The Buccaneers scored 239 points, 55 ahead of Academy of the Holy Names.

    Despite graduating several athletes and having a trio of eighth-graders battle through injuries, Berkeley Prep was able to showcase its depth and qualify athletes for next week's region meet in 16 of 17 events....

  11. Softball, 8A-7 quarterfinals: Wharton 3, Riverview 2; Bloomingdale 3, Alonso 0

    Softballpreps

    TAMPA — Destinee Elmore bats ninth in Wharton's lineup for a reason. She is more of a singles hitter who bunts and slaps to get on base.

    In fact, Elmore had yet to produce an extra-base hit this season entering Monday's Class 8A, District 7 quarterfinal game against Riverview.

    In the fifth inning, Elmore had two strikes and was forced to swing away. She smacked a pitch that sailed over the left-centerfield fence for a solo home run, the first of her career. That blast tied the score at 2 and an inning later Mackenzie Allen scored the winning run off an error for a 3-2 victory....

  12. District softball preview: Expect the unexpected

    Softballpreps

    To get an idea of how topsy-turvy this softball season can be, look no farther than Plant.

    The Panthers started the season 2-3 and seemed to be on the outside looking in for a playoff berth in the ultra-competitive Class 8A, District 7.

    After that slow start, Plant became one of the hottest teams in the bay area, finishing out the regular season by winning 17 of 19 games to surge to the top of the district standings. One of the losses during that span came against Alonso, which is last in the district and the only team in 8A-7 with a losing regular-season record (11-12)....

    Hard-hitting Lindsay Boynton, batting .586 with seven homers and 38 RBIs, powers second-seeded Steinbrenner’s spoiler bid in this week’s Class 7A, District 8 softball tournament.
  13. Softball: Canterbury 10, Admiral Farragut 0

    Softballpreps

    ST. PETERSBURG — Canterbury was devoid of its power-hitting capabilities Friday.

    The Crusaders had just five hits and did not produce many runs early on against Admiral Farragut pitcher Corynn Miner, a Tampa recruit who kept Canterbury's potent lineup off-balance.

    Because of that, the philosophy on the bases was simple. Take whatever Miner and the Blue Jackets were willing to give. And then take some more....

  14. District track: Indian Rocks boys out run competition

    Tranckandfieldpreps

    CLEARWATER — Relying on its dominance in the relays and considerable depth in the sprints, Indian Rocks Christian's boys won their fourth straight team championship at the Class 1A, District 9 track meet Thursday with 192.5 points, 61 more than runnerup Calvary Christian.

    The Golden Eagles swept the relays, winning the 4x100 meters (43.61 seconds), 4x400 (3:37.07) and 4x800 (8:35.47). IRC's Jacquan Fuller, a standout in football, took first in the 100 (11.07). He was among three Golden Eagles who finished in the top in the event....

  15. Track leads to new recruiting possibilities for Dixie Hollins QB Tyrie Adams

    Tranckandfieldpreps

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Tyrie Adams looks up to LeBron James, not just as a basketball idol but also as a reference of sorts.

    The Dixie Hollins High School three-sport star knows he can clear the four-time NBA MVP. Adams is not just talking about leaping in front of James for an in-your-face jam. Adams is talking about getting a running start then leaping while turning his back to James and clearing him Fosbury-flop style with room to spare....

    Tyrie Adams hopes that track and field, a sport he once viewed as an afterthought, helps him land a scholarship.