Matt Baker, Times Staff Writer

Matt Baker joined the Times as a sports reporter in 2011. He previously covered high school and college sports for the Tulsa World and minor league baseball for the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader. His work has been honored by the Best American Sports Writing series and the Associated Press Sports Editors. He is a Hoosier native and graduated from Northwestern University in 2008.

Phone: (727) 420-9087

Email: mbaker@tampabay.com

Twitter: @MattHomeTeam

  1. Region softball: Chamberlain hammers Mitchell early

    Softballpreps

    TRINITY — After Chamberlain started by loading the bases and bringing home four runs in the first inning, Mitchell had the chance to do the same.

    Instead, Chiefs pitcher Olivia Dwyer settled down.

    Dwyer escaped from a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the bottom of the first unscathed to propel Chamberlain to a 10-2 road win in Wednesday's Class 6A region quarterfinal.

    "Olivia came back — bang, bang, bang," Chiefs coach Bob Diez said. "They got nothing. We got four."...

    Olivia Dwyer, who got into a jam early, stays calm and collected on the mound for Chamberlain.
  2. District baseball: Robinson, Jesuit to meet in final

    Baseballpreps

    TAMPA — After Robinson lost its first two games to Jesuit by a combined three runs, the Knights will get one more shot at the perennial powerhouse Tigers.

    Robinson blew out Spoto 8-0, and Jesuit gave coach Richie Warren his 200th career victory with a 13-0 win over Middleton in five innings in Tuesday's Class 5A, District 9 semifinals. That sets up a showdown Thursday at Jesuit for the championship....

  3. Region softball: Ace sparks Jefferson's best season

    Softballpreps

    TAMPA — Ask Jefferson coach Eve Soto-Suarez about senior pitcher Nikki Lopez, and Soto-Suarez begins to gush before stopping herself.

    "I don't want to use the word perfect — she doesn't like that much," Soto-Suarez said. "But honestly, she's up there."

    It's hard to argue with her.

    Lopez's last B came on the final day of third grade, in writing. Since then, she's carried a flawless grade-point average, balanced high school courses with Hillsborough Community College classes and has become Jefferson's valedictorian — and one of the county's top pitchers....

    Jefferson’s softball team presents the program’s first district title trophy to the principal.
  4. Pasco's Archibald takes long path to Miami commitment

    College

    DADE CITY — Bowman Archibald knew he was in trouble the moment he saw his coach's face. Archibald had skipped almost every offseason workout since his freshman year ended at Pasco, and Pirates coach Tom McHugh wasn't happy about it. McHugh rose from his chair as soon as Archibald walked through the door. "Oh crap," Archibald thought. Of the many steps Archibald needed in his five-year path from football rookie to Miami-bound tight end — generous genetics, a fortuitous injury and a failed attempt at replacing a record-breaking quarterback — none were more important than the rant that flew at Archibald next. "That one talk," Archibald said, "kind of changed everything."...

    Pasco tight end Bowman Archibald catches a touchdown pass in September against Nature Coast. After playing quarterback early in his high school career, he switched to tight end and has committed to Miami. Pirates coach Tom McHugh told Archibald early on that he had the potential to play at a major college, but that he needed to step up his work ethic. “That’s when I really got serious,” says Archibald, ranked the 180th overall prospect in the country by ESPN.
  5. State tennis: Wiregrass Ranch's Agie Moreno earns individual 3A title

    Tennis Preps

    Wiregrass Ranch sophomore Agie Moreno made North Suncoast history Friday, becoming the first player from a public Pasco County school to win an individual tennis state championship.

    A day after winning the team singles title and helping the Bulls tie for first as a team, he knocked off Fort Myers' John Carlin 6-1, 4-6, 10-3 to claim the overall Class 3A championship.

    "I was very excited that I could be part of that moment," Moreno said....

  6. State tennis: Bogie's Dan Stefan repeats as singles champ

    Tennis Preps

    CASSELBERRY — Boca Ciega junior Dan Stefan needed a furious rally in his first trip to the state tournament to come away with a championship.

    The only drama in his return trip Tuesday centered on whether the Pirates could sweep the individual bracket honors.

    Stefan cruised to the individual Class 2A singles title and teamed with Nikita Goldenberg to win the individual doubles crown without dropping a set at Red Bug Lake Park....

    East Lake’s Kimberly Herrock, front, and Angel Deng beat the rain to win a semifinal match.
  7. State tennis: Newsome freshman, Plant junior set for singles showdown

    Tennis Preps

    ALTAMONTE SPRINGS — As one Hillsborough County tennis dynasty ended Tuesday, another might have begun.

    Plant's streak of three consecutive team titles ended, but Newsome freshman Kylie Moulin made a valiant comeback to force a tiebreaker and earn the individual Class 4A singles championship at Sanlando Park.

    "It's definitely one of my longest matches," Moulin said, "and it's definitely one I'll always remember." ...

    Plant doesn’t wrap up its fourth straight title, but Erica Oosterhout claims the No. 1 singles title in the 4A team bracket.
  8. State tennis: Plant girls not ready to relinquish crown

    Tennis Preps

    Plant's hopes of a fourth consecutive girls state championship will last until the final day.

    The Panthers are among four teams clustered at the top after the first day of the Class 4A state tournament. They'll resume play, along with rivals Boca Raton, Orlando Dr. Phillips and Cypress Bay, today at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs.

    "The girls have really shown a lot of resilience," Plant coach Jessica Lamm said....

  9. State tennis: Rough Day 1 for North Suncoast teams

    Tennis Preps

    The Class 2A state tournament didn't quite go as planned for the Nature Coast boys and Pasco girls.

    The Sharks won only one of five opening-round singles matches and lost both doubles matches at the boys team tournament at Red Bug Lake Park in Casselberry on Monday. Alec Lund defeated Alexander Thompson of Gulf Breeze at No. 4 singles 1-6, 6-2, 10-8. In the semifinal, Lund lost to Laurentiu Schinteie of Miami Gulliver Prep 6-0, 6-0....

  10. A tour around the tourneys

    Softballpreps

    As district softball tournaments monopolize fields across Hillsborough County starting today, here are some of the most interesting matchups and players.

    Best potential matchup

    Bloomingdale-Alonso: The possible showdown for the 8A-7 title features two of the county's top teams with only six losses between them. The teams split their regular-season meetings by one run each. The Bulls feature an ace in Buffalo commit Lace Smith and have shut out six of their past eight opponents. But few teams boast the firepower of Alonso, which is led by Florida State recruit Jessica Warren (seven home runs, 23 RBIs)....

    Cambridge Christian’s Alea White has struck out 212 batters. But in the 2A-7 final, she will face Academy of the Lakes’ Lauren Evans, who is hitting .682.
  11. Region tennis: Tampa Prep reaches state

    Tennis Preps

    TAMPA — As Tampa Prep celebrated its Class A, Region 4 title Thursday, sopho­more Paige Leavy glanced down at the trophy clutched in her teammate's arms.

    "Look at the color," Leavy said. "We're so used to silver."

    After back-to-back runnerup finishes, the Terrapins finally earned gold, beating Clearwater Central Catholic 4-1 at Hills­borough Community College to secure their first trip to state since 2006....

  12. Region tennis: AHN depth proves necessary in Class 2A

    Tennis Preps

    TAMPA — With her team's region final hopes at stake, Academy of the Holy Names star Caroline Lozo made a rare stumble. Luckily for the five-time district champ, Lozo has plenty of depth behind her.

    The Jaguars' bottom three singles players and the No. 2 doubles team all earned easy victories to lead the AHN girls tennis team to a 4-2 win over Sarasota Booker in Wednesday's Class 2A region semifinal at Hillsborough Community College....

  13. USF uses committee, coordinators to enforce Title IX laws

    College

    TAMPA — To tackle Title IX's wide-reaching duties, USF coordinator Jose E. Hernandez uses an advisory committee and deputy coordinators.

    The committee — made up of faculty, student and administrators — handles the federal law's broad goal of evaluating the school's culture. It looks at what discrimination problems loom largest and possible proactive approaches such as bringing in guest speakers. It also gauges how comfortable women are to report incidents and if they can do so easily....

  14. FSU Title IX investigation goes beyond sports

    College

    The federal investigation revealed Thursday into how Florida State handled rape accusations against star quarterback Jameis Winston goes beyond sports.

    Title IX's guidelines for schools to provide equal athletic opportunities for men and women are well known, but the federal law also governs how they treat sex discrimination, including harassment and rape.

    The shift in the 40-year-old law stems from a 2011 Department of Education memo that charged schools with a massive task: change the culture of on-campus sexual violence....

    Prosecutors didn’t file charges against Jameis Winston, but FSU faces a federal investigation over how it handled the allegations.
  15. U.S. investigating FSU's handling of Jameis Winston case

    College

    The Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights is investigating whether Florida State University violated federal laws in how it handled sexual assault allegations against star quarterback Jameis Winston.

    The department notified all parties of the Title IX investigation Thursday, a month after receiving a complaint and the same day a Deadspin.com report raised more questions about FSU's response to the December 2012 accusations....