Each week, our HomeTeam staffers nominate male and female Hot Shot athletes from each of the counties we cover. Then we turn the voting over to readers. These nominations span Saturday, March 10 through Friday, March 24 (extra time allowed for spring break). Read up on all of our nominees then vote until noon Monday.
Rebecca Catarelli, softball, Osceola: The sophomore was adept at hitting the long ball this week. She had a homer against Northeast and a grand slam against Seminole, both wins. Catarelli now has four homers on the season....
BROOKSVILLE — Springstead's Kevin Tomas has been the Eagles most consistent relief pitcher this season. But he found out just before Friday night's Farm Bureau Classic final against Central that he would get his first start of the season.
No big deal.
Tomas threw five innings, allowed three hits, one earned run and struck out 10 to help Springstead win 4-2 over Central for the baseball tournament championship. Springstead improves to 12-2 with their third regular season win over the Bears this season. In the tournament, the Eagles did not allow more than two runs to any of its four opponents. ...
Here is the girls PCAC soccer team, as voted on by public school coaches:
First Team South County
F Alexis Hiltunen (St. Petersburg); F Rachel Dirks (Osceola); F Leah Pecora (Osceola); M Francesca Ycaza (St. Petersburg); M Devyn Nyhart (Boca Ciega); M Taylor Emmanuel (Osceola); M Kaelin Neiger (Dixie Hollins); D Katie Peterson (Osceola); D Alex Calhoun (St. Petersburg); D Josie Barnhart (St. Petersburg); D Raina Malecki (Northeast); GK Amanda Johnson (Osceola)...
BROOKSVILLE — It took over three hours and each team used a combined eight pitchers and pounded out a total of 27 hits before Central finally beat Weeki Wachee to advance to today's final of the Farm Bureau Classic baseball tournament. The Bears overcame an early five run deficit, took the lead and gave it back twice and held on for a wild 18-13 win.
Central (8-4) will play Springstead, a 2-1 winner over Land O'Lakes, for the championship at Central. This will be the fourth meeting between the schools this season, including a preseason game. The Bears are 0-3 against the Eagles....
The Hillsborough-Pinellas boys and girls all-star games will be held Friday at Eckerd College. The girls game starts at 6 p.m., followed by the boys. Admission is $5. The teams were selected based on their previous performance in county all-star games.
Here are the rosters for both games.
Bloomingdale: Drew Bethoney; Hillsborough: Bryce Moragne; Jesuit: Stevie Darst; Newsome: Nick Stuck; Plant City: Tarik McKelphin; Sickles: Bryce Beamer; Seffner Christian: Reid Walker, Derek Webster; Tampa Prep: Amari Goulbourne; Wharton: Dae’son Barnes....
CLEARWATER — East Lake was down to its final three outs in Wednesday's Class 8A, District 7 baseball game against Countryside, and it didn't look promising.
Cougars starter Austin Mathews was still sharp and had a three-run lead over the rival Eagles. But two crucial errors and two key hits later, East Lake took a 5-4 lead and shut down Countryside in the bottom of the seventh to secure an improbable win. ...
BROOKSVILLE — The Land O'Lakes baseball team scored in bunches early in its quarterfinal game of the Farm Bureau spring tournament, then hung on Tuesday to defeat Crystal River 8-5.
The Gators (8-1) scored five in the first inning, three in the third and then survived after a five-run fourth by the Pirates.
Land O'Lakes will play Springstead at 7 p.m. Thursday at Springstead in the semifinals....
1. Jesuit (12-1)
This week: Tuesday vs. Jefferson, Friday at Middleton, Saturday at Tampa Catholic
Scoop: It takes a deep, talented team to win the Saladino tournament, and that's what the Tigers did last week. They won six straight games, including a doubleheader Friday over Carrollwood Day in the semifinals and Alonso in the final. Now comes three games this week and coach Miguel Menendez hopes to avoid what he called the "Saladino hangover.''...
The name is not very appealing: Grunt. • One of the most common fish in the Gulf of Mexico is saddled with one of the worst names, right up there with dogfish or pigfish. • But to dismiss the grunt as a sportfish or an eating fish is a mistake. The white grunt, which averages between 1 and 2 pounds and 12-15 inches, is found in water as deep as 115 feet but mostly hangs out in 80 feet of water or less....
BRANDON — Jesuit's Garrett Sheppard swung at the first pitch he saw from Alonso pitcher Jorge Oleaga in the top of the seventh inning in Friday night's Saladino Tournament final. He hit it hard to leftfield and began sprinting around the bases. It wasn't until halfway around, when the Jesuit crowd erupted in cheers, that he realized it was a home run.
That run broke a 2-2 tie and the Tigers tacked on two more runs to defeat Alonso 5-2 for the championship. It is Jesuit's second Saladino tournament title, although the Tigers don't play in the tournament routinely....
BRANDON — Carrollwood Day is playing in its first Saladino tournament, and the Patriots are making the most of it. They pounded out 14 hits, got at least one hit in each inning and scored in all but two innings in a 9-3 win over Plant in Thursday night's quarterfinal.
Carrollwood Day (9-2) will play Jesuit at 1 p.m. Friday in the semifinals.
"Our challenge to the team was to just have fun," CDS coach Nick Rodriguez said. "We have a good team. We have good kids. We've just been a little flat in this tournament but we came together in this one."...
1. Jesuit (6-1)
This week: Tuesday vs. Lennard (Saladino tournament), Wednesday vs. Gaither (Saladino tournament), Thursday-Friday at Saladino tournament.
Scoop: Since losing to Venice on Feb. 25, the Tigers have won five straight. They are positioned to make a run at the Saladino tournament. McGuire Weaver is off to a hot start, with a .412 average.
2. East Lake (6-1)...
Jay Davis grew up in the Clearwater Central Catholic football program.
He was on the sideline when his father, John, was first hired as head coach at the school in 1994. Davis was on the field as the starting quarterback from 1997-2000, leading the Marauders to playoff appearances all four years.
After years as an assistant in college, Davis is returning to the area as a head football coach....
Alex Sexton, Dunedin
A four-year starter for the Falcons, Sexton's role on this year's team was evident in a 4-3 win over Countryside on Thursday. As the starting shortstop, he made several key defensive plays. At the plate, he went 2-for-3 as the leadoff hitter. And on the mound he recorded his first save of the season by getting a strikeout for the final out.
He will be Dunedin's versatile jack-of-all trades in his senior year....
Mackenzie Dagostino has been named the new volleyball coach at Berkeley Prep. She will take over for her father, Randy, who coached the Bucs for 29 years and led them to 15 state championships.
Mackenzie played for her father at Berkeley Prep and graduated in 2012, moving on to the University of Florida before returning to Berkeley Prep as an assistant coach last season.
Randy Dagostino has 849 total wins in his time with the school. He stepped down after the 2012 season when Mackenzie graduated. He took over for John Coup, a former assistant, for the 2016 season....