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Rodney Page, Times Staff Writer

Rodney Page

Rodney Page covers golf and community sports. He has worked at the Times since 1996.

Phone: (727) 893-8810

E-mail: page@tampabay.com

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  1. Region baseball roundup: Indian Rocks Christian reaches first region final

    Baseballpreps

    LARGO — In the Class 3A, District 9 final between Indian Rocks Christian and Calvary Christian, it took nine innings before the Golden Eagles were able to secure the win. In the region semifinal rematch on Tuesday, it took them just one inning.

    Indian Rocks Christian scored four runs in the first inning and never looked back in an 11-5 win. This is the first time the Golden Eagles have advanced to a region final....

    Indian Rocks Christian’s Paul Kulaga goes the distance, pitching a complete game for the 11-5 win.
  2. HomeTeam Huddle: Osceola's wing-T teeming with talent

    Footballpreps

    SEMINOLE — Nothing has changed with Osceola's offensive scheme. The Warriors still plan to feature their running game in the wing-T. • But the players running the ball have Osceola coach George Palmer excited. Nick Shytle and Chad Brittain both return. So does Ryan Allan. • Throw in the addition of Travis Wateska, a transfer from Seminole, and the Warriors have a talented backfield with depth that can contend for a district title....

    Travis Wateska
  3. Region baseball: Toppling a giant boosts Lakewood's confidence

    Baseballpreps

    ST. PETERSBURG — Lake Vista Park's two baseball fields are usually empty on weekday afternoons in May. But on Monday, music blared from near the rightfield batting cages as Lakewood High School players took infield and shagged fly balls.

    The Spartans needed the field to practice for today's region semifinal at Robinson. It's a game many of them never thought they would play. Before this season, Lakewood hadn't won a region game since 1999. And its region quarterfinal opponent, Jesuit, was the defending Class 5A state champion. ...

    Lakewood baseball player Donovan Pink. [Times staff] 
  4. Region baseball roundup: Hillsborough's Jensen goes the distance

    Baseballpreps

    SEMINOLE — Hillsborough could not have scripted its Class 6A region quarterfinal any better. Terriers' starting pitcher Jared Jensen threw a complete-game three-hitter, Hillsborough's defense played error free and it came up with just enough offense to defeat Osceola 4-1 Wednesday night.

    "Jared wants to pitch in these situations," Hillsborough coach Kenny White said. "He's got three or four complete games this year and the last thing he wants to see is me coming out to the mound. It was good to see him get ahead early, pitch to contact and let his defense play.''...

  5. Region softball roundup: Admiral Farragut snags a bit of revenge

    Softballpreps

    ST. PETERSBURG — When Admiral Farragut and Northside Christian met in the district final, the Mustangs scored early and got solid pitching. The opposite happened in Wednesday's Class 3A region semifinal.

    The Blue Jackets jumped on Northside Christian starting pitcher Jordyn Counts in the first inning, and AFA pitcher Corynn Miner had 11 strikeouts in a 5-2 win.

    "We were out to get some revenge," Miner said. "They are kind of our rivals so we wanted to come here and kick butt."...

  6. HomeTeam Huddle: QB landscape takes new shape

    Footballpreps

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tampa Bay saw its fair share of high-profile high school quarterbacks last year. And with a lot of the top ones graduating this spring, a new crop of prospects waits in the wings, looking to grab the spotlight and trying to break a few records.

    Add Matthew Landers to that list.

    Landers spent his first day of spring practice Monday getting a physical exam and joining his team for the final half hour of workouts. The rising junior transfer from Lakewood will work full time with his new Admiral Farragut teammates today....

    Cyler Doran
  7. District baseball roundup: IRC beats Calvary Christian for 3A-9 title

    Baseballpreps

    ST. PETERSBURG — George Koulianos had a night to remember on Friday.

    The Indian Rocks Christian senior pitched 5⅔ innings of shutout relief and had the winning hit in the bottom of the ninth inning to help IRC defeat Calvary Christian 3-2 in the Class 3A, District 9 final. It is the Golden Eagles' first district championship since 2003.

    "The first time I ever pitched it was against Calvary and they hit me around,'' Koulianos said. "When I got the ball tonight I told myself that I wasn't going to lose this one.''...

  8. 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).
  9. District baseball roundup: Bishop McLaughlin hot from the start

    Baseballpreps

    TAMPA — Bishop McLaughlin left little doubt as to which team is tops in Class 3A, District 7.

    In Thursday night's tournament final, the top-seeded Hurricanes scored five first-inning runs and eased their way to a 7-1 win over No. 3 seed Carrollwood Day. Franklin German struck out 11 in six innings to earn the win.

    "Scoring early is always key, especially in games where there is some pressure like a district final,'' Hurricane coach Jeff Swymer said. "It gives your pitcher confidence to attack with the fastball. When we get a lead like that we can just let our defense play.''...

    Land O’Lakes’ Tommy Guglielmello tags out Dunedin’s John Paul Andrade as he tries to steal third during Dunedin’s 5-2 win.
  10. District baseball roundup: Northeast vs. Seminole final on tap

    Baseballpreps

    ST. PETERSBURG — When Northeast and Seminole met last week in the PCAC championship, the only thing at stake was bragging rights. When they meet again Friday, a Class 7A, District 9 championship is at stake.

    Northeast used a big sixth inning to surge past Countryside 6-2 in Wednesday's first semifinal. In the second, Seminole scored early and Joe Favetta pitched a complete game as the Warhawks beat top seed East Lake 6-3....

    Largo’s Jordan Mazzuco slides back to first base during the fourth inning of Osceola’s 2-1 extra-inning victory.
  11. 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.
  12. District baseball: Bogie, Lakewood to square off

    Baseballpreps

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Class 5A, District 10 final will be between neighborhood rivals.

    Top seed Boca Ciega got seven strong innings from starter Marlin Lagesse and benefitted from 10 Bradenton Southeast walks to win 5-1 Tuesday afternoon. Later in the evening, Lakewood pitcher Vince Iacone threw a three-hitter and the Spartans had 11 hits in a 6-0 win over Bradenton Bayshore.

    No. 2 seed Lakewood (13-13) will play at Boca Ciega (13-11) on Thursday at 4 p.m. for the district title. The Pirates won both regular-season games....

  13. District baseball preview: Can a local team go the distance?

    Baseballpreps

    This time last year, Jesuit limped into the Class 5A playoffs, losers of three of its last five games with nine players suspended for violating a school policy. Of course, the Tigers went on to win seven straight and a state championship.

    Do they have another run in them this season? Does any team in Tampa Bay have a chance to be this year's Jesuit? Tampa Bay has had several state champions in the past decade, including Alonso (2011, 2009), Dunedin (2008) and Clearwater Central Catholic (2007). And though there are many teams that have the potential to make a run this year, predicting just who that will be could be a challenge thanks to extreme parity....

    Entering districts, Jesuit looks to defend its state title with a strong pitching staff which includes No. 2 starter Bobby Hearn (4-3, 1.56 ERA).
  14. Miller: This season is my last

    Baseballpreps

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Scott Miller insists this is it.

    Unlike when he took some time off after 10 years at Northeast High School, or when he did the same after four years at Countryside and four more at Seminole, Miller said his varsity head coaching days are over whenever St. Petersburg Catholic ends its playoff run. The district tournament begins next week.

    "The desire to do it just isn't there anymore," said Miller, 60. "It's time."...

    St. Petersburg Catholic head coach Scott Miller chats with Clay Looney during the second inning of last week’s game against Calvary Christian. Miller said that he is retiring from baseball at the end of the season and teaching at the end of the school year.
  15. Baseball: Calvary Christian 9, St. Petersburg Catholic 1

    Baseballpreps

    ST. PETERSBURG — Calvary Christian pounded out 12 hits and got seven solid innings from sophomore left-handed starter Collin Booten in Friday night's 9-1 win over Class 3A, District 9 opponent St. Petersburg Catholic. The Warriors (15-5, 9-1) snapped a three-game losing streak and the Barons' win streak ended at six.

    "We haven't been getting those key two-out hits lately," Calvary Christian coach Greg Olsen said. "We haven't been doing the things that have to happen for us. We were able to do that (Friday)."...