SEMINOLE — Andrew Mills and Matthew Emerick met on a baseball field. They were teammates on a developmental squad at Seminole High School. Mills was a freshman, Emerick a sophomore.
But it was an incident off the field that will forever link the two.
After a Sunday practice March 2, 2014, while hanging out in Emerick's bedroom, Emerick was showing off his father's .22-caliber rifle and accidentally shot Mills. The bullet entered Mills' abdomen and lodged in the right side of his back, near his spine....
ST. PETERSBURG — It was only the bottom of the first inning, but Northeast coach Rob Stanifer knew how important a second run would be in Friday night's Class 7A, District 9 game against Countryside. That was why he called for a bases loaded squeeze play with one out.
The bunt worked, giving the Vikings a two-run lead. That was all left-handed ace Colton Tison needed in a 6-0 shutout of the Cougars. Tison had a three-hitter and struck out eight while throwing 105 pitches....
Berkeley Prep defensive tackle Bo Peek committed to Stanford, the three-star recruit announced via Twitter on Tuesday.
"Blessed to say I have committed to play football and further my education at Stanford University," he tweeted.
Peek, a 6-foot-3, 290-pound junior, has played varsity football at Berkeley Prep for three seasons, totaling 93 tackles, 43 for loss. During his junior campaign, one in which the Bucs finished 8-4, Peek had 42 tackles, 23 for loss, and 3.5 sacks....
LAKELAND — Land O'Lakes spent all week preparing for its Class 5A state semifinal opponent, Jacksonville Paxon. Despite all the drills and film, the Gators were not ready for the real thing.
Paxon jumped out to a quick lead, held the Gators scoreless in the second quarter and eased its way to a 56-13 win Friday night at the Lakeland Center. Land O'Lakes (28-4) was held to its lowest point total of the season....
High school baseball season is in full swing, and if the first few games have taught us anything, it's that there are more questions than answers. Is there an area team capable of making a state title run like Jesuit did last season? Is there a surprise team that gets to the state tournament like Sunlake did in 2014? Do East Lake and Clearwater Central Catholic remain the dominant teams in Pinellas? ...
Tom Hilbert has been around high school baseball ever since he was a freshman at Dunedin in 1985. He was an assistant under legendary coach Greg Nichols. He coached at Dixie Hollins for four years before taking over at Dunedin in 1997. Hilbert was head coach in 2008 when the Falcons won a state championship. Overall, Hilbert spent 16 seasons as the Falcons' head coach and won 380 games. ...
LAKELAND — For the past three years, Calvary Christian has proven it's good enough to get to the Class 3A state semifinals. What the Warriors haven't been able to do is win a game once they get to the Lakeland Center.
That trend continued on Tuesday when they were overwhelmed by Miami Country Day 71-35. Calvary Christian was outmuscled and outhustled by the Spartans, who are ranked sixth in the nation by USA Today....
When the final second ticked off the running clock in Seffner Christian's region final matchup with Daytona Beach Father Lopez, the Crusaders celebrated their fourth state semifinal berth in five seasons at midcourt.
Sophomore point guard Chelsie Hall, however, scanned the crowd, then ran into the arms of the group of students cheering from the sideline, letting out an enthusiastic cry.
Six months ago Hall, a transfer from Coral Springs Charter, was quiet and kept to herself. Now, her teammates say, she brings an energy that can't be matched. It's an energy that just might have been the missing piece to the Crusaders' championship puzzle. ...
ORLANDO — For about eight minutes Saturday it looked as if Palm Harbor University might hang with Colonial in the Class 8A region final. But in the second quarter, reality set in.
The Grenadiers, ranked No. 1 in the state in Class 8A by MaxPreps, led by only three after the first quarter but poured it on after that to win convincingly, 78-29. Colonial (24-4) advanced to next week's state semifinals. The Hurricanes end their season 23-6....
Dave Hallman of Clearwater has been playing golf since high school, chasing that elusive hole in one. Sunday at East Bay Golf Club in Largo, he got something even more rare: A 2 on a par-5, or an albatross. Hallman, 53, hit a 258-yard drive on the 13th hole. His second shot was a 4-iron from 196 yards. "It was going straight at it,'' Hallman said. "It hit about 5 yards from the hole, took a bounce and then disappeared. We started jumping up and down.'' Golf Digest and Golf World have cited the odds of an albatross at about 1 million-to-one. Hole-in-one odds are estimated at 13,000-to-one....
WESLEY CHAPEL — Wiregrass Ranch added another chapter to its already historic season after defeating Melbourne 1-0 Friday night in a Class 4A region final. The Bulls, in the first region final in school history, got a goal from Brendan Duran with three minutes left and hung on for the victory.
Now comes the school's first state semifinal appearance on Feb. 13 in Melbourne.
"It's amazing," Duran said. "To be able to help my team get this far, amazing."...
PALM HARBOR — It took a few fiery speeches and some good third-quarter shooting before Palm Harbor University finally pulled away from Alonso for a 55-39 win in Thursday's Class 8A region quarterfinal. Julia Ingram led the Hurricanes with 21 points. Alonso's Angel Golden led all scorers with 23.
PHU (22-5) will play at home Tuesday against Sarasota Riverview. The Ravens end their season 17-10....
Lakewood's Ryan Davis had such a hard time deciding between Auburn and Florida that he briefly thought about flipping a coin. Davis, a 5-foot-9, 167-pound quarterback who will play receiver in college, said he didn't fall asleep until 4 a.m., finally secure with his decision.
He will attend Auburn.
"It wasn't until last night, late last night, that I finally made my decision," Davis said. "I weighed both schools and I just felt Auburn had the upside. … But it was close."...
Lakewood's Ryan Davis had such a hard time deciding between Auburn and Florida that he briefly thought about flipping a coin. Davis, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound quarterback who will play receiver in college, said he didn't fall asleep until 4 a.m., finally secure with his decision.
He will attend Auburn University
"It wasn't until last night, late last night, that I finally made my decision," Davis said. "I weighed both schools and I just felt Auburn had the upside. There were some questions at Florida and that's what triggered my decision to go to Auburn. But it was close. I could've flipped a coin."...
Tampa Bay Tech quarterback Deon Cain has had some of the fastest feet in Tampa Bay, rushing for more than 2,600 yards the past two seasons while leading the Titans to their first region final appearance.
Lakewood quarterback Ryan Davis made a similar impact through the air, breaking the Pinellas County all-time passing record of 6,733 career yards and finishing his senior campaign with 2,140. ...