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Hernando stars head south

Hernando High softball players Jill Penderghest and Norma Coleman have both decided to attend St. Petersburg Junior College, Hernando coach Brent Gaustad said. Gaustad said Penderghest and Coleman have accepted athletic grant-in-aids from the two-year school, where they will be reunited with pitcher Liz Krasemann, a former high school teammate.

Penderghest, a shortstop, and Coleman, an outfielder, played fast-pitch softball for two years at Hernando but will switch to slow-pitch at the St. Petersburg school.

Hernando won district and region slow-pitch championships in 1989, then won back-to-back fast-pitch district titles the past two seasons.

The duo's decision follows extensive post-season recognition for both players, including Penderghest's selection to the Florida Athletic Coaches Association's first-team Class 3A-2A-A fast-pitch all-state honor squad.

Penderghest joined second-team honoree Crissy Martin, a Ridgewood High pitcher who plans to play for Winthrop (S.C.) College, as the North Suncoast's only representatives on the all-state squad.

Both Coleman and Penderghest played in the FACA's North-South All-Star Slow-pitch Softball Series, a three-game event held earlier this month at Brooksville's Tom Varn Park. The pair played for the North squad, which swept the series.

Coleman was named to both the Times' all-North Suncoast and all-Gulf Coast Conference teams after hitting .345 and playing error-free centerfield this past season.

Penderghest was both the Times' all-North Suncoast and Gulf Coast Conference's Player of the Year after hitting .586, the three-county North Suncoast area's top batting average, and driving in 44 runs through district tournament play. She stole 88 consecutive bases over the past two years, including 53 during her senior season.

Hernando went 23-3 this past season, coming up one victory short of a berth in the four-team Class 3A-2A-A state championship tournament after falling to Tampa Plant High in its region championship game.