6A-5 AT GAITHER
SCHEDULE: Monday _ Gaither vs. Chamberlain, 4; King vs. Leto, 8; Tuesday _ East Lake vs. Hillsborough, 4; Wednesday _ Gaither-Chamberlain winner vs. King-Leto winner, 4; Tampa Bay Tech vs. East Lake-Hillsborough winner, 8; Friday _ Championship, 8.
OUTLOOK: East Lake, the lone Pinellas team in the district, has proven vulnerable with losses to Gaither and King and could have similar problems in the tournament after drawing the fourth seed. Though the Eagles are not the same dominant team from a year ago, they can very easily take over any game and make a run. Five batters are hitting better than .300, led by state all-star Josh Laws (.453). With three sound pitchers, Dustin Sode, Greg Coles and Shane Bach, East Lake should gain at least a runner-up spot.
5A-10 AT LAKE VISTA
SCHEDULE: Monday _ Boca Ciega vs. Northeast, 4; Lakewood vs. St. Petersburg, 7; Tuesday _ Gibbs vs. Boca Ciega-Northeast winner, 4; Dixie Hollins vs. Lakewood-St. Petersburg winner, 7; Thursday _ Championship, 7.
OUTLOOK: Dixie Hollins ran away with the regular-season district title, going 8-2. Too bad that alone doesn't translate into a post-season bid. While the Rebels are the hands-on favorite, Gibbs and Northeast could also come out of this district. The Gladiator battery of Leo Neuner (.406) and Boof Bonser (7-2) is lethal. Though the Vikings have played .500 ball all season, coach Rob Blair has his very young team believing it can win. Jimmy Leonard has been the man for Northeast, hitting .453. And if Lakewood can overcome off-field issues or St. Petersburg can stop dropping one-run games, this could be a fun bracket to watch.
5A-9 AT ENGLEBERT/DUNEDIN STADIUM
SCHEDULE: Tuesday _ Largo vs. Seminole, 5; Clearwater vs. Pinellas Park, 8 at Englebert; Wednesday _ Dunedin vs. Largo-Seminole winner 5, Countryside vs. Clearwater-Pinellas Park winner, 8; Friday _ Championship, 8.
OUTLOOK: Countryside is the top seed but don't overlook No. 2 Dunedin at home. The Cougars and Falcons have first-round byes which will help immensely in this wide-open district. Clearwater is playing some of its best ball of the season and Seminole has been strong all year. Pinellas Park started off on a tear and has faded recently but the Patriots have the guns to put a run together. Dunedin Stadium will be re-sodded during the first two days of the tournament and won't be ready until the final on Friday night.
5A-8 AT RIDGEWOOD
OUTLOOK: Defending champion Tarpon Springs went 7-3 in the district and drew the No. 2 seed after losing the battle for the top spot 9-1 to the host Rams last week. The Spongers will be without ace lefty Steve Patterson who broke his pitching hand, but they have enough talent remaining to get the job done. Ryan Tecklenburg has been a pleasant surprise for coach Scott Decatur behind the plate. He leads the team with a .455 average. The leadoff batter has set the table for 16 Spongers wins, hitting safely in 20 of the first 22 games and carrying a 16-game hitting streak into Tuesday's 11-4 win over Largo.
4A-12 AT JESUIT
SCHEDULE: Monday _ Wharton vs. Robinson, 4; Palm Harbor University vs. Blake, 7:30; Tuesday _ Osceola vs. Palm Harbor University-Blake winner, 4; Jesuit vs. Wharton-Robinson winner, 7:30; Thursday _ Championship, 7:30.
OUTLOOK: Osceola won 10 of its past 14 games before losing to Northeast on Tuesday. After starting 2-8 and losing its first two district games, the Warriors have claimed second place in the district, trailing only defending national champion Jesuit. During the turnaround, Steve Civello, Ken Danielski, Ian Church and Gerald Frazer all batted better than .400. Civello hit seven homers and drove in 21 runs. Jon Cross and Brian Serata accounted for seven of the 10 wins. With hot-hitting Kyle Misenti, Palm Harbor U. has proven it is no pushover and should be more of a contender next year.
3A-9 AT BERKELEY PREP
SCHEDULE: Tuesday _ SP Catholic vs. Berkeley Prep, 7; Thursday _ Championship, CC Catholic vs. SP Catholic-Berkeley Prep winner, 7.
OUTLOOK: The CCC Marauders have already clinched a postseason berth by virtue of their first-round bye in a three-team district. CCC has been the most consistent team in Pinellas County and that trend should continue far into the playoffs. The Marauders have played a tough schedule and have still proven to be one of the state's best teams in Class 3A. Their potent lineup boasts six .300 or better hitters led by shortstop Chris Hart at .477. And with senior state all-star Aaron Diehl on the mound striking out batters left and right, the Marauders will be tough to beat. Ranked Berkeley Prep will be a tough test for St. Petersburg Catholic, which played a difficult schedule.
2A-10 AT TAMPA PREP
SCHEDULE: Tuesday _ Northside Christian vs. Temple Heights, 4; Friday _ Championship, Tampa Prep vs. Northside Christian-Temple Heights winner, 4.
OUTLOOK: Northside Christian finished runner-up to state-ranked Berkeley Prep in the Private School Tony Saladino Tournament last week. Rob McNeal and Chris Wiggins provided the Mustangs with their first two complete games pitched in that span. Marc Gillette was the leading hitter going 8-for-15 with 4 RBI. Despite a 7-15 record, the Mustangs only need to win one more time to move into the postseason because of the three-team district. Eric Yourchisin (.424) joins Gillette (.444) as a tough one-two punch. The duo has combined for 53 hits and 35 RBI.
A-10 AT SHORECREST
SCHEDULE: Monday _ Indian Rocks vs. Admiral Farragut, 4; Tuesday _ Canterbury vs. Keswick, 2; Shorecrest vs. Indian Rocks-Admiral Farragut winner 4:30; Thursday _ Championship, 4.
OUTLOOK: So, you thought Shorecrest was toast when they started off sub-par? Not a chance. The Chargers have given coach Bill Van Aman a nice going-away present by claiming the top seed in the district and playing great of late. Keswick and Canterbury, which have both spent time in the state poll along with Shorecrest, also have first-round byes but meet each other for the right to win the title. Two of these three teams should advance. This district boasts seven of Pinellas' top eight hitters led by Admiral Farragut's Brian Allen at .575.
_ ERIC VICIAN