"We'll win at least two games at the district tournament. We'll be in the final. I guarantee
it. And you can quote
me on that."
_ CORY SEELS
Saint Leo wins opener
Eddie Stabile said he didn't think his Saint Leo team would be playing long ball this season and even used the Earl Weaver reference about three-run homers to illustrate his point.
Then his team went out and proved him wrong, at least for a night.
South Florida transfer Joe Ricciardi and Central Florida transfer Erik Shafer hit three-run homers to lead the Lions to a 10-5 win over fourth-ranked Florida Southern.
The game was tied 5-5 in the top of the eighth when Ryan Picard and Matt Krot singled and advanced to second and third base on a wild pitch. After Ricciardi struck out, Trevor Hall's hit scored both.
After a walk chased pitcher Nick Lee, Shafer greeted Brent Franklin with a three-run homer to seal the game.
4A-7 seeds finalized
When Hudson beat Pasco 52-48 on Tuesday, it ended three days of confusion and finally set the seeds for next week's Class 4A, District 7 tournament.
Tuesday's game originally was scheduled for Saturday but was postponed because the referees failed to show. The teams re-scheduled their 4A-7 finale for Tuesday, but there was still one problem.
The FHSAA mandates all district games be completed by Jan. 29 unless approved by the commissioner.
With approval, Hudson's win earned it the No. 3 seed in the tournament, which begins Wednesday.
Because the Cobras (11-11) finished in a tie with Springstead at 5-5 in the district, a tiebreaker was required to set the seedings and tournament schedule.
After three tiebreakers failed to produce a winner, Hudson finally earned the third seed on the fourth tiebreaker _ away games won against district opponents. The Cobras had three wins while Springstead had two.
AROUND THE COUNTY
Alumni game set
Hudson baseball's alumni will return for an exhibition game against the current crop of Cobras to raise money for the program.
The charity game is at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Hudson baseball field, and organizing alum Dolan Norfleet said about 40 ex-players and coaches will be involved in the festivities.
They will take on coach Jack Ledbetter's current crop of players in the first-ever alumni game at the school.
"We've invited back ex-players and ex-coaches," Norfleet said. "We're still looking for alumni who want to join the team, too."
For more information, call Norfleet at (727) 869-7692 or the school at (727) 836-4200.
WHO: River Ridge vs. Land O'Lakes.
WHAT: Class 3A, District 10 girls soccer semifinals.
WHEN: 8 p.m.
THE SKINNY: The county's two best teams feature the county's two best goal scorers in Lindsay Jones (River Ridge) and Stacy Bishop (Land O'Lakes). But what makes these teams the best are excellent supporting casts. The loser is done for the season while the winner moves to the district final and clinches a regional playoff berth. The Royal Knights are 6-0-1 in the last seven against the Gators, including two shutouts last season and a 2-1 win and 2-2 tie this season.
IN SPORTS EXTRA
The soccer district tournaments continue. Plus Hudson travels to Central in wrestling. Page 12C
_ Compiled by staff writers John C. Cotey, Kevin Kelly and Jamal Thalji