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Chamberlain sluggers lead county

If a list of Hillsborough County's softball offensive leaders looks a lot like Chamberlain's daily lineup, it's not by accident. A little less than a month into the season, the undefeated Chiefs have had plenty of hitting.

Missy Zick, JoJo Medina, Natalie Ippolito, Valerie Kennel, Kendra Harless, Ashley Arcuri and Kelly Conter are all among the area's best hitters. Zick leads the Chiefs in batting and is third in the county with a .636 average. Zick also has three doubles and four RBI. Medina is next at .625, followed by Kennel at .615, Conter (.500), Ippolito (.429), Harless (.415) and Arcuri (.417).

As good as the Chiefs offense has been, its defense has been even better. Chamberlain has won its first five games in shutouts. The Chiefs have outscored their opponents 64-0.

And with just four games during the next four weeks, the Chiefs may maintain their streak. Chamberlain hosts Blake Wednesday, hosts Wharton Saturday, hosts Hillsborough March 18 and plays at Leto April 1.

Among other teams, Alonso trounced Middleton 13-2 and Wharton lost to King by the same score on March 5. A day earlier, Leto fell to King 5-4, Sickles defeated Blake 20-0, Jefferson lost to Brandon 8-0 and Wharton fell to Durant 14-0.

BASEBALL: It's still early in the season, but Sickles is off to a hot start. The Gryphons are 5-0, undefeated in Class 4A, District 9 play and coming off a 13-0 win against Blake March 4. All totaled, Sickles has outscored its opponents 31-6 this season with great hitting and solid pitching.

Junior left-handed pitcher Shane Buritt is 3-0. Junior right-hander Nick Loden is 2-0. The duo has combined for 34 strikeouts in 32 innings. Offensively, catcher Paul Moat leads Sickles with three home runs. He's batting .417. Rigo Febles is hitting .429 and Tanner Federico is batting .417. Sickles plays at Armwood Tuesday and at Plant Friday.

MORE BASEBALL: Chamberlain improved to 5-0 after defeating Middleton 19-4 Tuesday. Rocky Rocamora had two triples, Clay Spivey hit a home run and pitcher Brad Johnson allowed nine hits while getting the complete game win. In other games Tuesday, Jefferson lost 12-1 to Brandon, Leto fell 6-3 to King, Gaither lost 5-1 to Sarasota and Alonso topped Middleton 5-2.

WRESTLING: Two Sickles wrestlers performed well at the Class 2A state finals March 1 in Lakeland. Stan Liberatore placed second in the 125-pound weight class and Omar Mubaidin placed third at 171 pounds.