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He pitches a no-hitter, but he's a shortstop

He may be on his way to being a college shortstop, but Armwood's Brandon McArthur was a pretty good prep pitcher March 7. McArthur pitched a no-hitter against Jefferson, completing the game while lifting the Hawks to a 9-0 win.

A University of Florida signee, McArthur threw 96 pitches while striking out eight, walking two and continually getting a good-hitting Dragons team to ground or fly out. McArthur, who is 2-1 this season as a hurler, got plenty of offense from his teammates, who pounded out nine hits.

Eric Baumann's three-run home run in the first inning gave the Hawks a 3-0 lead and they added to it two innings later on a two-run homer from Kevin Clark.

The Hawks followed up that solid win with another Tuesday, topping Sickles 11-6. Armwood trailed 5-3 but regained control after scoring seven runs over the third and fourth innings. Armwood (5-1) hosts East Bay Saturday and Blake on Wednesday.

MORE BASEBALL: McArthur wasn't the only pitcher to have a recent no-hitter. Bloomingdale's Ryan Strauss threw a five-inning no-hitter March 4 against Venice. Strauss struck out eight, walked one and hit a batter in the Bulls' 11-0 win. Strauss is 2-2 on the season with 31 strikeouts.

Durant also has fared well in recent action. The Cougars have won three games in a row, defeating Lakeland 5-1 last Friday, trouncing Tampa Bay Tech 11-1 a day later and beating Freedom 14-1 Tuesday. Against Tech, Jeremiah McSpaddin and Dan Branca each had doubles as the Cougars had 11 hits while improving to 7-2 on the year. Speaking of Durant, the Cougars boast one of Hillsborough County's top pitchers in Ross Jackson. The senior right-hander has a county-best 0.88 ERA to go along with his 1-1 record. Jackson has struck out 25 batters in 16 innings and has walked one.

In other games Tuesday, Bloomingdale fell 5-4 to Sarasota and Brandon beat Tampa Bay Tech 8-1. Tech (1-6 this season), however, did earn its first win of the year last Friday, beating Blake 12-2.

In upcoming contests, Bloomingdale hosts King Saturday, Brandon hosts Plant City, Durant is at Haines City Tuesday and East Bay hosts Tampa Bay Tech Wednesday.

SOFTBALL: After Riverview lost its first game of the season March 4 to Sarasota Riverview, the Sharks had the tough task of facing rival Chamberlain a few days later. But instead of suffering a two-game losing streak, the Sharks posted a 3-1 win against the Chiefs last Friday. The Sharks (7-2) continued their winning ways Monday, defeating Sarasota 3-0. Beth DiPietro pitched the Sharks to all three wins, allowing a total of 11 hits in the three games. DiPietro, 6-1 this season, drove in a run with a double in the Chamberlain game. Caycie Maines knocked in the other two runs with a single.

Bloomingdale's Allison Kline also is pitching well.

Kline is 5-0 on the season and has allowed just a single hit in each of her games. Tuesday against Sarasota, Kline struck out 14 and walked one while allowing her lone hit. The Bulls topped the Sailors 3-0 to improve to 6-2 on the year and 2-2 in Class 6A, District 5.

DiPietro and Kline will square off today when Bloomingdale plays at Riverview in a huge 6A-5 district game. Also today, Brandon hosts Blake, East Bay hosts Haines City, Tech hosts Jefferson and Durant is at Plant City.

SOCCER: Several area boys and girls players competed in the Senior Soccer Challenge Saturday in Clearwater. Brandon's Michael Guess and Jason Poole, Bloomingdale's Boomer Morgan and Angelo Metallo and Tampa Bay Tech's Johnny Wobensmith played for the Hillsborough County squad that lost 1-0 to the Pinellas all-stars.

In the girls game, Brandon's Siobhan Percy, Tampa Bay Tech's Erin Dafeldecker and Jenna Ball, East Bay's Lisa Verbosky and Alyse Migliaro, Bloomingdale's Ashley Quaid and Durant's Colleen Feeney and Beth Remmert. After playing to a 0-0 tie in regulation, the Pinellas girls won the game 2-1 on penalty kicks. Remmert earned MVP honors for the Hillsborough squad.

TRACK & FIELD: Riverview's girls and Armwood's boys performed well at the Nash Higgins Relays Saturday at Leto. The Riverview girls placed third, Tampa Bay Tech was fourth and Brandon tied for eighth. The Armwood boys, on the strength of their first-place finish in the 4x110 relays, placed fourth. Riverview tied for seventh and East Bay was 10th.