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Bucs rise as hitting comes around

The big plans Gulf coach Rick Hohenthaner had for his team did not transpire in the first three games - all losses.

But the Bucs rebounded from that inauspicious start with three straight wins to even their record heading into tonight's home game against South Sumter at 7.

Before last year, Gulf had two wins in the previous three seasons. The Bucs made history last season by winning their first-ever playoff game and finishing 12-14. Hohenthaner told his players he expects a winning record this year.

Gulf has scored 18 runs in two games this week, a 7-4 comeback win Tuesday at Springstead followed by Wednesday's 11-5 home-opening win over Hudson. In the latter the Bucs had season highs for runs and hits (11) as every batter got at least one hit.

"The offense is starting to come alive," Hohenthaner said, noting the Bucs had just seven runs in the first three games.

Trailing Springstead 3-2, Gulf scored three in the top of the sixth inning to take a 5-3 lead. Stefani Giannakaris hit a two-run triple and scored on Katie Schulman's bunt. The Bucs added two insurance runs in the seventh.

Gulf's turnaround began with last Friday's 4-2 win at Zephyrhills. Devin Fellman and Sarah Simon each had two hits; Fellman scored twice and Simon had a run and an RBI.

Defensively, shortstop Julie Wisniewski had two unassisted double plays by snaring line drives and doubling runners off of first base.

Alisha Maxey allowed six hits for the win over Zephyrhills. The junior also scattered five hits in the win over Hudson.

"It was our breakthrough win for the year," Hohenthaner said of the win over Zephyrhills, a Class 4A, District 8 rival.

Before that Gulf was 0-3 overall and 0-2 in the district.

CATCH THIS ONE: River Ridge hosts Mitchell at 7 tonight in a meeting of arguably the best two teams on the west side.

River Ridge is 3-0 and Mitchell, which moved up to Class 6A, District 7, is 4-2.

River Ridge's Nicole Denney (3-0) gets the start while Mustangs coach Scott Bisbe said Olivia Kline would likely get the nod.

"We'll battle," Bisbe said.

- STEVE LEE, Times staff writer

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