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LEADING OFF. . .

Everything you need to know about the upcoming week

WHAT TO WATCH

HERNANDO BASEBALL AT PASCO, SATURDAY, 7 P.M.

Instead of forcing Hernando coach Tim Sims - or, frankly, any other coach at the school - to repeat himself for the 4,523rd time, we'll say it for him: whenever Pasco plays Hernando, the records go out the window!

The first meeting this season between the squads is worth keeping an eye on. Last year, Pasco swept the Leopards and outscored them 32-9, but the year before, Hernando upset the Pirates in the district final.

This time Pasco is without ace pitcher Dominic Brown, who moved to Georgia, and power-hitting catcher Casey Karppe, currently a freshman at Hillsborough Community College. But with nine seniors returning Ricky Giles' squad, as usual, will be formidable.

NATURE COAST BASEBALL AT CENTRAL, TONIGHT, 7:30.

These teams enter at opposite ends of the emotional spectrum. Central is fresh off a come-from behind win at Lecanto Friday, while Nature Coast squandered a seven-run lead in a loss to Springstead on Thursday. It's a big game for both in HCAC action.

BASE HITS

+ After losing two straight to start last week, Hernando's baseball team beat Hudson 9-1 on Friday. The Leopards, now 3-3 overall and 1-1 in district, have two more district games this week, against Gulf and against Pasco.

+ Hernando's softball team starts a stretch of four games in seven days Friday night against Nature Coast. Two games are against the Sharks (the rematch is the following Wednesday), and one against district rival Pasco, which handed Hernando its first loss of the season on Valentine's Day.

+ Springstead's Justin Jacobs was the catalyst behind the 9-8 comeback victory over neighboring Nature Coast. Down 8-2, Springstead roared back behind the senior third baseman, who went 2-2 with a single, a double, two runs and four RBIs.

ON DECK

GAMES TONIGHT: Baseball - Nature Coast at Central, 7:30; Softball - Central at Ridgewood, 7.

THURSDAY: Baseball - South Sumter at Nature Coast, 3; Central at Wesley Chapel, 7; Gulf at Hernando, 7; Softball - Gulf at Nature Coast, 3; Hernando at South Sumter, 7.

FRIDAY: Baseball - Nature Coast at Zephyrhills, 7; Ridgewood at Central, 7:30; Hernando at Pasco, 7; Softball - Nature Coast at Hernando, 7.

SATURDAY: Baseball - St. John's Neumann at Nature Coast, 3.

- DAVID MURPHY, VINCENT THOMAS

Times staff writers

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