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Gulf travels to Zephyrhills tonight at 7 for the first pitch of the season. This is a key Class 4A, District 8 softball battle between two of the favorites to contend for a state tournament berth. But both teams struggled in preseason games. The Bulldogs dropped a double-header to George Jenkins, and the Bucs lost games to East Lake and Tarpon Springs.

Zephyrhills coach Craig Milburn said he expects to lean on the arm of Kaitlyn Hutchison. The Bucs have tinkered with their fielding positions after the loss of shortstop Julie Wisniewski to graduation.

Pirates fall in finals rematch

Pasco's softball team played Lake Wales in a preseason tournament matching the Class 4A state finalists from a year ago. The Pirates fell in last year's final 7-0 and struggled last weekend 12-1. Pasco won its first game against Auburndale 6-1.

Gulf's Schau done with volleyball

Gulf coach Shari Schau has resigned as girls volleyball coach after 13 seasons. She will continue to coach soccer.

The grind of coaching two sports was beginning to wear on Schau, 44, with lots of early mornings and too many late nights. She said with a laugh, "I don't have a life."

In recent years, minor health problems surfaced, including some headaches in the fall. She never had them in the past. There were also time concerns with the seasons backing up to each other.

"I just don't feel like I can give enough of myself to both teams," Schau said.

Corrections

- Mitchell softball player Courtney Stager was misidentified in a photo caption in Monday's Times.

- Springstead softball player Becky Powell was misidentified in a photo caption in Monday's Times.

Compiled by Times staff writer Izzy Gould.

Perry commits to Wayne State

Ridgewood linebacker Ben Perry has orally committed to Wayne State (Neb.), Rams coach Chris Taylor said. Perry took an on-campus visit over the weekend and accepted an offer.

Perry, who was a second-team all-state player in Class 4A last season, will play middle linebacker for the Wildcats. He had 166 tackles and six sacks as a senior.

He'll join former Land O'Lakes star Dontarrius Thomas, who signed with Wayne State last year.

On The Web: Batter up & Dandy dozen

Softball starts up this week, so get the full scoop on the best of the bay area teams in our video preview, and check out our live scoreboards each night. Also, the last installment of the boys basketball Dandy Dozen is up. Check it all out at highschool.tampabay.com.

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