Bob Putnam, Preps Reporter

Bob Putnam

Preps Reporter

I've been a staff writer since 1996. My career started before that as a correspondent with the St. Petersburg Times. I covered former Tampa Bay Buccaneer and current USF assistant Shaun King's first start as a quarterback at Gibbs High. Writing about locals is a passion. I'm a fourth-generation Floridian who graduated from Dixie Hollins High. My great grandfather owned a farm in Pinellas Park. My father was among the first graduating classes at Boca Ciega. Sometimes I venture into other sports. Once, I tried out for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. I was even assigned to one of their minor league affiliates. Well, sort of. Dan Jennings, the team's director of scouting at the time, said he was sending me to Walla, Walla, Wash. He was kidding. I think. Well, either way, I'm still here doing what I love to do.

State softball: Academy at the Lakes needs just five innings to reach final

Academy at the Lakes senior Lexi Kilfoyl fires a pitch during a Class 2A state semifinal in Vero Beach Tuesday morning. (SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times)
Lexi Kilfoyl throws a one-hit shutout as the Wildcats beat Peniel Baptist 10-0 in the Class 2A semifinals.

Softball, military blend nicely for Admiral Farragut’s Lexi Hernandez

Admiral Farragut's Alexis Hernandez (2) keeps an eye on the ball during last season's Class 3A state semifinal vs. John Carroll Catholic. (ANDRES LEIVA   |   Special to the Times)
The game attracted the second baseman to the Blue Jackets, but the structure and tradition of the academy help refocus her future.

Spotlight always finds Academy at the Lakes ace Lexi Kilfoyl

Academy at the Lakes pitcher Alexis Kilfoyl (9) fields an infield grounder at the bottom of the first inning during last year's Class 2A state championship vs. Aucilla Christian. (ANDRES LEIVA   |   Special to the Times)
The Alabama signee doesn’t necessarily seek it out, but there’s never been any hiding her talent as she leads her team back to state.

Scouting Tampa Catholic’s state softball semifinal

Tampa Catholic senior Alexa Russo has been with the Crusaders and coach Jackie Hirschfeld for four years. Russo and the Crusaders are making a trip to the Class 4A state final four for the first time since 1997, the year Hirschfeld played on the only TC softball team to win a state title. (SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times)
The Crusaders are in the Class 4A state semifinals for the first time since 1997.

Scouting Admiral Farragut’s state softball semifinal

Admiral Farragut centerfielder Haley Saylor (1) catches a pop-fly in the bottom of the third inning during last year's Class 3A state championship game vs. Cornerstone Charter. (ANDRES LEIVA   |   Special to the Times)
The Blue Jackets are back in Vero Beach to defend their Class 3A state title.