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Sickles softball team advances; Chamberlain goes home

By ROD GIPSON
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 5, 2002

TAMPA -- While the Sickles softball team's dream of another state title survived the region semifinals, Chamberlain's hopes of advancing fell short.

A dominant team throughout the regular season, Chamberlain fell 5-2 to Durant in the Class 5A, Region 2 quarterfinals Tuesday. Uncharacteristically, starting pitcher Amanda Cody struggled for the Chiefs. Still, the Chiefs were tied with Durant at 2 after two innings but could muster no more offense. Durant chased Cody from the mound in the third inning and new Chamberlain pitcher Toni Anderson answered the call. Anderson allowed no runs and just one hit, but the damage was done by that point. Chamberlain ends its season with a 23-7 record.

Leto also suffered a defeat in the Class 5A, Region 2 playoffs.

The surprising Falcons led 4-1 against Plant City with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning before a Raider rally tied the game. Leto managed a run in the top of the seventh to take the lead, only to see Plant City score twice in its last at bat to win the game 6-5. The Falcons end their season at 12-9.

Sickles, meanwhile, advanced to the Class 4A, Region 3 finals after beating Palmetto 5-1 Thursday. The defending state champion at Class 4A, the Gryphons (22-3) got a bases loaded double from Alex Jones and back-to-back triples from Laura Templeton and Jackie Leppla.

SCHOLARSHIPS: Leto track standout Alexis Lambert will attend The Citadel on an athletic scholarship. Lambert will become the first female pole vaulter on the Bulldogs' track team. Lambert has been injured throughout most of this spring's season but has cleared 9 feet in vaults in the past. Also, Gaither linebacker Wes Voth has signed with Jamestown (N.D.) College. Voth, a 6-foot-1, 215-pounder, will continue to play linebacker, a spot where he led the Cowboys with 106 tackles last season.

TRACK & FIELD: Behind Kendra Smith, the Wharton girls team placed third at the Class 4A, Region 2 track meet Thursday at Palm Beach Gardens. Smith won the triple jump with a leap of 38 feet, 10 inches. That mark was nearly a foot off her personal best but still far enough for her to win. Smith also placed third in the long jump with a leap of 17 feet, 3 inches. Gaither, meanwhile, placed fourth overall, thanks to a first-place long jump of 18 feet, 1 inch from Natalie Caldwell. And the Cowboys' Dara Altman was second in the pole vault.

In the boys competition, Wharton was fourth after Laphonso Ray clocked 10.82 seconds to win the 100-meter dash. And although Leto placed 17th among the 30 teams in competition, the Falcons' Coe Federenko captured the 3,200-meter run, winning the event with a time of 9 minutes, 33 seconds. Federenko, Ray and the Wildcats boys 4X400 relay team qualified for the state meet, along with Smith and Wharton teammates Candace Dupree (discus) and Natalie Moser (pole vault).

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