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Prep notebook

Despite slump, Durant commands district

By ROD GIPSON
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 18, 2003

BRANDON -- The Durant baseball team begins the Class 5A, District 7 tournament in Haines City April 28 as the No. 1 seed. Despite Durant's 5-3 loss to Lakeland Tuesday, the Cougars are still the 5A-7 top team thanks to Haines City's win over Lakeland on Monday.

That's good news for the Durant team, which has been in a slump lately.

After opening the season at 5-0, the Cougars have gone 9-7 and have dropped four of their last six games. Still, Durant has had solid play from freshmen pitchers Carmine Giardina and Trent Davis and junior catcher Jake Flanagan, who had an RBI double in the Lakeland loss. Giardina and Davis combined to allow no runs, two hits and six strikeouts in the later innings of the loss to the Dreadnaughts.

Durant plays at Bloomingdale Saturday, is at Brandon Tuesday and ends the regular season April 25 at home against Riverview. In other upcoming games: Bloomingdale is at Brandon and Riverview is at Plant City today, while Armwood plays at Riverview and East Bay is at Wharton Saturday. Also, Tampa Bay Tech plays at Riverview, East Bay is at Middleton and Armwood hosts King in games on April 22.

SOFTBALL: With the second seed in the district playoffs and a first-round bye on the line, Bloomingdale was without two of its top players and suffered a 3-1 loss April 12 to district foe Venice. Bloomingdale first baseman Kristin Mass (hamstring) and catcher Alex Ramirez (broken finger) suffered their season-ending injuries April 10 during a loss to East Bay. Still, the Bulls head to the Class 6A-5 district tournament as the No. 3 seed. Allison Kime, who is 10-2 on the season, is one of the area's best pitchers.

The Bulls wrap up the regular season with home games against Durant Monday and Wharton Tuesday. In other games, Armwood is at Riverview Saturday and King at home Tuesday, while Brandon ends the regular season April 25 at King. East Bay is at Middleton Tuesday, the same day Riverview hosts Tampa Bay Tech.

ALUMNI: Former Bloomingdale standout baseball player and current USF player Travis Brown has been named Conference USA Hitter of the Week. A junior left fielder, Brown hit .529 (9-of-17) from April 6-13 and he hit .538 (7-of-13) in USF's first-ever sweep at St. Louis. Four of his seven hits against the Billikens were for extra bases, including a home run April 11, a double and a home run a day later and a game-winning double with two outs in the top of the eighth inning April 13. Brown has been USF's top hitter over the last 10 games, raising his average from .308 to .340. In the last 10 games he has hit .409 (10-of-18 hits for extra bases), including four home runs.

SCHOLARSHIPS: Former Brandon High basketball player Kiana Robinson has signed with the University of Connecticut. Robinson, who played for the Eagles during her junior season and transferred to Laurinburg High School in North Carolina last year, earned Parade magazine All-American third teams honors this past season. Her efforts earned her the scholarship with the Huskies, who captured the women's NCAA national championship April 8.

Also, former Brandon standout forward Sredrick Powe has signed with Birmingham Southern. Powe suffered a stroke two seasons ago while playing for Tallahassee Community College. After two years of rehabilitation, he returned to the court this past season for TCC; Powe was awarded a scholarship with the Division I school. He averaged 10 points and eight rebounds a game last season for TCC.

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