And Bloomingdale's softball team, after a 9-0 start, loses its first game, falling to East Bay.
BRANDON - After its hot start, Bloomingdale's baseball team has cooled off.The Bulls opened the season with two dominant wins, with standout pitching performances from Paul McClay and Ryan Strauss that yielded just one hit in the first 12 innings of the season. But things have changed since. After defeating Durant to start 3-0, the Bulls have dropped back-to-back contests to Sarasota (11-4) and King (15-11). Against Sarasota, Strauss lasted less than three innings, giving up six hits and six runs in that span. Tied at 4 after two innings, the Sailors scored five runs in the third to blow the game open. The Bulls' McClay and Collins had singles, while Scott Porter had a double and Mike Latuf had a two-run home run.
The Bulls showed plenty of offense against King but their pitching suffered. Bloomingdale sent five pitchers to the mound, giving up 16 hits in the process. The Bulls defense didn't help with four errors in a miscue-filled contest. King made eight errors.
Armwood, meanwhile, is off to a 4-1 start after defeating Freedom (8-4) on March 5. Trailing 2-0 to the Patriots, the Hawks stormed back behind doubles from Sean Baumann, Paul Clark, Scott Slein and Joaquin Fernandez. Daniel Fox picked up the win to improve to 2-0 on the season. In games scheduled for today, Armwood plays at Newsome, Brandon hosts Middleton, East Bay hosts Plant and Tampa Bay Tech plays at Freedom. On Saturday, Bloomingdale tries to find its winning ways again at Sickles.
SOFTBALL: Bloomingdale's perfect start has ended. After nine straight wins to open the season, the Bulls lost 2-0 to East Bay on March 6. Bloomingdale couldn't muster much of an attack against the Indians, maybe because of a tough 3-2 win the night before against rival Riverview.
Against the Sharks, Bloomingdale trailed, rallied to take the lead and then held for its ninth straight win. Nicole Anderson was solid on the mound for the Bulls, striking out 10 Sharks. She wasn't as effective a day later, picking up the loss that left her 3-1 on the season. Bloomingdale hosts Plant City today. In other games, Newsome hosts Armwood, Brandon hosts Middleton, Durant hosts Sarasota, East Bay hosts Plant and Tampa Bay Tech is at Freedom.
SOCCER: Hillsborough County won the Senior Soccer Challenge March 6 in Clearwater with a little help from Durant standout Steven Olieberg, who scored the first goal of the match in a 2-1 Hillsborough win. In the girls match, Pinellas topped Hillsborough 2-1.
In addition to Olieberg, other local players on the boys team were Bloomingdale's Chris Sedlak, Grant Novitske and Tom Davison, Brandon's David Zettel, Riverview's Tyler Nuckols and Scott Swackhammer of East Bay.
The girls squad included Durant's Raelynn Wapinsky, Alicia Tirelli and Brigette Wightman, Bloomingdale's Lauryn Oser and Daniela Davis, Riverview's Ashley Lopez and East Bay's Casey Smith.
TRACK & FIELD: Although Wharton's boys and girls squads dominated the event, local teams did perform solidly at the Nash Higgins Relays March 6 at Leto. The Armwood boys placed third, picking up a first-place finish in the shuttle hurdles, and Riverview was sixth.The Armwood girls tied for second place while Riverview was fourth, Bloomingdale was fifth, Tampa Bay Tech placed sixth and the Brandon girls finished eighth. Riverview and Brandon finished first in the discus and shot put, respectively. All the Hillsborough County squads will compete at the Steak n Shake Invitational Saturday at USF.
AWARDS: Armwood football coach Sean Callahan, who led the Hawks to the county's first 15-0 season and first state championship since 1969, earned coach of the year honors. Callahan also won the coach of the year award in 1995 and 1996.