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Softball, hot ticket

By IZZY GOULD
Published March 15, 2007


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Izzy Gould can be reach at igould@tampabay.com or 727 580-5315.

BY IZZY GOULD TIMES STAFF WRITER

WESLEY CHAPEL - Pasco's Colena Lazar and Land O'Lakes' Michelle Bradley met here at Wesley Chapel - neutral ground - Wednesday to briefly get reacquainted. The pair once played on the same team and share some good memories. Bradley mentioned they used to play with a Ouija board, so we brought one in to break any tension. Truth be told, they were happy to see each. Times staff writer Izzy Gould asked them some need-to-know questions heading into tonight's key conference game that Pasco hosts at 7 p.m..

Why it's hot

Pasco and Land O'Lakes are the two most talented teams in the county from the way they turn double plays to the way they crush the ball with their bats. With just three losses between them, the Pirates and Gators have the top records in the county. That said, this the only meeting this season between the two and it's a key Sunshine Athletic Conference game. Bragging rights are huge for the winner, lasting until next spring.

Key matchup

A pair of sophomores head to the mound tonight in Lazar (Pasco) and Bradley (Land O'Lakes). They once played for a team called the Expeditions when they were learning how to hit and turn double plays. They were both pitchers back then and have developed into a pair of aces for their respective teams.

Why them?

Lazar is a powerful pitcher who snaps the glove with every pitch. She was an effective closer Tuesday in a 7-3 win over Zephyrhills and she proved solid at the plate, cranking a two-run home run over the leftfield wall. Pasco coach Shamalene Broner said she wishes she could get Lazar to slow down sometimes.

"When she's in that zone she's in that zone," Broner said. "If you're not ready, you're in trouble as a batter."

Bradley (3-0) is the Gators' ace and coach Jamie Martin admits to saving her for big games like this one. She loves to put movement in her pitches and prefers throwing a screwball or a curveball to keep batters off balance.

[Last modified March 15, 2007, 01:44:36]


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Colena Lazar Pasco

Michelle Bradley Land O'Lakes
Height 5-9 5-2
Nickname "Twin" "Bradley" or "B"
Pregame ritual Hits the same batting stations in a particular order. She eats snack mix before every game.
Favorite pro Kasie Clark Lisa Fernandez
Uniform quirk Won't wear jersey before a game. Wears a green ribbon in her hair.
Off day Goes mudding with her pickup truck. Goes to the gym.
Car Ford F-150, four door, lifted. Ford Explorer
Career highlight Two-run home run Tuesday against Zephyrhills. To be determined.
Tonight's game "Hopefully our team bats like they've been and our defense stays strong." "I'm more excited for it than I've been in my whole life."
Coach's comment "When she's on she's on," Pasco coach Shamalene Broner said. "The longer the game is the stronger she gets. By the seventh inning she's stronger than she was at the start of the game." "She's the all-around pitcher," Land O'Lakes coach Jamie Martin said. "She has great speed, great movement. Most pitchers have a bread-and-butter pitch. Quite frankly, all of Bradley's pitches are her best pitch."
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