A few tweaks put Bucs into contention again

Published March 16, 2007

NEW PORT RICHEY - Gulf seemed to be back to form heading into a Sunshine Athletic Conference game Thursday against Ridgewood.

The Bucs had won two straight and coach Rick Hohenthaner sounded particularly optimistic provided his girls could pull out a win against the Rams.

Gulf was riding a two-game win streak and had its head above water at 7-5.

There were problems before, such as defense and offense. Hohenthaner said failure to make plays cost the Bucs some opportunities.

Quiet bats were a problem as well, but not anymore.

The Bucs have five players hitting .400 or better and freshman Brittney Mayhill is batting .525.

Hohenthaner credits Mayhill's production to moving her from second to ninth in the lineup.

"Since I made the move she's on a 7-for-7 tear," Hohenthaner said. "Truthfully it's been one move here, one move there and everyone's clicking."

So much so the Bucs enjoyed a rare 9-5 win March 8 at River Ridge.

How big was it?

"It was a phenomenal win for the program," Hohenthaner said. "In the five years I've been there we've never beaten them in the regular season."

Gulf also has had problems against Mitchell. The Bucs take on their other nemesis Thursday.

"We've been able to beat the one," Hohenthaner said. "Next week we face the other."

SUICIDE SQUEEZE: Academy at the Lakes has some confidence after a few wins.

Wildcats coach Jerry Scott praised Monday's 7-4 victory against Cambridge, calling it a quality win.

"We got our big win," Jerry Scott said. "That was huge for us."

Scott's daughter, Brittney, dropped a suicide squeeze, scoring Miranda Steinman for the winning run.

The Princeton-bound Scott has been on a tear, leading the Wildcats in several categories including batting average .654, walks (12), doubles (5), triples (4) home runs (2), RBIs (18) and stolen bases (25). Of course, those numbers were before Thursday's game against Wiregrass Ranch.

Scott hopes his daughter can keep up her production with spring break next week followed by a tough string of games including Shorecrest Prep, Tampa Catholic, fourth-ranked Canterbury and Sarasota Christian.

Izzy Gould can be reached at igould@tampabay.com or (727) 580-5315.