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The Buzz

By JOHN C. COTEY
Published April 12, 2007


Check it out

River Ridge softball at Mitchell, 7 p.m.: The Mustangs hope for an undefeated season in the Sunshine Athletic Conference against their rival. Mitchell already claimed the conference title, but this one, a makeup game from Tuesday, should be a dandy.

Near The End

Rain couldn't stop the Wiregrass Ranch track teams Tuesday night, but youth did.

After mudding through the Class 2A-7 meet at The Villages, the Bulls saw their boys team's season come to and end and the girls team stay alive, just barely.

While none of the boys were able to muster top-four finishes, the girls got Liz Casey, Nichole Grey, L Flores, Lakeishia Brown, Alyssa Nolting and Haley Skipper through to next week's regionals.

Casey was second in the discus with a throw of 82 feet, and Grey was right behind at 81 feet, 9 inches. And the quartet of Flores, Brown, Nolting and Skipper teamed up to run the 4x800 in 12 minutes, seven seconds to grab fourth.

The Bulls are comprised of all freshmen and sophomores.

Boys coach Don Howard said he was disappointed none of the boys advanced, but not completely surprised considering the team's youth.

"I figured we'd have as few as one, and as many as six or seven," he said.

But the closest Bull was sophomore Scott Hauser, who was fifth in the 110 hurdles.

Howard said it was the team's first meet this season with prelims, and they took their toll on Hauser, who competed in both hurdles events and the triple jump, almost simultaneously.

"He made his last triple jump at 3:20 p.m.," said Howard, "and then had to run his high hurdles final at 3:30. He really just never got a break. He was competing for almost two hours straight without a chance to refresh himself or rest, except for the bottles of water I was throwing at him."

The coach, a former Wesley Chapel track assistant during the Wildcats' successful run the previous five years, said he was pleased with his team's progress this season, considering they didn't have a track to practice on until midway through, had no access to a weight room and no pole vault pits or throwing rings.

"We were throwing off the sidewalk," Howard said. "But I thought we were competitive and had good attitudes all season. I had 18-25 kids out there during spring break. We showed great promise and there's a great core there."

Good plan gone bad

Pasco's last baseball game until districts was supposed to be Friday against Nature Coast Tech, giving the Pirates a week off to rest up and prepare for the Class 4A-8 tourney.

Then it rained.

Tuesday night, the Pirates were supposed to take on Land O'Lakes before the game was postponed due to the weather. Now that game may have to be rescheduled for next week, though the idea did not seem to thrill coach Ricky Giles considering it is meaningless in the district and conference picture.

"Maybe next week," Giles said. "I guess probably maybe?"

Beau knows best

Sometime in the middle of February, Zephyrhills coach Tom Fisher made his annual trek to East Bay for a convention of sorts. He was shopping a couple of players to Division II and III colleges, including star linebacker Beau Barnes.

Thanks to a strong highlight tape, Barnes is headed to Weber International to play linebacker. Barnes had other offers. He looked at schools in Illinois, Texas, Michigan and Indiana.

"Apparently, they're giving him the best deal money-wise," Fisher said. "And it's close to home."

Coaches from around the state converged on the local high school, shopping players in this huge college-fair atmosphere.

Fisher had a number of schools interested in Cannellios Ansley, who likely will attempt to walk on at one of Florida's state schools such as Bethune-Cookman or Florida Atlantic.

Wesley Chapel signings

Michael Alvin, Jon Heiser and George Ford are headed to the college football ranks. Wesley Chapel's seniors will host a signing ceremony April 20 at 1:15 p.m.

Alvin, a wide receiver and safety, is headed to Livingstone College in North Carolina. Heiser, a kicker and punter, will sign with Averett University in Virginia. And Ford is headed to the University of Charleston.

Where's the love?

As Jerry Scott sees it, 13-2 deserves some recognition. Right? That's where Academy at the Lakes sits with two games left.

Don't worry, you might think, there's postseason play and if Academy is really that good then the accolades will come. Right? Wrong. The Wildcats are not eligible for postseason play until next season. So Scott is campaigning for Academy to get some recognition through the Florida Sports Writers Association.

Academy can be nominated for the Class A top-10 poll. And players such as Amber Hay and Brittney Scott, both worthy of all-state consideration, can be voted onto the Class A all-state team.

Stay tuned.

Speaking of votes

Pasco softball was finally considered in the "also receiving votes" category of the Class 4A poll. The Pirates are the lone county team to get any consideration in the six weeks voting has taken place.

Class 4A

1. Naples (11) (20-0) 110

2. Palatka (20-2) 98

3. Pembroke Pines Charter (18-2) 86

4. Groveland South Lake (19-3) 69

5. Escambia (19-4) 61

6. Okeechobee (18-3) 55

7. Braden River (12-2) 40

8. Bartow (15-7) 36

9. Lake Wales (15-4) 16

10. Space Coast (20-3) 15

Also receiving votes: Milton (17-5) 3, Crystal River (19-4) 2, Pasco (17-3) 2, Tallahassee Godby (15-3) 2, Green Cove Springs Clay (18-5) 1, Sebring (17-2) 1.

eBay away

The sixth annual Spirit of Saint Leo golf tournament is holding an online auction at eBay for sports memorabilia items and bidding is open until 7 p.m. on Monday.

Funds from the online sale will help support Saint Leo University's athletic scholarship fund. Included in the auction are:

- A Bobby Bowden autographed and framed 8x10 photograph (as of 6 p.m. Wednesday, at $41)

- A Cadillac Williams autographed football ($15.45)

- A Carl Crawford autographed and framed 8x10 photograph (99 cents)

- A Derek Jeter autographed and framed 8x10 photograph ($26.02)

- A Florida Gators signed championship collage by Chris Leak and Urban Meyer ($51)

- A Martin St. Louis autographed Canada hockey stick ($46)

- A Mike Alstott autographed and framed 8x10 photograph ($20.50)

- A Skybox personal refrigerator with Saint Leo Logo ($200)

Check out all the items at http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQsassZsaintleolions

By the numbers

1 Runs Mitchell has scored in starter Patrick Schuster's five losses

19 Runs scored in Schuster's two wins

0 Times Mitchell scored 10 runs or more before last week's game against Ridgewood

13 Runs Mitchell scored in a win over the Rams

5 At-bats for River Ridge sophomore Matt Sheets in his first game Monday

5 Hits for Sheets in first game

2 Strikeouts by Ridgewood catcher Doug Burlett in 67 plate appearances

John C. Cotey can be reached at johncotey@gmail.com or (727) 909-4612.