By STEVE JACKSON
The Lennard Longhorns won the silver division of the Saladino Baseball Tournament over the spring holidays last week. Coach Victor Martinez’ diamond squad beat the Robinson Knights Thursday in a thrilling 10-8 contest at Lennard. The victory left the Longhorns with a perfect 9-0 worksheet for the season. Lennard swept all four opponents in the Tony Saladino 41st Tournament. The famous tourney was held in two divisions this season. Lennard claimed the silver division in Ruskin while the Plant High Panthers took the gold division by nipping Sickles 7-6 in Dover at the Strawberry Crest diamond.
Winning their first two games in the Saladino Tourney at Lennard, the Longhorns eked out a 2-0 nail-biter over East Bay March 15. Meanwhile, Sebastian Munoz and Alex Brazer held the Indians scoreless from the mound. Lennard used an RBI from both Logan Covey and Matthew Counts to scratch out enough offense. Senior pitcher John Smith came to the mound in the 7th inning to save the win for Lennard.
An early Wednesday rain moved the championship match with Robinson to Thursday afternoon. Although Robinson outhit Lennard, the Longhorns received key RBIs from Munoz and Smith. Senior Keith McClain registered three RBIs to push Lennard to the throne room. Lennard was highly aided by seven stolen bases and, once again, by a stellar 7th inning save from Smith.
All five South Shore high school baseball teams return to action this week.
Lennard hosted 2-6 Brandon on Tuesday. The Longhorns travel to 6-4 Durant to play March 24. Wharton, now sporting an 8-2 mark, comes to Ruskin for a showdown March 28.
East Bay coach Cody Crouse, after posting a 1-2 mark in the Saladino tourney, hopes to improve his team’s 2-6 won-loss record over its next four games. The Indians hosted Durant March 22. Following that game, EB travels to Bloomingdale for a contest with the Bulls March 24. A 10 a.m. game with Blake in Tampa follows on March 26. Then Armwood comes to Big Bend Road for a March 29 game.
Riverview finally grabbed a win, beating King High 4-0 behind the hurling of senior Nate Hook and soph Caiden Kamrad for Coach Jason Smith. The March 14 Sharks win in the Saladino tourney was sparked offensively by an RBI from Fisher Weeks and from Adrian Rolon. Soph Elijah Tishman went 2 for 3 at the plate. The Sharks look to improve their 1-8 record this week. First up was a March 22 game with Bloomingdale at Riverview. Then the Sharks hit the road for games at Spoto March 24 and at Plant City March 29.
The Spoto Spartans did not play over last week’s vacation. Coach Mike Boyd’s 1-5 squad has three of four games on the road over the next several days. After a March 22 visit to 7-2 Plant City, a neighborly battle with Riverview follows March 24 at Spoto. Then the Spartans take trips to play 0-7 Tampa Bay Tech March 25 and Braden River, a 3-7 team in Bradenton, March 29.
Over at the other South Shore high school, Coach Kennedy Duran is challenged with shaking his Sumner Stingrays from a two-game losing streak prior to last week’s vacation. Sumner trekked to 5-2 Newsome March 22. On March 24, 7-2 Plant City provides the challenge in Sumner. The Stingrays are then looking forward to facing 0-9 King in Tampa March 29.
All South Shore softball teams pick up play this week after a vacation last week.
Sumner remains unbeaten. The 7-0 Stingrays played at 6-1 Gaither March 22. The Stingrays then host 2-3 Plant City March 24. Next Tuesday, Sumner travels to Bradenton to play 4-4 Braden River.
Lennard fell from the unbeaten ranks before the holidays. The girls dropped a 5-0 game against Sumner. The Lady Longhorns then bounced back to thrash Middleton 15-0. Soph Savana Woods sparkled offensively and on the mound. Woods was 4 for 4 at the plate with four RBIs. She was easily selected POG (Player of the Game) by hurling a complete game: four innings with nine strikeouts and only one walk. Lennard hosted 1-4 Brandon March 22. The Horns then travel to 2-4 Spoto March 24 and to 2-3 Bloomingdale March 29.
Spoto is 2-4. The Lady Spartans are on the road after a week’s break. First it was to Plant City on March 22. Then Spoto hosts Lennard March 24 and welcomes East Bay to Spoto March 29.
East Bay, at 5-4, is played over break. The Lady Indians welcomed Durant for a March 22 game. On March 24, EB travels to Bloomingdale. Then the Lady Indians play four games on March 25 and 26 in the Clearwater Canes Tourney. A short trip to Spoto follows March 29.
Riverview is struggling to improve its 2-3 worksheet. A March 22 home game against 2-3 Bloomingdale marked the team’s return from vacation. Following that are two road games. A visit to 5-3 Durant is followed by a March 28 trip to 6-3 Robinson.