By STEVE JACKSON
Lennard, East Bay and Spoto won games in South Shore baseball action last week. Only Riverview and Sumner failed to enjoy diamond victories, as the 2021-22 campaign heads toward its April conclusion and an exciting May post-season.
Coach Victor Martinez’ Longhorns trounced Chamberlain High 17-3 on April 14. The resounding Ruskin win was the 14th of the season for Lennard. The Horns offense was in high gear, starting the game with a 12-run ferocious first inning rally. Twelve Horns had base knocks in the game as five Lennard pitchers hurled an inning for the melee, which was halted after four and ½ innings, due to the run rule. One of the top Lennard hitters and relief pitchers, senior John Smith, banged out 2 for 2, both doubles, with two runs and four RBIs. Smith leads a potent, most of the time, offense with a .444 batting average. Stealing bases is another of the swifty Smith’s benefits as he tops the team with 12 season swipes.
Prior to the Chamberlain blowout, Lennard dropped its third loss of the year to Newsome 10-4 earlier last week in Lithia. This week, the Longhorns hosted 12-6 Plant City early in the week and will visit tough 11-7 Robinson April 21.
Coached by Cody Crouse, the East Bay Indians parlayed a five-run first inning to top Plant City 7-3 April 12. The Indians Anthony Williams, Tate Gran and Domanick Roush all picked up a hit and each scored a run. Williams collected a pair of RBIs. The East Bay team, which appears better than its 6-11 record, then lost a squeaker 2-1 to Armwood later last week. The Indians face three foes at home this week and are favored to win two of those games. Coming to the Big Bend Road diamond, April 19, was the 4-13 Riverview Sharks. The Newsome Wolves bring a winning squad to EB April 21. Then the struggling 3-13 Tampa Bay Techsters confront the Indians April 22.
Sparked by Cullen Cairns, one of the top sophomore pitchers in the South Shore, Spoto nudged Braden River in a 2-1 masterpiece last week. Spartans Coach Mike Boyd expects a good mound performance from Cullen each time out, and Cairns showed why. He hurled a complete game versus Braden River, yielding three hits, one run, four strikeouts and no walks. Cairns won a similar 2-1 game in extra innings for Spoto back on Feb. 4, beating East Bay 2-1 in eight sterling innings.
Spoto had a rough outing for an encore as power-laden 12-6 Durant was scheduled to host the Spartans earlier this week. That is followed by a game at Spoto, April 21. The Spartans offense is led by Chase Wink with a .310 batting average. Offensive help is contributed by Mikey Britton, Sean Weir and Kenneth Glover. Robinson High brings a winning record to Spoto for an April 26 engagement. A trip to 5-9 Middleton, April 28, closes the Spartan regular season.
Riverview lost a nail biter 8-7 to Alonso last week and this week looks to break a three-game losing skein. The Sharks of Coach Jason Smith trekked to East Bay for an April 19 game. The Sharks stay on the road with a fighting chance versus 4-12 Brandon April 20. Trips follow to 9-8 Armwood on April 22 and to 4-14 King on April 25. Freedom, currently at 14-4, comes to Riverview for the Sharks’ final regular season game April 28.
BULLS NATALIE CABLE
OUT PITCHES RODRIQUEZ
On April 20, the Lennard Lady Longhorns play softball at Brandon and on April 22 at King High in Tampa. Basically, against both teams, all the Horns have to do is show up!
Coach Samantha Ralyea and Lennard have enjoyed a 9-3 season thus far. Plant City brought an 8-8 record to Ruskin for the April 18 matchup. If Lennard survived the Plant City game earlier this week, the Longhorn Ladies then, most likely, will mow down both 3-10 Brandon and 0-15 King. Lennard’s next task will be to face post-season challenges after two more regular season games next week. Armwood brings a 4-8 mark to Lennard, April 26. Then the last game of the regular season is in Tampa, April 28, against 7-6 Jefferson.
The biggest challenge of Lennard’s post-season is, undoubtedly, the 14-4 Bloomington Lady Bulls. Bloomingdale possesses one of the best frosh pitchers in Florida. Last week that hurler, Natalie Cable, beat Lennard for the second time. The Lady Bulls won again, April 14, at Lennard 3-0, as Cable pitched the Bulls to a 3-0 victory. The sensational Cable gave up only one hit in her complete game victory. Cable whiffed 16 Horn batters. Back on March 29 in Bloomingdale, Cable no-hit Lennard 4-0. For the season, Cable is also batting over .500 and has six homers.
Lennard’s has its own frosh phenom: Juli Rodriquez. Juli Rodriquez is only slightly behind Cable. Juli, Lennard’s starting pitcher, also went 4 for 4 with four runs and four RBIs as a hitter in the dominant 17-1 win over Chamberlain, April 12. Juli’s big sister, Arianna Rodriquez, is also an offensive powerhouse. Not only is Arianna a team captain, she touts a .434 batting average with 15 RBIs and 13 runs.
In other South Shore softball action, Sumner rolls along at 11-5, East Bay’s worksheet so far is 10-10, Spoto heads into the last two weeks at 6-9 and Riverview is enjoying a winning streak at its current record of 5-7.
Sumner played at Brandon, April 19, and Durant visits the Lady Stingrays, April 21 (See separate Sumner softball article in The Observer News).
East Bay’s Lady Indians are depending on the overall pitching of sophomore Elana Roush, as well as her hitting, to move above the break-even mark. EB’s Aisha Duncan and Gaby Miller have also been hitting over .300 on the season. East Bay tangled with Riverview early this week, prior to a visit from Spoto, April 21. Next week, super star Natalie Cable comes to East Bay with Bloomingdale on April 26. The Lady Indians close their regular season on April 28 at home with 10-3 Strawberry Crest.
The Spoto Ladies beat Middleton last week. They hosted Brandon early this week and travel to East Bay on April 21.
Riverview hopes to continue winning. The Lady Sharks of Paul Ullom beat Blake 16-2 last week behind junior Madison Carney’s 3 for 3 at the plate and the combined hurling of a pair of frosh: Briyana Smith and Kacey Kalinowski. The 5-7 Sharks traveled to East Bay earlier this week. On April 21, Gaither is due to visit Riverview. The Sharks wrap up their regular season next week at Jefferson, April 26, and at home with Middleton, April 28.