By STEVE JACKSON
The five high schools playing baseball in the South Shore complete their regular season this week. A “second season” of district playoffs starts May 1, seedings and sites to be determined. Lennard High is the only one of the five squads guaranteed to finish April 28 with a regular-season record over .500. Head Coach Victor Martinez’ Longhorns possess a 14-8 mark heading into this week’s games with 5-16 Freedom High in Ruskin April 25 and with 11-11 Wharton High in Tampa April 27.
Sumner High has been in a tailspin, losing five in a row to fall to a 10-11 record going in to the early game this week with the 13-8 Armwood Hawks at the Sumner diamond. Coach Kennedy Duran’s Stingrays’ last regular-season match is against the hapless 1-19 Middleton Tigers, April 27 in Tampa at 7 p.m.
The Riverview Sharks snapped an eight-game losing skid last week, beating the Sarasota Sailors 8-5. That puts Coach Jason Smith’s Sharks at 7-14 with an early week game at 5-16 King High and an April 27 clash at Riverview with 15-6 Jefferson High.
East Bay, struggling under Coach Rowland Ruiz all season, faces the 8-11 Robinson Knights in Tampa early this week with one last opportunity to improve a regular season 4-15 worksheet.
Riverview and East Bay both went 1-2 last week. The Sharks of Coach Jason Smith won in Sarasota Saturday after dropping games earlier in the week to Bloomingdale and to Gaither. East Bay lost a close game last week to Newsome 10-8 and beat King 9-4 by scoring seven runs in the top of the last inning. In the final Indians home game of the season last Saturday, a last inning four-run EB rally fell short in the 10-9 loss to Wharton.
Spoto lost a pair of nail biters last week and then fell 15-8 to Leto Saturday despite big offensive games of juniors Peyton Nisy and Abel Jiminez. The Spartans had a golden opportunity to end the regular season with a victory in an early week trip to the 3-18 Tampa Bay Tech diamond April 25, which concluded Spoto’s regular season under Head Coach Stephon Knight.
Lennard High, the South Shore’s top winning team, thrashed cream-puff Brandon early in the week behind the no-hit pitching of seniors Carter Payne, Logan Covey and Carter Menotii. Payne and Jackson Mueller then helped the Longhorns topple Plant High on April 20. The come-from-behind 5-3 win over Plant, now 15-5, was sparked offensively by Trey Miranda, Alex Brazer, Covey, Tim Mendizabal and soph RJ Torres. Lennard could not do much against the 20-2 Sickles Gryphons last Saturday. The Tampa visitors won 5-1 as only an Alex Brazer home run put Lennard on the scoreboard. An early-week contest with 5-16 Freedom is the Horns last regular season home game. Then the regular campaign ends this Thursday in Tampa with 11-11 Wharton.
Nine seniors on the Lennard Longhorns baseball team were honored on senior night last week: Trey Miranda, Alex Brazer, Logan Covey, Tim Mendizabal, Jackson Mueller, Carter Menotii, Tyler Ewell, Joseph Rivera and Carter Payne.