The 8-1-3 List: Week 9

1. Durant (18-3) =

Durant senior 2B/C Noah Morales.

Running its win-streak to seven, Durant added a 17-0 win over Middleton (with 11 different players scoring runs) and a 3-2, walk-off win against district rival Strawberry Crest as Noah Morales plated the deciding run with a sac fly. Nick April-Gath scored four times on the week, and now has 28 runs scored (5th most in Hillsborough County this season). Blaine Rowland earned the win in relief against the Chargers, improving to 5-0, while also leading the offense with 36 hits (.537 avg) and 25 RBI. Durant closes the regular season at home with visits from Hillsborough (Tuesday) and Plant (Thursday).

2. Sickles (18-5) ☝️3

Sickles senior RHP Cameron Guise.

The Gryphons were put to a stern test, scoring a pair of runs early and holding off Wharton for a 2-1 win, and defeated Middleton 14-0 last week. Junior Jordan Yost is fourth in the county with 30 runs scored, and has scored in 10-straight including three runs last week; Cameron Guise was 3-for-6, with a double, RBI and two runs on the week, and earned his fifth win on the mound against the Wildcats, striking out seven and allowing one run in six innings. Jaden Nazar’s 32 hits and 24 runs lead Sickles on offense this year. Sickles hosts Wesley Chapel tonight, and welcomes Newsome to close the regular season on Wednesday.

3. Jesuit (16-6) ☝️3

Jesuit sophomore RHP Wilson Andersen.

Peaking at the right moment is a huge part of high school baseball success stories, and Jesuit picked a great week to have a GREAT week. The Tigers evened its season-series with IMG with a 2-1 win last week as senior McCall Biemiller filled the scorebook with K’s, fanning 15; making his first start of the season, Wilson Andersen held Calvary Christian to one unearned run in his five innings, as the Tigers again won, 2-1; and Jesuit closed out the week with an 8-1 win against St. Pete Hollins with Cannon Murtagh driving in four runs. Zane Pestalozzi was 3-for-6, scored three times and drove in a run on the week, and Aden Knowles pitched four scoreless against the Royals. Jesuit hosts Northside Christian tonight, visits Lakeland Jenkins on Wednesday, and hosts SLAM on Thursday.

4. Gaither (14-6) 👇2

Josh Choe’s 4-for-4, game and six strong innings on the mound from Michael Fernandez (1 unearned, 1 H, 10 K’s) led the Cowboys to a 7-1 win over Jefferson to start the week. But Gaither couldn’t get a late evener, falling to Lennard, 3-2 in its second game. Choe is hitting .429 on the year with 12 RBI and 12 runs. Gaither hosts Riverview on Tuesday and Plant City on Thursday to wrap up the regular season.

5. Newsome (16-5) 👇2

Wade Walton pitched his tail off for his eighth win of the year against Bloomingdale, but the outing was overshadowed by an FHSAA pitch-count violation, which saw the game erroneously stopped early. The FHSAA ruled the game to revert back to the fifth inning, and declared Newsome the 3-1 over the Bulls. Newsome dropped a 5-4 decision to Steinbrenner on Thursday, and drop two spots in this week’s rankings. The Wolves visit Sickles on Wednesday, and end the regular season with a visit from Robinson on Friday.

6. Plant (16-6) 👇2

The Panthers regrouped after a 7-3 loss to district opponent Alonso to start the week, by defeating Bloomingdale, 3-0 behind another impressive performance from senior pitcher Garrett Hill. The righty held the Bulls scoreless, working around five hits and three walks, and struck out four. Hill is now 6-2 (a winner of five-straight) and has a 1.25 ERA. Plant will gear up for the district tournament with a Tuesday game against Plant City, and a visit to Durant on Thursday.

7. Carrollwood Day (20-4) ☝️1

Carrollwood junior RHP Logan Mazur.

The Patriots had little trouble in mercy-rule wins against Zephyrhills Christian and Hernando Christian last week, before picking up a big 6-4 win on the road at Englewood Lemon Bay, where Logan Mazur got the win and drove in four runs helping CDS set a new regular season wins record with 20. Senior Nick Bonollo was 4-for-9 on the week, with three runs and three RBI, and leads CDS with 27 RBI. The Patriots welcome Calvary Christian on Tuesday, and Tampa Prep on Wednesday.

8. Tampa Catholic (14-7) ⭐

The Crusaders re-enter the rankings with a 9-0 win against St. Petersburg, and a win over MaxPreps’ ranked Top 10 squad Lakeland Christian by a score of 4-3 last week. Jose Carrero was 3-for-5 on the week, with a homer, triple, four runs and four RBI, while Alex Sotiropoulos struck out nine to earn the win against LCS, allowing one earned run. This afternoon, the Crusaders welcome Steinbrenner, then host Academy at the Lakes on Tuesday, and Cambridge Christian on Thursday.

9. Seffner Christian (15-4) =

The Crusaders dropped a 13-5 decision at Lakeland Santa Fe Catholic to start the week, but senior Addy Scott’s 12th home run of the season helped SCA rebound with a 7-5 win against St. Pete Shorecrest Prep. Scott, whose 31 runs and 26 RBI lead the way for Seffner Christian’s offense, is currently tied for second in the nation in homers, just one behind Alabama St. Paul Episcopal’s John Stowers. SCA travels to Lakeland on Tuesday, to face MaxPreps top team in Class 4A – McKeel Academy; then travels to Indian Rocks Christian for a game on Thursday.

10. Lennard (11-9) ⭐

It was a tough call for the final spot in this week’s rankings, but a three-win week from the Longhorns puts Lennard back into the rankings for the first time since Week 2. Senior lefty Zack Bird earned two wins on the week, defeating Bishop McLaughlin, 6-1, and Gaither, 3-2. Bird worked through five innings in both games allowing two runs (one earned) and struck out eight. Rowland Ruiz Jr. drove in four runs on the week, and Mattie Counts scored six times. The Longhorns have three tough games to close the regular season, facing two other teams considered for No. 10 this week (Strawberry Crest on Tuesday; and at Armwood on Friday), and also host Chamberlain on Thursday.

⭐: New to rankings this week; ☝️: Moved up; 👇: Moved down; = : Same as last week

Dropping out this week: Strawberry Crest (12-6); Bloomingdale (13-8)

8 Top Performers

1 Favorite Thing

After what could prove to be Plant City’s final home game of the season on Friday, Raiders senior Judah Bendorf returned to the edge of the diamond to soak in one last moment. Bendorf has played both football and baseball at PCHS.

The regular season is quickly coming to an end, and, though we know teams are focused on doing what it takes to keep seasons going deep into the month of May, we wanted to encourage our area seniors to soak in every moment they can. We’ve loved seeing your team’s Senior Night posts and pictures, celebrating the years of hard work put in to your school, team and teammates. But don’t forget to take any moment you can to appreciate what will likely be a time in your life that you’ll look back on with tremendous pride. For some of you there will be opportunities to continue your playing careers at the next level, for others these next two weeks might be the end of practices, games, at-bats and pitches in competitive sports. Remember: Enjoy. Every. Minute.

3 Games to Watch this week

Calvary Christian (18-4) at #7 Carrollwood Day (20-4), TuesdayCarrollwood Day has set a new regular-season high-water mark with 20 wins and has two games left to improve it. This is a huge opportunity for the Patriots as CDS welcomes perennial state powerhouse (and last year’s 3A state champions) Calvary Christian on Tuesday. The Pats have won six-in-a-row, and catch the Warriors on a three-game skid.

#5 Newsome (16-5) at #2 Sickles (18-5), WednesdayNewsome is currently without head coach Dick Rohrberg, who was suspended by the FHSAA after a pitch-count violation against Bloomingdale, and we are intrigued to see how the Wolves respond heading into the postseason. Newsome is 12-2 since dropping its Saladino opener to Jesuit, while Sickles is 11-2 during the same stretch. The Gryphons are hungry to return to Ft. Myers for the third-straight time, and to defend its 6A state title, while Newsome hope to make a deep run with an eye at just the program’s second-ever final four berth (last finishing as a semifinalist in 2007).

#6 Plant (16-6) at #1 Durant (18-3), Thursday: Hard to find a much better way to close out the regular season than a game between two teams who have found their way to the Class 7A region playoffs the previous two years. Durant is riding a seven-game win streak headed into this week, thanks in large part to a pitching staff that collectively boasts a 1.77 ERA. Plant is close behind with a 2.04 team ERA, and has proven to ramp things up at this point of the season, resulting in back-to-back 7A final four appearances and a state runner-up finish last year.