Thursday, May 31, 2012

Lakewood Ranch finishes atop Class 6A overall sports standings

Lakewood Ranch finished first in the Class 6A FHSAA Floyd E. Lay Sunshine Cup All-Sports Award Standings, recognizing it as the most successful sports program in its classification.

Points are awarded a school based on its finish in FHSAA State Series competition in each sport in the classification in which it has been assigned to compete.

The top 16 places are scored. In bracket sports, points are awarded as follows: 100 for the state champion, 90 for the state runner-up, 83 for the state semifinalists, 60 for 5-8th places, and 25 for 9-16th places. In non-bracket sports, points are awarded as follows: 100, 90, 85, 80, 70, 63, 56, 49, 38, 34, 30, 26, 22, 18, 14, 10. Schools get a 5-point bonus for winning a district or regional championship, and points are deducted for unsporting conduct.

Lakewood Ranch finished with 905  points soundly ahead of second place Gainesville, which had 724.

The Mustangs got off to a rousing start in the fall with the boys golf team winning a state title. They bolstered their point total this spring when its softball and baseball teams qualified for the State Tournament and its girls track team finished 8th at the 3A state meet and second at its region meet.

The Lakewood Ranch girls' athetlic program finished first overall in Class 6A and the boys were third.

CLASS 6A 1. Lakewood Ranch (Bradenton), 905 points.
2. Gainesville, 724.
3. Niceville, 528.5.
4. Barron Collier (Naples), 512.
5. Archbishop McCarthy (Southwest Ranches), 451.5
6. Fort Myers, 413.5
7. Choctawhatchee (Fort Walton Beach), 398.
8. Belen Jesuit (Miami), 387.5
9. Winter Haven, 387.
10. Melbourne, 374.

Dick Vitale selected for Little League Hall of Excellence

Dick Vitale (center) honored by Little League
Just when you think there can't be another Hall of Fame for Dick Vitale it happens.

The ESPN college basketball iconic TV analyst recently learned that he is going to be inducted into the Little League Hall of Fame in Williamsport, Pa.

It will be the 11th Hall of Fame for the Lakewood Ranch resident. Actually it is officially called the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum Hall of Excellence and was established to recognize Little League graduates who have become outstanding citizens and role models as adults

"It's the greatest thrill to be there and something I want to share with my grandkids. I am absolutely ecstatic," Vitale said. "The first uniform I ever had was with the Garfield Little League in New Jersey in 1951. I am going to be like a little kid at the ceremony with my autograph pad."

Vitale is slated to be inducted during the Little League World Series between August 16th and 26th. He is being inducted for his work in community affairs, particularly for the Jimmy V Foundation that raises money for pediatric cancer research.

"I am not getting in for baseball, but I will tell you I was one heck've little leaguer" Vitale said. "I once had a perfect game with two outs in the last inning and the ball was hit through the first baseman. I could pitch. I learned how to throw a curve when I was 13 and by the time I was 15 my elbow hurt so much I couldn't get velocity anymore on my fastball."

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Braden River's lopsided defeat is misleading

Take heart Braden River football fans, the Pirates spring game loss to Naples isn't as bad as the final score might indicate.
Curt Bradley (left)
Not to make excuses, but it seems like the young Pirates might have been duped a little by a veteran Naples team that made it to the Class 6A Region championship game last season and defeated its two early round opponents 49-13 and 41-0.

The host Golden Eagles led 42-0 at halftime Friday night when the game was stopped because of weather.Naples did something virtually unheard of in a spring game when it attempted an onsides kick after taking a 7-0 lead on its first drive of the game.

It caught the inexperienced young Pirates by suprise. Evrything was "live" meaning unlike a lot spring games, kickoff and punts were played just like in a normal game. Naples took advantage of that with a 65 yard punt return for a touchdown.

Interim head coach Greg Williford, who is in charge until new head coach Curt Bradley arrives next month, wasn't looking for excuses. However, he was proud of how hard the Pirates played.

"They jumped on us really quick, had that onsides kick and it was tough for our kids to overcome, but the real thing is that Naples is a very good team and just outplayed us," Williford said. "The onsides kick is part of the game and we were prepared for it. It shocked our kids, but they (Naples) wanted to use special teams, it was in their house and football is football."

Williford said his young team just wasn't prepared for a lot of things Naples did, including using blitzes that his kids had never seen.

"Our reads were not very good, but that is okay. The onsides kick thing is part of football and I  have no problem with that," Williford said. "I am proud of our kids. Do we have a lot of work to do? You bet! But they played hard and some in particular really showed a lot effort."

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Pearcey looks like Ranch's new feature back

Lakewood Ranch looks as if it has a new workhorse running back in Chris Pearcey has 34 yards in 9 carries with 1:58 left in first quarter against North Port before rain stops game

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

BCS grad Daniel Magley signs with NEOSHO CC

Former BCS star Daniel Magley in action
Former Bradenton Christian basketball standout Daniel Magley has signed to play with Neosho County Community College in Chanute, Kansas.

The 6-2 guard was a 2010-11 Bradenton Herald All Area first team selection his senior year at BCS when he averaged more than 19 points per game.  He had a standout career playing for his dad and former BCS head coach Dave Magley.

Daniel graduated as the all time assist leader at BCS with 446 and was second to his older brother D.J. Magley in scoring with 1,647 points. In his senior year, he led the Panthers to a 21-7 record topping the team in scoring (19.6 ppg), rebounding (8.6 rpg) and assists (6.2 apg). His single game career high was 32 points against Pinellas Park.

During his career at BCS, the Panthers won two region championships and four district titles and went to the state final four twice.  He now returns to play in the state where his dad earned All-American honors in college at the University of Kansas.

"Daniel is a high quality student-athlete that posseses the types of leadership qualities that we expect out of our point guard. As a coach's son who grew up around the game, he also has a great feel for dong the right thigns both on and off the court," Neosho head coach Jeremy Coombs said.

The Neosho Panthers play in the National Junior College Division I level and finished last season with a 17-14 record

Manatee County trio selected for FACA All-Star event

Lakewood Ranch outfielder Zach Larson, Manatee pitcher/first baseman Correlle Prime and IMG Academies pitcher Max Foody have been selected to play for the West All-Stars in the Florida Athletic Coaches Association (FACA) All-Star Baseball tournament this weekend.

The four team event will take place at Firemen’s Field in Sebring. The North All-Stars face the South All-Stars at 11 a.m. on Saturday and thirty minutes after that game the West All-Stars face the East All-Stars. The two losing teams meet on Sunday at 11 a.m. and the winners face each other 30 minutes after that game.

The West team will be coached by Venice head coach Craig Faulkner, who led the Indians to a state championship this past weekend.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bradenton's Zafiros gets 100th career victory

By Ryan Syrkus, FSU Sports Information
On April 15, Jason Zafiros accomplished something which few are able to even conceive; 100 career victories. The Florida State tennis standout from Bradenton secured the milestone after a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Trpimir Kujundzic while playing at Virginia Tech.

"It means a lot, it's something I've wanted to do since high school," said Zafiros. "It's a goal I've always had and something I've stride towards. It makes all the hard work pay off."

Still, the accomplishment did not come easy as pressure began to get to him the closer he got to the goal.

"It was in my head toward the end of the season," he said. "Am I going to get to it? When I was at 97, 98, am I going to get to 100? There were only a certain amount of matches left so it took a toll on me."

However, he persevered and kept shooting for his goal.

Starting his collegiate career at the University of Arizona, Zafiros attained 75 wins out west, including a trip to the semifinals of the singles bracket at the 2009 Wilson/ITA Division I Southwest

Regional Championships in Malibu, Calif. However, he decided to play closer to his home for his final year.

"I really wanted to come back home my last year and have my parents come to all my matches and be a part of a big time program like FSU," said Zafiros.

Even with the move, Zafiros does not regret leaving Arizona for his senior year.

"It's harder to improve when you get older, but I've improved under this coaching staff," concluded Zafiros. "I feel that Florida State is a big time program and I'm really happy I've been a part of it even though it was only for one year."

Zafiros finished his collegiate career at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Georgia during the NCAA Regionals second round. His last completed match went his way as he won 6-3, 6-4 against Scott Sears of Boise State for his 104th career victory.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Lakewood Ranch running out of time

Lakewood Ranch running out of time in its Class 6A semifinal as it heads into bottom of fifth trailing 6-1 against Nick Travieso, one of the top pitching prospects in the country.

Ranch trails 5-0 in second

Archbishop McCarthy scores five runs in top of second to lead 5-0. Two walks, three hits do the damage.

McGarry on mound for Lakewood Ranch

To the surprise of virtually no one, Lakewood Ranch ace Seth McGarry gets the start in the Mustangs Class 6A semifinal state tournament game tonight against two time defending state champion Arhcbishop McCarthy.
The right hander retired the side in order in the first. Nick Travieso, the Mavericks heralded rigth hander gets the start for his team.
No score after first inning.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Southeast products Love and Hart get NFL free agent tryouts

A.J. Love in his healthier days
Getting a tryout as an undrafted free agent is the first step in a very long process, but it is a chance none-the-less.

For Southeast High products A.J. Love and Chris Hart it'san opportunity they couldn't turn down and will give it a shot.

Love finished his career at the University of South Florida last season. Things didn't go his way his last two years because of injuries. Now healthy the wide receiver will give it a shot this week with the Minnesota Vikings. If he can regain the form he showed as a sophomore at USF, you just never know.

Hart, once considered an elite quarterback for Southeast, has dug his own hole attending four colleges. Everywhere he has gone, coaches raved about his size and talent, but things never seemed to work out.

His best chance came at Towson University where he earned the starting QB spot as a junior after transferring from Valdosta State. Hart showed promise, but was dismissed from the team for what could kindly be called conduct detrimental to the team.

Apparently he impressesd the Seattle Seahawks, who have offered him a free agent tryout, according to Southeast boys basketball coach Elliot Washington.

Bowers injury a major blow to Tampa Bay Bucs

Da'Quan Bowers could miss all of 2012 season
One of the brightest off seasons in a long for the Tampa Bucs quickly turned dark Thursday when the club annoucned that second year defensive end Da'Quan Bowers tore the Achilles tendon in his right leg.

Though he tweeted that he will play in 2012, the second year product out of Clemson  is expected to be lost for the entire season and surgery has been scheduled for Friday. He suffered the injury will participating in the Bucs' off season conditioniong program.

Its the second major injury for Bowers, who slid into the second round of the NFL draft last year because teams were leery of a torn ACL he suffered in his left leg. Bucs GM Mark Dominik decided to take a chance and gambled on Bowers with the 51st overall pick, while most other teams felt he was not worthy of the second round because of his ACL injury.

Bowers head 25 tackles and 1.5 sacks last season. Fortunately for the Bucs, they signed defensive end Michael Bennett to a one year deal before the start of free agency. Bennett played in 14 games last season, starting in 10.

With major injuries on both legs, Bowers future has to be considered questionable and it is unlikely he will play next season, though he insists otherswise.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Courtney Mirabella thinking about skipping last season at Braden River

Has Courtney Mirabella pitched her last game for Braden River?
photo by Tiffany Tompkins-Condie.
The heralded pitcher is only a junior, but North Carolina State has been trying to persuade the right hander to graduate school early and join the Wolftpack softball team.

Her father, Tony Mirabella, says the family is discussing the matter and it is a possibility that his daughter will give up her senior season of high school and enroll at North Carolina State next winter.

 If she does it will be a big loss for the Pirates. She was the Bradenton Herald Player of The Year last season when she led Braden River to the State Final Four and continued her strong pitching this past season.

 Mirabella finished her junior year racking up an astonishing 241 strikeouts in 123.2 innings while compiling a 1.08 ERA and a 16-3 record with two saves. She walked only 19 and had a 0.70 WHIP. Offensively, she was second on the team with a .373 batting average.

 It’s becoming more popular for high school football players to leave after the first semester of their senior year to be on their college campus and ready for spring practice. Now, it appears athletes in other sports are also looking to leave early.

 N.C. State has one solid pitcher returning next year in freshman Emily Weiman, who is 14-18 with a 2.69 ERA. Its other regular pitcher Morgan Peeler is a senior.

 Tony Mirabella said the N.C. State coaching staff wants his daughter to come in and take over the other spot in the rotation so the program will have two solid young pitchers to groom.

 "We are thinking about it as a family and right now we are not sure. Courtney could take the offer and leave early. It’s something that we will decide this summer,” Tony Mirabella said.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Ranch's state tournament hopes in good hands with Elling

When the Lakewood Ranch High girls softball team heads to Clermont next Wednesday for its first appearance in the State Final Four its fortunes will certainly be in good hands.
Huntrye Elling has proved she can wing it.
photo by Paul Vidale.
Mustangs pitcher Huntrye Elling has put up some amazing stats, which she topped off Tuesday night in winning her 20th game of the season in Lakewood Ranch's 10-0 Class 6A-Region 3 championship victory over River Ridge.

The senior right hander is 20-4 on the season. In 132.2 innings she has compiled a 0.73 ERA with 165 strikeouts while allowing only 14 earned runs and 78 hits with 46 walks. Her WHIP is a nice 0.934 (that is number of base runners a pitcher allows not counting errors; hits plus walks).

Bucs signing LeGrand best move of entire draft; Kudos to Schiano

Kudos to Tampa Bay Bucs head coach Greg Schiano for signing Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand.

You might call it the best move of the draft certainly in a humanitrian stance.
Eric LeGrand with his Rutgers teammates
Schiano was the head coach at Rugters in 2010 when LeGrand suffered an injury that left him paralyzed in a game on October 16th against Army. He suffered fractures of two veterbrae and was told he would be a quadripilegic and able to breath only through the aid of a ventilator.

"Leading up to the draft I couldn't help but think that his should've been Eric's draft class," Schiano said in a statemen released by the Bucs. "This small gesutre is the least we could do to recognize his character, spirit and perserverance. The way Eric lives his life epitomizes what we are looking for in Bucaneer Men."

LeGrand has exceeded his expecations from the original prognosis. He is breathing on his own, has been able to stand upright with the help of a metal frame and is on schedule to graduate next fall with a dgree in in labor studies.

When Schiano took the Bucs jobs he said his children asked him what would happen with Eric now that he was gone and he said he would always been in LeGrand's life.

Since the signing is symbolic and involves no money, it is not sure what role LeGrand will have with the Bucs, though Schiano said his inspiration is gigantic.

LeGrand reportedly said he found out about the move in a call with Schiano on Tuesday, after his mother, Karen, had been told Monday night.

LeGrand has the final spot on the Bucs' roster and, since his college No. 52 is available will get that with the NFL team. Tampa Bay is planning to ship a jersey, helmet and contract to LeGrand later this week.