By PATRICK CASEY
A pair of East-West All-Star games will be played at Holmes County High School this Thursday. Area high school baseball and softball players will take part in the event. The games are Thursday, May 22, at with the softball game starting at 6 p.m., and baseball at 7 p.m. Nicole Dykes and Lora King of Freeport are on the West roster as are Kathryn Kenner (South Walton), Summer Renfro (Walton), Faith Kennemur (Walton) and Jewel Spence (Walton). The baseball roster includes Billy Johnson (PDL) and seven players from Freeport (Logan Caudill, Thomas Suggs, Drew Farris, C. J. Bates, Thomas Coleman, Spencer Martin, and Josh Rhodes). The West baseball team is coached by Josh McGowan.
The Freeport High School girls softball team was third in the state in the academic rankings in the sport for the 2008 season. The Bulldogs 3.469 GPA was exceeded only by Lakeland Christian (3.519) and Orlando First Academy (3.509). That put the Bulldogs only .05 points out of first place.
Freeport’s boys basketball team had the top GPA in the state in Class 2A with a 3.589 grade point average.
Paxton’s girls basketball team finished fifth in GPA in Class A with a 3.570 grade point average.
High school baseball season wraps up this week as the Final Four commences with play this week at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. In Class 2A, Tallahassee North Florida Christian made it to the state championship game only to fall to Jacksonville Providence. 3-1. Providence pitcher Kyle Webb held the Eagles to one hit and allowed only four base runners while Stallions center fielder Jonathan Murphy threw out Dayne Read at home plate in the third inning in a stellar defensive outing by the club. Providence (28-5) picked up its first Class 2A title by scoring solo runs in the first, second and sixth innings. The Stallions beat NFC (24-8) starter Tyson Workman, who pitched the Eagles to the 2007 state championship, but could not do so this time.
Niceville lost to Stuart South Fork (26-6) 3-0 in the Class 5A semi-final. Niceville pitcher Brett DeVall allowed six hits and three runs as their season came to an end. Junior Tyson Young threw a one-hitter for the Bulldogs as Niceville could not get their offense on track.
Pensacola Catholic faced Plantation American Heritage in a Class 3A semi-final on Monday. Heritage took most of the drama out of the game early as they scored seven runs in the first inning on their way to an 11-6 victory. Heritage (30-2) has two of the top 25 players in the country on their team according to The Sporting News. First baseman Eric Hosmer and catcher Adrian Nieto are likely to be drafted next month by Major League Baseball teams. The Crusaders managed only five hits and committed three errors, but they are likely to be a force for the next two seasons with a fairly young squad. They finished the year with a 28-3 record.
The top-seeded University of Florida softball team (65-3) will host the California Bears (43-25) in NCAA Super Regional action on Friday and Saturday in Gainesville. NCAA Super Regionals are a best of three series. The first game of the Gainesville Super Regional will begin at 1 p.m. (Central Time) at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium and be televised live on ESPNU. Saturday’s first game will be played at 11 a.m. and air live on ESPN and ESPN360.com. If the teams are tied at one game each, a third game will be played 30 minutes after the completion of the noon game to determine a Super Regional winner. The third game will also air live on ESPN and ESPN360.com.
The fourth-ranked University of Florida women’s golf team will seek to accomplish something no Lady Gator squad has done in 22 years. Florida aims for its third national title and first since 1986 at the 2008 NCAA Championships, May 20-23, at the University of New Mexico Championship Golf Course.