Posted: 2:43 pm Wednesday, April 24th, 2013
By Jeff Greer
The regional playoffs are finally here, and several area teams have their sights set on the state tournament, which starts May 8 in Vero Beach. But first, you gotta win three games. Let’s break down the first round.
Admission to each regional playoff game, regardless of round, is $7.
Here’s the schedule. See the FHSAA’s site (fhsaa.org/sports/softball) for the out-of-area game times. All local games are 7 p.m. unless listed otherwise.
Regional quarterfinals: Wednesday, April 24, or Thursday, April 25
Regional semifinals: Tuesday, April 30
Regional finals: Friday, May 3
State semifinals and finals: May 8-11 in Vero Beach
For each class, we’ll run down the entire schedule of quarterfinal games, but we’ll also give you a list of favorites and contenders.
Contenders: Palm Beach Gardens, Palm Beach Central, Palm Harbor University, Coral Reef, Durant.
Defending champ: Durant.
Last year’s state semifinalists: Durant, Mandarin, Jupiter, Miami Palmetto.
Quick snapshot: Hagerty’s 24-1 this season, but the Palm Beach County teams are always forces. Gardens is the prohibitive favorite after beating Central in the District 9-8A title game, but that rematch in the regional semifinals would be must-see material. Durant’s the defending state champ, and Coral Reef’s always tough. Seminole Ridge and Boca certainly pose dangerous threats.
All games Thursday.
Spruce Creek at Mandarin
Sandalwood at Hagerty
Boone at West Orange
Olympia at Dr. Phillips
Centennial at Timber Creek
East River at Vero Beach
East Lake at Durant
Wharton at Palm Harbor University
Boca at Gardens
Central at Seminole Ridge
Western at Douglas
Taravella at Cypress Bay
Coral Gables at American
Hialeah Gardens at Goleman
Miami Palmetto at Southwest Miami
Lourdes at Coral Reef
Favorite: Kissimmee Osceola.
Contenders: St. Thomas Aquinas, Bartow, Harmony, Countryside, Chamberlain.
Defending champ: Chamberlain.
Last year’s state semifinalists: Chamberlain, Bartow, Chiles, Cooper City.
Quick snapshot: West Boca and Okeechobee are the area’s best shots at reaching the regional finals and beyond. It’s a relatively weak local crowd in 7A. West Boca should reach the third round, but St. Thomas Aquinas will likely be there. Cooper City could reach that point, and that’s another tough potential opponent. Countryside and Chamberlain are both in Okeechobee’s region, and would present serious obstacles to state.
All games Wednesday.
Fletcher at Lincoln
Chiles at First Coast
Winter Springs at Orange City University
Viera at Lake Howell
St. Cloud at Kissimmee Osceola
East Ridge at Harmony
Bartow at Plant City
Lake Region at East Bay
St. Petersburg at Chamberlain
Freedom at Countryside
South Fork at Braden River
Sarasota at Okeechobee
Atlantic at Royal Palm Beach
Santaluces at West Boca Raton
St. Thomas Aquinas at Monarch
Northeast at Cooper City
Contenders: River Ridge, Palm Harbor University, Pembroke Pines Charter.
Defending champ: Pembroke Pines Charter.
Last year’s state semifinalists: Pembroke Pines Charter, Niceville, Eau Gallie, Lakewood Ranch.
All games Thursday.
Mosley at Pace
Milton at Niceville
Atlantic Coast at Oakleaf
Middleburg at Columbia
Citrus at Gainesville
South Lake at Lecanto
Seabreeze at Palm Bay
Eau Gallie at Deltona
Mitchell at Winter Haven
Sebring at River Ridge
Palmetto at Strawberry Crest
Sickles at Lakewood Ranch
Naples at Riverdale
Fort Myers at Barron Collier
Westland Hialeah at Pembroke Pines Charter
Archbishop McCarthy at Mater Academy
Favorite: Plantation American Heritage.
Contenders: Lemon Bay, Creekside, Baker County, Suncoast.
Defending champ: Plantation American Heritage.
Last year’s state semifinalists: Plantation American Heritage, Belleview, Auburndale, Ponte Vedra.
Quick snapshot: For some reason Miracle Sports still doesn’t consider Suncoast one of the top 10 teams in the state in Class 5A. Maybe I’m wrong, but the Chargers present a formidable challenge to American Heritage’s regional reign. So does Jensen Beach. Heritage, of course, is still the favorite, but those first- and second-round matchups would be tough.
All games Wednesday.
Wakulla at Rutherford
West Florida at Suwanee
Matanzas at Baker County
Bishop Kenny at Ponte Vedra
Palatka at Creekside
Bartram Trail at North Marion
Pasco at Hernando
Tavares at Gulf
Lake Wales at Lake Nona
Titusville at Auburndale
Bayshore at Lennard
Blake at Dunedin
Lehigh at Lemon Bay
Mariner at Golden Gate
Pompano Beach at Suncoast
Jensen Beach at Plantation-American Heritage
Favorite: Gulliver Prep.
Contenders: Bradford, Bishop Verot, Lincoln Park, Cocoa Beach.
Defending champ: Gulliver Prep.
Last year’s state semifinalists: Gulliver Prep, Florida High, Keystone Heights, Bishop Verot.
Quick snapshot: Gulliver Prep is always a power. Bishop Verot, too. Lincoln Park is the area’s best shot at a state tournament appearance.
All games Thursday.
Florida High at Marianna
Walton at Madison County
West Nassau at Episcopal
Bolles at Yulee
South Sumter at Bradford
Keystone Heights at Mount Dora
Astronaut at Lake Highland Prep
Bishop Moore at Cocoa Beach
DeSoto County at Holy Names
Tampa Catholic at Mulberry
St. Andrew’s at Bishop Verot, 4 p.m.
LaBelle at Lincoln Park
Archbishop Carroll at Coral Springs Charter
North Broward Prep at Monsignor Pace
Key West at Doral Academy
TERRA Institute at Gulliver Prep
Favorite: American Heritage.
Contenders: Westminster Christian, Bishop Snyder.
Defending champ: American Heritage.
Last year’s state semifinalists: American Heritage, King’s Academy, Bishop Snyder, Trinity Prep.
Quick snapshot: Another year, another title shot for American Heritage. The Stallions may have lost their starting left fielder, but overall this is the most talented team in 3A. This is an experienced group with a tremendous defense and good pitching. The bats will need to come alive. King’s Academy and Benjamin will duke it out in Region 3.
All games Wednesday.
University Christian at North Florida Christian
Maclay at Bishop Snyder
Father Lopez at PK Yonge
Oak Hall at Oviedo Masters Academy
Holy Trinity at Montverde
Trinity Prep at John Carroll, 4:30 p.m.
Seffner Christian at McKeel
Lakeland Christian at Carrollwood
St. Stephen’s at Shorecrest Prep
St. Pete Catholic at Bradenton Christian
Benjamin at Moore Haven
St. John Neumann at King’s Academy, 4 p.m.
Highlands Christian at American Heritage
Trinity Christian at Calvary Christian, 4 p.m.
Florida Christian at Archbishop Curley
Miami Country Day at Westminster Christian
Contenders: Pine Castle Christian, Southwest Florida Christian, Grandview Prep.
Defending champ: Grandview Prep.
Last year’s state semifinalists: Grandview Prep, Pine Castle Christian, Munroe, Sheridan Hills Christian.
Quick snapshot: Glades Day and Grandview Prep look like serious contenders from our area, unfortunately only one will advance to the regional final. Canterbury and Southwest Florida are both in that same region, so only one of those four state-title contenders will be at state.
All games Thursday, unless noted.
Cedar Creek Christian at Aucilla Christian
Munroe at First Coast Christian
Seven Rivers Christian at Trinity Christian
Academy at the Lakes has a bye.
Foundation Academy at Faith Christian
Orlando Christian Prep at Pine Castle Christian
Oasis Christian at Covenant Christian
Merritt Island Christian at All Saints
Sarasota Christian at Canterbury Christian
Cambridge at Southwest Florida Christian
Lake Worth Christian at Glades Day, Wednesday, 4 p.m.
Masters Academy at Grandview Prep
Sheridan Hills Christian has a bye.
Zion Lutheran at Greater Miami
Colonial Christian at Princeton Christian
Westwood Christian at Island Christian
Contenders: Lafayette, Baldwin, Sneads, The Villages.
Defending champ: Lafayette.
Last year’s state semifinalists: Lafayette, Jay, Union County, Port St. Joe.
All games Wednesday unless noted.
Chipley at Poplar Springs
Central at Jay
Port St. Joe at Sneads
Wewahitchka at Liberty County
Hilliard at Lafayette
Melody Christian at Bell
The Villages at Baldwin
Dixie County at Taylor