Ridaught: Softball, baseball district tournaments

Gainesville's McKenna O'Sullivan ( left) and Buchholz's Cedaris Smith lead their respective teams in batting average heading into districts this week.
Gainesville's McKenna O'Sullivan ( left) and Buchholz's Cedaris Smith lead their respective teams in batting average heading into districts this week.
Photos by C.J. Gish

A total of six area softball teams will be No. 1 seeds in this week’s district tournaments: Fort White (1A-6), Trenton (1A-7), Williston (1A-8), Countryside Christian (2A-4), Keystone Heights (3A-3) and Santa Fe (3A-5).

Trenton (17-2) is ranked No. 1 in Class 1A in the final FHSAA rankings, while Fort White (11-4) is ranked second and Branford (19-6) is ranked fourth. All three are locks, win or lose, to make a regional next week.

For some teams, it’s win or the season is over.

For others, it could be district title or bust.

For example, Countryside Christian, which is the No. 1 seed in 2A-District 4, is the No. 8 seed in 2A-Region 1. The top eight teams in each region (for Classes 2A-7A) will make the postseason, so an upset could be detrimental.

Keystone Heights is the top seed in 3A-District 3. The Lady Indians (11-11) are also the No. 7 seed in 3A-Region 1.

“We have struggled with our defense this year and I think that is going to be a key factor in winning districts,” said Keystone Heights coach Jessica Marquart, whose team will play either No. 4 seed Taylor (Pierson) or No. 5 seed Interlachen in Tuesday’s district semifinals.

The FHSAA Regional Quarterfinals for Classes 2A-4A begins on Wednesday, May 8 (for both sports). The 5A-7A softball regional semifinals are on Thursday, May 9.

A total of four area baseball teams will be No. 1 seeds: Newberry (1A-7), Williston (1A-8), Oak Hall (2A-4) and Santa Fe (4A-4).

Newberry (19-5), which was the only area team to make the final four last year, is seeking another state championship.

“I believe it’s going to come down to who makes the least amount of mistakes and who throws the most strikes,” said Newberry coach Mike Spina. “There is a bunch of good talent in our district. I believe our guys are ready to go compete and see what happens.”

The Raiders (12-12), who defeated GHS last Thursday in the regular season finale, have a simplified plan to win a state title.

Top seed Santa Fe will host No. 4 seed Eastside in Tuesday’s 4A-District 4 semifinals and will play either No. 2 Menendez (St. Augustine) or No. 3 Palatka in Thursday’s district championship game (7 p.m.).

As the No. 9 seed in 4A-Region 1, the Raiders will likely have to win the district title to make next week’s FHSAA state playoffs.

“2-3-2,” said Santa Fe coach Chris Malphurs, whose team will participate in a four-team district. “Two wins for a district title, then we’ll turn the page and it’s three wins to get to the final four, and if we’re lucky enough or fortunate enough to get there, it’s two games to be a state champion. So, we are totally focused on these two (this week).”

The FHSAA Baseball Quarterfinals begin on Tuesday, May 7, for Classes 5A-7A, followed by Classes 2A-4A on Wednesday, May 8.

The 1A baseball playoffs begin on May 7 with Regional Semifinals.

The high school baseball state championships will be held at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers (Wednesday-Saturday, May 15-18, and Monday-Wednesday, May 22-24), while the softball high school state championships will be held at Legends Way Ball Fields in Clermont (Monday-Saturday, May 22-27).

FHSAA Softball District Tournaments
Times are subject to change

Class 1A-District 6 at Branford

Monday, April 29 – Quarterfinals
4 Bell vs. 5 Union County (Lake Butler), 7 p.m.

Tuesday, April 30 – Semifinals
1 Fort White vs. Bell/Union County winner, 5 p.m.
2 Branford vs. 3 Lafayette (Mayo), 7 p.m.

Thursday, May 2 – Championship, 7 p.m.

Class 1A-District 7 at higher seed

Monday, April 29 – Quarterfinals
5 Dixie County (Cross City)
 at 4 Bronson, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, April 30 – Semifinals
3 Newberry
 at 2 Chiefland, 6 p.m.
Dixie County/Bronson winner at 1 Trenton, 6 p.m.

Thursday, May 2 – Championship, 7 p.m.

Class 1A-District 8 at Williston

Tuesday, April 30 – Semifinals
3 Hawthorne
 vs. 2 Glades Day (Belle Glade), 5 p.m.
1 Williston
 vs. 4 Wildwood, 7 p.m.

Thursday, May 2 – Championship, 7 p.m.

Class 2A-District 4 at Father Lopez (Daytona Beach)

Tuesday, April 30 – Semifinals
1 Countryside Christian 
vs. 4 St. Francis Catholic Academy, 5 p.m.
2 Peniel Baptist Academy (Gainesville) vs. 3 Father Lopez (Daytona Beach), 7 p.m.

Thursday, May 2 – Championship, 6 p.m.

Class 3A-District 2 at Higher seed

Monday, April 29 – Quarterfinals
5 Gadsden County (Havana) at 4 Florida High (Tallahassee), 7 p.m.

Tuesday, April 30 – Semifinals
Gadsden County/Florida High winner at 1 Marianna, 7 p.m.
3 Taylor County (Perry) at 2 Suwannee (Live Oak), 7 p.m.

Thursday, May 2 – Championship, 7 p.m.

Class 3A-District 3 at Palatka

Monday, April 29 – Quarterfinals
5 Interlachen at 4 Taylor (Pierson), 5 p.m.
6 Crescent City at 3 Bradford (Starke), 7 p.m.

Tuesday, April 30 – Semifinals
1 Keystone Heights
 vs. Taylor/Interlachen winner, 5 p.m.
2 Palatka vs. Bradford/Crescent City winner, 7 p.m.

Thursday, May 2 – Championship, 6:30 p.m.

Class 3A-District 5 at Santa Fe (Alachua)

Monday, April 29 – Quarterfinals
4 P.K. Yonge
 vs. 5 Eastside, 6 p.m.

Tuesday, April 30 – Semifinals
2 Trinity Catholic (Ocala) vs. 3 Dunnellon, 5 p.m.
1 Santa Fe (Alachua) 
vs. P.K. Yonge/Eastside winner, 7 p.m.

Thursday, May 2 – Championship, 7 p.m.

Class 5A-District 2 at Higher seed

Monday, April 29 – Quarterfinals
5 Ridgeview (Orange Park) at 4 Orange Park, 6 p.m.
6 Lincoln (Tallahassee) at 3 Columbia (Lake City), 6 p.m.

Tuesday, April 30 – Semifinals
Lincoln/Columbia winner at 2 Gainesville, 6 p.m.
Ridgeview/Orange Park winner at 1 Middleburg, 6 p.m.

Thursday, May 2 – Championship, 6:30 p.m.

Class 6A-District 3 at Oakleaf (Orange Park)

Monday, April 29 – Quarterfinals
4 Buchholz
 vs. 5 Fletcher (Neptune Beach), 5 p.m.
3 First Coast (Jacksonville) vs. 6 Tocoi Creek (St. Augustine), 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, April 30 – Semifinals
2 Nease (Ponte Vedra) vs. First Coast/Tocoi Creek winner, 5 p.m.
Buchholz/Fletcher winner at 1 Oakleaf (Orange Park), 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, May 1 – Championship, 7 p.m.

FHSAA Baseball District Tournaments

Times are subject to change

Class 1A-District 6 at Hilliard

Monday, April 29 – Quarterfinals
4 Fort White
 vs. 5 Branford, 4:30 p.m.
6 Hamilton County (Jasper) at 3 Hilliard, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, April 30 – Semifinals
1 Lafayette (Mayo) vs. Fort White/Branford winner, 4:30 p.m.
2 Union County (Lake Butler)
 vs. Hilliard/Hamilton County winner, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, May 1 – Championship, 7 p.m.

Class 1A-District 7 at Higher seed

Monday, April 29 – Quarterfinals
5 Bell 
at 4 Dixie County (Cross City), 7 p.m.

Tuesday, April 30 – Semifinals
Bell/Dixie County winner at 1 Newberry, 7 p.m.
3 Trenton
 at 2 Chiefland, 7 p.m.

Thursday, May 2 – Championship, 7 p.m.

Class 1A-District 8 at Higher seed

Monday, April 29 – Quarterfinals
5 Pahokee at 4 Wildwood, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, April 30 – Semifinals
Wildwood/Pahokee winner at 1 Williston, 7 p.m.
3 Bronson 
at 2 Glades Day (Belle Glade), 3 p.m.

Thursday, May 2 – Championship, 7 p.m.

Class 2A-District 4 at Higher seed

Monday, April 29 – Semifinals
4 Peniel Baptist Academy (Palatka) at 1 Oak Hall, 4 p.m.
3 Countryside Christian 
at 2 St. Francis Catholic Academy, 4:30 p.m.

Wednesday, May 1 – Championship, 4 p.m.

Class 3A-District 2 at Higher seed

Monday, April 29 – Quarterfinals
5 Bradford (Starke)
 at 4 West Nassau (Callahan), TBD

Tuesday, April 30 – Semifinals
Bradford/West Nassau winner at 1 Trinity Christian Academy (Jacksonville), TBA
3 Baldwin at 2 Bishop Snyder (Jacksonville), 7 p.m.

Thursday, May 2 – Championship, 7 p.m.

Class 3A-District 4 at Higher seed

Monday, April 29 – Quarterfinals
7 Taylor (Pierson) at 2 Keystone Heights, TBA
5 Interlachen at 4 Father Lopez (Daytona Beach), 7 p.m.
6 Crescent City at 3 P.K. Yonge, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, April 30 – Semifinals
Interlachen/Father Lopez winner at Trinity Catholic (Ocala), TBA
Taylor/Keystone Heights winner vs. Crescent City/P.K. Yonge winner, TBA

Thursday, May 2 – Championship, 6:30 p.m.

Class 4A-District 2 at Higher seed

Monday, April 29 – Quarterfinals
6 Gadsden County (Havana) at 3 Baker County (Glen St. Mary), 5 p.m.
5 Godby (Tallahassee) at 4 Taylor County (Perry), 7 p.m.

Tuesday, April 30 – Semifinals
Gadsden County/Baker County winner at 2 Suwannee (Live Oak), 7 p.m.
Godby/Taylor County winner at 1 Wakulla (Crawfordville), 7 p.m.

Thursday, May 2 – Championship, 7 p.m.

Class 4A-District 4 at Higher seed

Tuesday, April 30 – Semifinals
4 Eastside
 at 1 Santa Fe (Alachua), 7 p.m.
3 Palatka at 2 Menendez (St. Augustine), 7 p.m.

Thursday, May 2 – Championship, 7 p.m.

Class 5A-District 2 at Higher seed

Tuesday, April 30 – Semifinals
3 Gainesville
 at 2 Columbia (Lake City), 7 p.m.
4 Rickards (Tallahassee) at 1 Lincoln (Tallahassee), 7 p.m.

Thursday, May 2 – Championship, 7 p.m.

Class 6A-District 3 at Higher seed

Monday, April 29 – Quarterfinals
5 Fletcher (Neptune Beach) at 4 Fleming Island (Orange Park), 6:30 p.m.
7 Nease (Ponte Vedra) at 2 Buchholz, 7 p.m.
6 First Coast (Jacksonville) at 3 Oakleaf (Orange Park), 7 p.m.

Tuesday, April 30 – Semifinals
Fletcher/Fleming Island winner at 1 Tocoi Creek (St. Augustine), 7 p.m.
Nease/Buchholz winner vs. First Coast/Oakleaf winner, 7 p.m.

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