Ridaught: Softball, baseball coming down home stretch

Buchholz's Noah Hayse leads the Bobcats with 14 hits and Trenton's Olivia Weaver is second on the Tigers with a .364 batting average heading into this week.
Buchholz's Noah Hayse leads the Bobcats with 14 hits and Trenton's Olivia Weaver is second on the Tigers with a .364 batting average heading into this week.
Photos by C.J. Gish

Last week, the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) released its first rankings of the spring for high school softball and baseball.

Today the two sports enter the final month of the regular season as district tournament play begins four weeks from today for both (Monday – Thursday, April 29 – May 2).

The Trenton softball and Buchholz baseball teams are currently the top teams in the area, according to the FHSAA rankings.

Trenton, which finished 16-9 last year and made the Class 1A playoffs, is ranked 10th overall in Florida among all classifications and No. 1 in 1A.

Senior Ella Emmons leads the team with a .375 average, and she is third on the team with nine runs batted in and second on the team with three doubles.

Freshman Addison Allaire (.342) has a team-leading 13 RBI and six home runs. She is also 6-1 in the circle with a 0.33 ERA.

In 42.2 innings pitched, Allaire has allowed just two earned runs with 13 walks and 92 strikeouts.

The Lady Tigers are 11-1 this year. Their only loss was at Gainesville, 2-0, on March 7.

They will get a chance to avenge that loss this Friday at home against GHS, which is ranked 24th overall in Florida in the FHSAA rankings and No. 4 in Class 5A.

The game will be broadcast online (audio only) at Mainstreet Daily News beginning at 6:50 p.m. The first pitch is at 7 p.m.

GHS (12-1) got back in the win column after a 16-5 loss at rival Buchholz last Tuesday with a 2-1 win at home against Suwannee (Live Oak) on Thursday.

The Lady Hurricanes travel to Forest (Ocala) on Tuesday and host P.K. Yonge on Thursday before the showdown in Gilchrist County against the Lady Tigers.

But first, Trenton will travel to 1A state runner-up Branford tonight at 7 p.m.

The Bucs (14-3), who returned eight starters from last year’s 25-3 club, are ranked 59th overall and No. 5 in Class 1A. They have won eight in a row.

Then it’s a No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown at 7 p.m. on Tuesday as Trenton hosts Fort White, which is ranked 23rd overall and No. 2 in 1A.

Other area softball teams to watch down the stretch include Santa Fe (Alachua), which is ranked 44th overall and No. 9 in 3A, and Williston (No. 86 overall/No. 6 in 1A).

In high school baseball, Buchholz is ranked 16th overall and No. 3 in 6A.

UCF signee Noah Hayse leads the team with a .378 average and 14 hits, while sophomore Blake Brewer (.310) has a team-leading 10 RBI.

As a team, Buchholz has hit 12 home runs and has three players (senior Conner Brown, sophomore Aidan Kastensmidt, and Clemson signee Anthony Wilkie) with three dingers each.

The Bobcats (8-5) have lost two in a row, including a 6-5 loss at defending 4A state champion North Marion (Citra) this past Friday and at home to nationally ranked Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) on Thursday.

They have played a tough schedule which also includes a pair of losses to No. 6 overall in Florida St. Johns Country Day (Orange Park), a road loss at No. 4 overall Chiles (Tallahassee), and a 1-0 win at No. 21 overall Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville).

Buchholz will host Columbia (Lake City), which has advanced to two straight 5A state semifinals, on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

The game will be broadcast online (audio only) at Mainstreet Daily News beginning at 6:50 p.m.

The visiting Tigers (6-8) have struggled this year against a difficult schedule with losses to St. Johns Country Day, No. 2 overall Venice and defending 7A state champion Lowndes.

Newberry, which advanced to the 1A state semifinals last year, is right behind Buchholz at No. 17 overall.

The Panthers, who have lost two straight at Suwannee (Live Oak), 1-0, and at home versus Chiefland, 6-2, are ranked No. 1 in Class 1A.

Freshman Brycen Ochs is batting .448 in 39 plate appearances, including a .590 on base percentage.

Senior Ben Beck is next at .419, followed by Tristan Woodrome (.357), while freshman Tavis Honeycutt leads the team with 19 RBI and six doubles.

Other area teams of note are Keystone Heights (55th overall/No. 15 in 3A), Oak Hall (76th overall/No. 12 in 2A) and P.K. Yonge (123rd overall and No. 23 in 3A).

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