Ridaught: Softball, Baseball playoffs begin today

The high school softball and baseball regular seasons ended last week.

The road to Clermont (Softball Finals) and Fort Myers (Baseball Finals) begins today.

The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) district tournaments for both sports are this week. 

Last year there were two state champions in the area Trenton (softball) and Newberry (baseball).

Both teams struggled this year, compared to last year’s amazing run. The Tigers (9-10 in 2022) and Panthers (12-7) combined for just two losses in 2021.

The only team to come close to that success this year is the Santa Fe (Alachua) baseball team, which set the school record last year for best regular season winning percentage (.920) and followed that up with an 18-6 record against a very tough schedule this year, along with the No. 1 seed in this week’s Class 4A-District 4 tournament.

“I’m very proud of where we’re at and earning the No. 1 seed in our district was a big deal to us,” Santa Fe coach Travis Yeckring said. “We scheduled some really tough games late in the season to make sure we’re prepared for any type of team we play in the postseason. I think we’ll be much more prepared this year.”

Oak Hall School (Gainesville) had the least amount of losses (two) among baseball teams in the area but the Eagles (13-2) played nine less games mostly due to weather issues.

Last week, OHS coach Kevin Maris won his 300th game overall. 

The Eagles secured the No. 1 seed in 2A-District 4 and will play on Tuesday at 4 p.m. against the winner of today’s game between No. 4 seed Peniel Baptist Academy (Palatka) and No. 5 seed Countryside Christian (Gainesville).

They will host the district semifinals and championship game on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.

Gainesville High will host Ridgeview (Orange Park) tonight at 6 p.m. in the 5A-District 3 quarterfinals. Columbia (Lake City) will host the winner on Tuesday in the district semifinals. 

Buchholz (Gainesville) is the No. 2 seed in 6A-District 2 and will host No. 3 Leon (Tallahassee) on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the district semifinals. The young Bobcats finished 16-8 this season.

Newberry, which opens up defense of its first state title in school history, did earn the No. 1 seed in 1A-District 7 and will play the winner of No. 4 Trenton vs. No. 5 Williston in Tuesday’s district semifinals.

The Dixie County (Cross City) softball team finished with a record of 17-4 after finishing 20-3 last season following a season-ending loss Trenton in the 1A Region Final. 

The Bears, who have won six in a row, are the No. 1 seed in 1A-District 7 and will host the winner of today’s No. 4 Chiefland vs. No. 5 Newberry game. Chiefland won both meetings this season against the Panthers by an average margin of victory of 11 runs. 

Defending state champion Trenton, which only has two seniors, earned the No. 2 seed and will face No. 3 seed Bronson on Tuesday in the other district semifinal. This will be the first meeting this season between the Tigers and the Eagles.

Bell is the top seed in Class 1A-District 6. The Bulldogs will receive a bye today and play the winner of No. 4 Branford vs. No. 5 Taylor County (Perry) in the district semifinals on Tuesday. 

Meanwhile, Williston secured the No. 1 seed in 1A-District 8 and will host the winner of today’s game between Hawthorne and Wildwood on Tuesday in the district semifinals.

Most district championship games will be on Thursday. The district tournament schedules are listed below.

District tournament champions will qualify automatically, while the FHSAA will select four at-large teams per region per class based on its ranking system.

The FHSAA regional playoffs for baseball begin on Tuesday for Class 1A and 5A-7A, followed by softball and baseball (2A-4A) on Wednesday. Tournament play continues on Thursday and Friday. 

The FHSAA Baseball state championships are Wednesday-Saturday, May 18-21 & Monday-Wednesday, May 23-25, at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.

The FHSAA Softball state championships are Tuesday – Saturday, May 24-28, at Legends Way Ball Fields in Clermont.

Softball – District tournaments

Class 6A-District 2 (at Various Cities)

Monday, May 2

No. 3 Buchholz (Gainesville) at No. 2 Fleming Island (Orange Park), 5 p.m.

No. 4 Leon (Tallahassee) at No. 1 Chiles (Tallahassee), 7 p.m.

Wednesday, May 4

Championship Game – Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

Class 5A-District 3 (at Various Cities)

Monday, May 2

No. 5 Orange Park at No. 4 Columbia (Lake City), 5:30 p.m.

No. 7 Riverside (Jacksonville) at No. 2 Middleburg, 5:30 p.m.

No. 6 Englewood (Jacksonville) at No. 3 Ponte Vedra, 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday, May 3

Columbia/OP winner at No. 1 Ridgeview (Orange Park), 7:30 p.m.

Middleburg/Riverside winner vs. Ponte Vedra/Englewood winner, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 5

Championship Game – Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

Class 5A-District 4 (At Various Cities)

Monday, May 2

No. 5 St. Augustine at No. 4 Belleview, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, May 3

Belleview/St. Augustine winner at No. 1 Gainesville, 5 p.m.

No. 3 New Smyrna Beach at No. 2 Vanguard (Ocala), 5 p.m.

Thursday, May 5

Championship Game – Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

Class 3A-District 2 (at Various Cities)

Monday, May 2

No. 5 Gadsden County (Havana) at No. 4 Suwannee (Live Oak), 7 p.m.

Tuesday, May 3

Suwannee/Gadsden winner at No. 1 Baldwin, 7 p.m.

No. 3 Marianna at No. 2 Florida High (Tallahassee), 7 p.m.

Thursday, May 5

Championship Game – Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

Class 3A-District 3 (at Various Cities)

Monday, May 2

No. 5 P.K Yonge (Gainesville) at No. 4 Interlachen, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, May 3

Interlachen/PKY winner at No. 1 Keystone Heights, 7 p.m.

No. 3 Santa Fe (Alachua) at No. 2 Palatka, 7 p.m.

Thursday, May 5

Championship Game – Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

Class 2A-District 4 (at Various Cities)

Monday, May 2

No. 5 First Baptist Christian Academy (Bunnell) at No. 4 Countryside Christian (Gainesville), 4 p.m.

Tuesday, May 3

Countryside/First Baptist Christian winner at No. 1 Peniel Baptist Academy (Palatka), 5 p.m.

No. 3 Saint Francis Catholic Academy (Gainesville) at No. 2 St. Joseph Academy (St. Augustine), 5 p.m.

Thursday, May 5

Championship Game – Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

Class 1A-District 5 (at Hilliard)

Monday, May 2

No. 4 Bradford (Starke) vs. No. 5 Hamilton County (Jasper), 6 p.m.

Tuesday, May 3

No. 1 Union County (Lake Butler) vs. Bradford/Hamilton winner, 4 p.m.

Thursday, May 5

Championship Game – Semifinal winners, 6 p.m.

Class 1A-District 6 (at Various Cities)

Monday, May 2

No. 5 Taylor County (Perry) at No. 4 Branford, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, May 3

No. 1 Bell vs. Branford/Taylor County winner, 5 p.m.

No. 2 Lafayette (Mayo) vs. No. 3 Fort White, 5 p.m.

Thursday, May 5

Championship Game – Semifinal winners. 7 p.m.

Class 1A-District 7 (at Various Cities)

Monday, May 2

No. 5 Newberry at No. 4 Chiefland, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, May 3

No. 1 Dixie County (Cross City) vs. Chiefland/Newberry winner, 5 p.m.

No. 2 Trenton vs. No. 3 Bronson, 5 p.m.

Thursday, May 5

Championship Game – Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

Class 1A-District 8 (at Various Cities)

Monday, May 2

No. 4 Hawthorne at No. 5 Wildwood, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, May 3

No. 1 Williston vs Hawthorne/Wildwood winner, 7 p.m.

Thursday, May 5

Championship Game – Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

BASEBALL – District Tournaments

Class 6A-District 2 (at Various Cities)

Tuesday, May 3

No. 3 Leon (Tallahassee) at No. 2 Buchholz (Gainesville), 6 p.m.

No. 4 Fleming Island (Orange Park) at No. 1 Chiles (Tallahassee), 7 p.m.

Thursday, May 5

Championship Game – Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

Class 5A-District 3 (at Various Cities)

Monday, May 2

No. 5 Ridgeview (Orange Park) at No. 4 Gainesville, 6 p.m.

No. 6 Orange Park at No. 3 Middleburg

Tuesday, May 3

Gainesville/Ridgeview winner at No. 1 Columbia (Lake City), TBA

Middleburg/Orange Park winner at No. 2 St. Augustine, TBA

Thursday, May 5

Championship Game – Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

Class 4A-District 2 (at Various Cities)

Monday, May 2

No. 5 Gadsden County (Havana) at No. 4 Godby (Tallahassee), 6 p.m.

Tuesday, May 3

Gadsden County/Godby winner at No. 1 Suwannee (Live Oak), TBA

No. 3 Baker County (Glen St. Mary) at No. 2 Wakulla (Crawfordville), 7 p.m.

Thursday, May 5

Championship Game – Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

Class 4A-District 4 (at Various Cities)

Monday, May 2

No. 5 Eastside (Gainesville) at No. 4 Palatka, 7 p.m.

No. 6 Lake Weir (Ocala) at No. 3 North Marion (Citra), 7 p.m.

Tuesday, May 3

Palatka/Eastside winner at No. 1 Santa Fe (Alachua), 7 p.m.

Lake Weir/North Marion winner at No. 2 Dunnellon, TBA

Thursday, May 5

Championship Game – Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

Class 3A-District 2 (at Bishop Snyder in Jacksonville)

Monday, May 2

No. 4 P.K. Yonge (Gainesville) vs. No. 5 West Nassau (Callahan), 6 p.m.

Tuesday, May 3

P.K. Yonge/West Nassau winner at No. 1 Bishop Snyder (Jacksonville), TBA

No. 3 Keystone Heights vs. No. 2 Baldwin, TBA

Thursday, May 5

Championship Game – Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

Class 2A-District 4 (Semifinals/Championship at Oak Hall School)

Monday, May 2

No. 5 Countryside Christian (Gainesville) at No. 4 Peniel Baptist Academy (Palatka), 6 p.m.

Tuesday, May 3

No. 3 St. Francis Catholic Academy (Gainesville) vs. No. 2 St. Joseph Academy (St. Augustine), 1 p.m.

Countryside Christian/Peniel Baptist Academy winner at No. 1 Oak Hall School (Gainesville), 4 p.m.

Thursday, May 5

Championship Game – Semifinal winners, 4 p.m.

Class 1A-District 7 (at Chiefland High School)

Monday, May 2

No. 4 Trenton vs. No. 5 Williston, 4 p.m.

No. 3 Dixie County (Cross City) vs. No. 6 Bell, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, May 3

Trenton/Williston winner at No. 1 Newberry, 4 p.m.

Dixie County/Bell winner at No. 2 Chiefland, 7 p.m.

Thursday, May 5

Championship Game – Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.

Class 1A-District 8 (at Fort White)

Monday, May 2

No. 4 Hilliard vs. No. 5 Hamilton County (Jasper), 1 p.m.

No. 2 Union County (Lake Butler) vs. No. 7 Bradford (Starke), 4 p.m.

No. 3 Fort White vs. No. 6 Branford, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, May 3

Hilliard/Hamilton County winner vs. No. 1 Lafayette (Mayo), 4 p.m.

Union County/Bradford winner vs. Fort White/Branford winner, 7 p.m.

Thursday, May 5

Championship Game – Semifinal winners, 7 p.m. 

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