Local Sports

  • Rays’ Balfour preparing to rebound

    PORT CHARLOTTE — The only way Grant Balfour knows how to leave one season behind and begin preparing for another is by having a short memory.

    The veteran relief pitcher’s return to the Tampa Bay Rays didn’t go as well as expected in 2014, however he’s confident he can regain the consistency that made him one of the most effective closers in the American League over the previous two seasons.

  • Missouri rallies past Florida 64-52; snaps 13-game skid

    COLUMBIA, Mo. — Namon Wright helped Missouri snap its school-record 13-game losing streak with a flourish Tuesday night, scoring a career-high 28 points on 10-of-13 shooting to lead the Tigers past Florida 64-52.

  • Revamped Rays expect to contend for playoffs

    PORT CHARLOTTE — The Tampa Bay Rays have a new look and the same old plan for success.

    Pitching and defense propelled the budget-minded club during a stretch of six consecutive winning seasons that produced four playoff berths, two AL East championships and one trip to the World Series.

    And president of baseball operations Matt Silverman sees no reason why the Rays can’t continue to thrive after a winter of dramatic change.

  • Area squads ready for some heavy lifting

    Larry Bugg


    The sport of high school boys weightlifting probably began when football coaches realized a little competition might draw some players into heavy lifting and the results could be boys lifting for the fun of it.

    Some boys could earn medals and build up weight and muscle for football and other sports.

  • Softball notebook: Warriors on a roll

    C.J. Risak


    It seemed likely that Seven Rivers Christian would be ready for a big softball season. After all, the Warriors were 14-4 going into last year’s 2A tournament, and everyone from that team was returning.

  • Focused freshman

    C.J. Risak


    Check out the numbers posted by Seven Rivers Christian’s Delaney Byers and it would be impossible not to be impressed. Still, there’s one figure that stands out.

    Her age. She’s just a freshman.

  • No-hitter, but no win

    HOMOSASSA — A walk is as good as a hit, at least the saying goes. 

    For Seven Rivers Christian’s Ocala rival, a three-walk inning and a Warrior error were good enough to overcome a no-hit complete game by Warrior freshman Parker Pillsbury on Monday.

  • Matt Allen: A jack-of-all-trades Pirate

    Tony Castro


    Imagine a world where prep athletes leap by the season from sport-to-sport-to-sport: like in years gone by.

    Attempt to ponder why many of today’s millennials stick to one sport, rather than dabbling in many.

  • Florida football avoids penalties

    Florida won’t be penalized for former assistant football coach Joker Phillips having impermissible contact with a recruit.

    The NCAA released its ruling Friday, saying the Gators handled the situation appropriately by taking corrective action and self-imposing penalties. A Division I Committee on Infractions panel assigned no additional penalties or measures.

  • ‘Best Lecanto wrestler never to make states’

    Tony Castro


    Former Lecanto High School wrestler Christopher Michael McWherter was termed by two-time state Panther placer Greg Meade as “the best Lecanto wrestler to never make states.”

    To this day, the 34-year-old McWherter isn’t brushing off the label as untrue.