Locals among top MLB draft prospects

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Major League Baseball (MLB)’s 2020 first-year player draft has been shortened to five rounds, from the usual 40 rounds in previous years. The draft, scheduled for June 10 and June 11, assigns amateur baseball players to MLB teams. Even with the new consolidated format, however, several locals from The Laker/Lutz News coverage area have a solid chance at being … [Read more...]

Olympic softball legend inspires at Pasco Chamber

To kick off its 27th annual Business Development Week luncheon, The Greater Pasco Chamber of Commerce brought in a keynote speaker to serve up a different kind of pitch — literally. It was two-time Olympic softball gold medalist and ESPN lead softball analyst Michele Smith, a Treasure Island resident who has family ties to Pasco County. Speaking at Spartan Manor in New Port Richey, the … [Read more...]

John Gant settles into major leagues

At least one Major League Baseball player calls Wesley Chapel home during the offseason. With pleasant weather and local ties, it’s a no-brainer for St. Louis Cardinals pitcher John Gant. After all, the 26-year-old Gant spent half his childhood being raised in the area — moving there with his family from Savannah, Georgia, when he was 11 years old. The major leaguer has been back in town … [Read more...]

Locals well-represented in 2018 MLB Draft

Becoming a professional baseball player will soon be a reality for a handful of athletes with ties to The Laker/Lutz News coverage area. The 2018 Major League Baseball Draft ran from June 4 to June 6 — whereby four locals had their names called. University of North Florida junior right-hander Frank German, who grew up in Lutz and graduated from Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School, … [Read more...]

Saint Leo baseball to retire jersey of its first MLB draftee

Nearly 50 years have passed since Fred Cambria last sported a Saint Leo University baseball uniform, but his contributions to the program won’t be forgotten. Cambria — the first Major League Baseball draftee in Saint Leo history— will have his No. 22 jersey retired by the school on April 14, prior to a Lions home game against Sunshine State Conference foe Rollins College at 1:30 p.m. In a … [Read more...]

Saint Leo coach seeks to ‘win at a high level’

Rick O’ Dette won nearly 500 games coaching baseball in the Midwest — now he’s looking for similar results down south in Pasco County. O’ Dette, who coached at Division II Saint Joseph’s College of Indiana for 17 seasons, was named Saint Leo University’s new baseball coach on June 15. He replaces Saint Leo alumnus Sean O’ Connor, who surprisingly was let go after a 23-26 record in 2017 — his … [Read more...]

Locals fare well in 2017 MLB Draft

Dreams of playing professional baseball are about to come true for several local athletes. The 2017 Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft wrapped up on June 14, and several baseball players with ties to The Laker/Lutz News Coverage Area were selected. The first-year player draft is Major League Baseball's primary mechanism for assigning amateur baseball players, from high schools, colleges and … [Read more...]

She goes to bat against cancer

Pam Ingram was admittedly nervous as she waited to toss out the first pitch at Tropicana Field, when the Tampa Bay Rays took on the Baltimore Orioles. After all, she knew a big crowd would be watching — including her family and friends, and colleagues from Wesley Chapel High School. And, the English teacher would be the first to tell you that she doesn’t have substantial experience in … [Read more...]

Land O’ Lakes’ Hall of Fame adds members

The Land O’ Lakes Gators Athletics Foundation inducted five new members to the school’s athletics Hall of Fame during a dinner ceremony on May 24. The inductees for the 2016 class were: the 2002-2003 girls soccer team, which won a state title; Jerry English, a longtime varsity softball coach; Lt. Col. Rhett Hierlmeier, a standout dual-sport athlete; Dianne McClendon, a key member of the Land O’ … [Read more...]

Rays manager recalls north Tampa roots

Kevin Cash tries not to dwell on the fact that he’s in the second year of managing his hometown Major League Baseball team. Instead, he separates his duties of being the skipper of the Tampa Bay Rays with the nostalgia of growing up in Lutz, playing in Northside Little League, attending Gaither High School and being a one-time catcher for the Rays in 2005. While he admitted “there’s a … [Read more...]