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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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By Ryan Butler

I have fiercely defended October as the best month in sports for a long time. The World Series. Pivotal mid-season football games in high school and college. The NFL gets into full swing. Huge chase races in NASCAR. The NBA and NHL seasons begin.

But this April is beginning to change my mind.

A classic win for American Bubba Watson at the Masters. A typically awesome NCAA basketball Final Four. An exciting beginning to the MLB season. A great start to the 2012 NASCAR season. NHL playoffs have begun with NBA about to follow. But the most exciting sports have been here in Levy County.

An emotional mercy-rule win for the CHS softball team on senior night capped off a soap opera of a season. After a season where their clean-up hitter quit midseason, its starting pitcher was injured in a car accident and another starter struggled with injuries for the whole second half, the Indians host the district 1A-7 championship this week. 

Even with all the drama, the team has positioned itself for a birth in regions. The No. 3 seed needs only two wins to advance to the next round and put a positive note on one of the team’s most difficult seasons.

Though not as dramatic as the softball team, the CHS baseball team has been saddened by the recent hospitalization of assistant coach Chad Brock. Head coach Kyle Parnell said he is doing better but his presence is missed.

Despite his absence, the Indians have played their best baseball of the season. They went five-and-one over the past two weeks, moving up to third in district 1A-7. They have wins over three of the four other teams in the district, including No. 1 seed Union County. The team is at its highest point as they prepare for the district tournament at No. 2 seed Newberry.

Up in Jacksonville, a crop of talented CHS athletes will try to advance this week in the regional track & field meet in Jacksonville and represent Chiefland at state.

Locally, April is also bringing with it a batch of great outdoor opportunities. After the fishing tournament at Clay’s Landing last week, Saturday features a bike ride, a fishing exposition (more on that on page 1A) and the memorial concert for former CHS multi-sport star Alonso Guyton.

 Few things can beat a Friday night under the stadium lights with the beginning of the October chill. April’s breeze may be one of them.