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Today's Sports

  • Worthy finish

    Austin Langworthy entered Florida’s Gainesville Super Regional baseball series against Auburn without a home run all season in McKethan Stadium.

    But the Gator baseball team, which broke through last season with its first national championship, has lately been all about unprecedented achievements.

    With his second home run in as many games Monday, the Williston alumnus led off the bottom of the 10th with a walk-off home run to right field to send UF to the NCAA Men’s College World Series (CWS) in Omaha, Nebraska, where it’ll seek to defend its title.

    Florida prevailed 3-2 in the closely-fought pitcher’s duel after splitting the first pair of games against the Tigers.

    Langworthy’s home run bounced off the glove of an Auburn outfielder, sending the sophomore left fielder, his club and the nearly 6,000 in attendance into ecstatic celebration.

    The thrilling hit earned the Levy County native a couple more unprecedented personal feats – his first Gatorade bath and an ESPN Sportscenter interview.

  • Former Indian headed to Jax for...

    Patrick Jackson has patiently bided his time while looking to resume his basketball career at the college level.

    The former Chiefland standout, who twice led the Indians in scoring and joined them for a trip to the state final four, was tentatively set to attend Webber International in 2017.

    It didn’t pan out, as WIU went through a coaching change, but Jackson didn’t lose hope. Meanwhile, he took courses at Santa Fe College and the College of Central Florida, with an eye toward eventually gaining a business degree, perhaps with a focus in sports management.

    He also stayed close to the game he loved, helping coach Cedar Key School middle schoolers, staying in shape, and rooting on his younger sister, Jasmin, who, as a dominant point guard for the Lady Sharks, has garnered her own share of attention from college scouts.

    Jackson was put in touch with coaches at Trinity Baptist College, out of Jacksonville, by one of its former players, Brandon Raines, a basketball coach and athletic director at Riverside Christian in Trenton. The connection yielded a tryout for Jackson, who let his game speak for itself.

  • Softball superlatives

    The Chiefland softball program held a festive and busy awards banquet May 24 at the Concord Baptist Church in south Chiefland, recognizing players from all three of its teams – middle school, junior varsity and varsity.

    Players received various gifts and recognitions, including letters and pins.

    The seniors received the shadow boxed jerseys and special commemorative softballs with their pictures.

    The players were also treated to a special guest speaker, two-time Florida Gator national champion Taylore Fuller. Fuller, a 2012 Chiefland graduate, was a two-time All-American in Chiefland and a Florida Player of the Year, and she went on to start 203 games at UF, where she finished second in the program in grand slams.

    Fuller discussed a typical offseason day to impart what level of commitment it takes to perform at the highest levels on the diamond. She recounted a schedule that included a 5:45 a.m. workout, followed by class, and then a four-hour practice.

  • CMHS trio holds athletic signing

    Three Chiefland seniors – now graduates – held a joint letter-of-intent signing ceremony May 23 in the CMHS auditorium.

    Sydney Allen, Chiefland’s lead attacker in volleyball, and Seth Thomas, a middle infielder for the Indians’ baseball team, signed on to play ball on scholarship at Brescia University in Owensboro, Kentucky. Tramaine Brown, meanwhile, penned his commitment to Warner University in Lake Wales for football and track.

    Brown joins his friends Michael Weaver and Eli Scozzaro, a couple of 2017 CMHS graduates who run track for the Royals.

    Allen didn’t think she had what it took to play college volleyball, but her outlook changed last winter when she started receiving interest.

    This isn’t the first time she’s gone from marginal prospect to a success story. The lanky heavy hitter was cut from the squad in eighth grade, and then put in extra time with CMHS volleyball coach Debra Weeks to improve her game.

  • Indians offer sneak peek of more...

    The Chiefland football team was short on experience and long on promising young talent last season.

    The roster was bursting with first-year varsity players – even first-year football players – and was acclimating to a new system under first-year head man Adam Gore and his staff.

    The Indian team that took C. Doyle McCall Field May 18 for its spring game against Wildwood looked a year more mature – and confident.

    Behind three touchdowns and a pair of picks by junior-to-be Jalen Rutledge, Chiefland owned the first and fourth quarters to snatch a 31-16 win.

    The game felt more intense than your typical exhibition matchup. Wildwood was coming off a 9-0 regular season, looking to avenge a lopsided 2017 spring loss to Chiefland. The Indians, meanwhile, might enter the late summer and fall with their best playoff odds since last advancing in 2004.

  • Extra effort

    Two evenly-matched teams battled for nine innings in Fort Meade in the baseball regional semifinals March 9.

    Chiefland lost a lead it maintained throughout the game in the bottom of the seventh on a squeeze bunt, but survived by the skin of its teeth to take things to extra innings.

    In the end, it was the Miners who flinched first, as the Indians took advantage of a couple of costly errors in the ninth to prevail 5-3.

    CMHS (12-11), which traveled three hours to play Fort Meade (15-14), advanced to the regional final to face Trenton on May 15.

    Juniors Kelby Osteen and Wyatt Hammond boarded on walks to put two on with one out for Chiefland in the top of the ninth with the scored knotted at 2-2. After senior Josh Webber moved the pair over to second and third on a ground ball, sophomore newcomer Luke Reidy bounced a grounder up the middle, which was mishandled in front of second base, allowing Osteen’s run to score for a 3-2 lead.

  • Raising the bar

    Courtney Hayes proved the stage wasn’t too big in her first trip to the track and field state championships.

    The Chiefland junior overcame some nervousness and set a new personal record – 1.62 meters – in the girls’ high jump at the state meet in Jacksonville May 4 to collect a third-place medal in Class 1A.

    Hayes placed higher at state than any Chiefland Indian since 2005, when Lequenda Ward won the state title in the girls’ 400 meter and took third in the 100 and 200. The Chiefland boys’ 4x100 relay team of Jamaal Riley, Cornelius Dexter, Jonas Randolph and Alonzo Guyton also collected a state championship in 2005.

    Cody Coley, who finished eighth in the shot put finals in 2016, was the most recent state medalist from Chiefland, and, along with Hayes, was the only one since Ward double-medaled in 2006.

    Hayes was the lone district champion from CMHS this season.

  • Chiefland Rotarians hear issues...

    Steven Crews introduced the guest speaker and brother, Shelton Crews, at the April 18 Chiefland Rotary meeting who spoke on safety, coach education and parenting in high school athletics.

    Shelton is the executive director of the Florida Athletic Coaches Association, a group of coaches who provide fellowship and “professional development for coaches.” Through four clinics a year and 10 all-star games in football, volleyball, cross country, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls basketball, girl’s flag football, softball and baseball.

    Crews left his native Chiefland for Tallahassee in 1981. That is where he met his wife and started a family. With his office, family and now twin granddaughters in Tallahassee, Crews says he’s “deeply rooted there and will probably stay.”

    Crews spent 25 years teaching and 29 years coaching, mainly football, before becoming executive director of the association eight years ago.

  • CMHS softball survives pitcher’s...

    The Chiefland varsity softball team capped its regular season with a pair of contrasting wins, helping to garner back the momentum it lost in back-to-back shutout losses to Crystal River.

    On senior night, April 20, in a 2-0 win over Newberry, it was a pair of juniors that made the biggest impression, as first baseman Macie Thomas tied the single-season doubles record, held by Megan Snyder (Weatherford), with her 16th of the season. Ace pitcher Kensley Durrance, who broke Snyder’s single-season strikeout record (184) during the doubleheader with Crystal River, added to her tally with 13 punch-outs. Durrance allowed just one hit in the seven innings.

  • Young JV Lady Indians finish...

    Chiefland junior varsity softball coach Chris Wilson is emulating the blueprint that garnered the Lady Indians three straight state championships and four finals appearances.

    A talented collection of young players – mostly middle schoolers – have the future of the program looking bright, as their JV team finished 17-3 on the season.

    “The group that won three titles, we’ve tried to copy them,” Wilson said. “They’ve been playing travel ball together since they were 9- and 10-years-old. That’s what (CMHS coach) Jimmy (Anderson) did with those other girls, he took them and played and played and played. And that’s what we’re trying to do.”

    The young Lady Indians were led by a ferocious lineup of hitters who complemented solid pitching and defense. They even had to share a couple of their top pitchers – Kalie Osteen and Emma Wilson – with the middle school team.