A measure overhauling the Florida High School Athletic Association — and opening the door to the group possibly being replaced in two years — was approved Thursday by the House Education Committee on a nearly party-line vote.
Members of the panel voted to move the measure ahead on a 12-5 vote, with Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, D-Tallahassee, joining Republicans in support. Democrats said they were worried about some provisions in the bill, including one that would allow the education commissioner to designate another organization to oversee high school sports in 2017.
Some also worried that parts of the proposal could open the door to more recruiting of students to switch high schools, though that is technically illegal and would remain so under the bill.
The legislation comes amid years of tension between some lawmakers, particularly in the House, and the association. The FHSAA doesn’t support the proposal, but representatives said the association backs most of the provisions outside of the one that could lead to it being replaced.
“It’s long past the time to limit the power of a very large, protectionist organization and place our priorities with the students,” said Rep. Elizabeth Porter, R-Lake City. “I only wish it had happened of the association’s own volition, and not [because FHSAA] had to be forced to change.”
A similar Senate measure hasn’t yet been scheduled for a hearing.
The House proposal would overhaul the organization's governance, setting up a 16-member board to oversee the association. It would also require a third-party review for students suspected of being ineligible and allow students to continue to play while their eligibility is reviewed, though games could be forfeited if the student is later ruled ineligible.
Defending state champion Pines Charter, Coral Reef and Doral Academy were the only South Florida teams to kick off the 23rd annual Kissimmee softball Klassic with a victory.
St. Thomas Aquinas -- the defending Class 7A champion -- joined Gulliver, Florida Christian, Palmetto and Chaminade-Madonna in the losers’ bracket after first-day losses.
Pines Charter -- which won Class 6A last year -- scored three runs in the top of the seventh to top Orange City University 5-4 in an early afternoon game.
The Jaguars (15-2) got RBI singles from Kayla Borges, Camila Lopez and Julia Ramos to retake the lead. In the bottom of the inning, starter Claire Blount put the Titans down in order – striking out the first and third batter of the frame.
Coral Reef led 2-0 before West Normal, Illinois, cut its deficit in half in the bottom of the fourth. The Barracudas (13-1) answered in the bottom of the frame, getting two runs from Carsyn Gordon as her single scored Kylan Becker; Gordon then stole second, third and home.
▪ Coral Reef 5, West Normal (Ill.) 1
Norm: 000-100-0 -- -- 1-9-0
CR: 101-210-x -- -- 5-7-0
WP: Michelle Mesa (12-1); LP: Reganne Camp. Carsyn Gordon 2-4, RS, 2 RBI; Kylan Becker 1-1, 2 RS; Tyanni Guzman 2-3, RBI.
▪ Pines Charter 5, Orange City University 4
PC: 001-100-3 -- -- 5-10-1
Univ: 010-210-0 -- -- 4-8-2
WP: Claire Blount; LP: Madison Roeshink.
▪ Doral 5, Riverdale 0
Riv: 000-000-0 -- -- 0-3-1
Doral: 110-012-x -- -- 5-9-0
WP: Jennifer Acevedo (7-3). Sydney Lageyre 2-3, RBI; Sam Lageyre 2-3, RBI; Alyssa Rodriguez 2-3, RBI; Acevedo 7 IP, 0R, 3H, 9K.
▪ North Fort Myers 7, St. Thomas Aquinas 1
NFM: 000-203-2 -- -- 7-12-1
STA: 010-000-0 – 1-2-3
WP: Mackenzie Peterson; LP: Olivia Saviskas. Lauren Stansell 1-4; Thais Gonzalez 1-3, Jeyda Brodie RS.
▪ Tampa Plant 9, Palmetto 5
Palm: 003-101-0 -- -- 5-14-1
Plant: 140-121-x -- -- 9-14-0
WP: Danielle Tringali; LP: Amanda Guglietta. Hannah Burge 2-5, RS; Taylor Castano 2 RS.
▪ Orange Park Oakleaf 6, Chaminade-Madonna 3 (10)
Oak: 100-000-100-4 -- -- 6-11-3
CM: 000-020-000-1 -- -- 3-4-2
WP: Kelsey Sweatt; LP: Bridgette Tuxbury. Becky Gillis 2 RBI; Jackie Yao RBI; Alex Torchia RS; Danielle MacMurdo RS; Mariah Aponte RS.
▪ St. Cloud 3, Gulliver 1
Gul: 000-001-0 -- -- 1-4-0
StC: 000-003-x -- -- 3-4-2
WP: Paige Shantz; LP: Mekayla Frazier. Jessica Rivera RS; Destyn Jones RBI.
▪ Calvary Christian 12, WPB Kings Academy 8
KA: 200-410-1 -- -- 8-13-4
Cal: 003-405-x -- -- 12-13-2
WP: C.Chang (9-4); M.Veliz 3 RBI, 2-3, 2B; A.Chang 2-3, RBI.
▪ Winter Springs 6, Florida Christian 5
FC: 103-100-0 -- -- 5-5-2
WS: 002-022-x -- -- 6-4-2
WP: Kenzie Longanecker; LP: Faith Vazquez. Longanecker 7 IP, 1 ER, 12 K, 1-2, 2 RBI; Vazquez 3-4, RS, 2 RBI.
▪ Pace 10, Lourdes 9
Pace: 021-000-7 -- -- 10-16-2
Lour: 304-002-0 -- -- 9-7-4
WP: Sofia Dominguez; LP: Natalie Gonzalez. Cassidy Zeigler 3-4, RS; Kathleen Rios 2-4, 2B; Natalie Rodriguez 3-4, RS; Monica Marquez 4-4.
Andrew Cabezas made no bones about it when the game was over.
“I was definitely nervous, the emotions were running wild,” said Cabezas.
The nerves were because Cabezas took the mound for his Coral Gables baseball team on Thursday night in the Gold Bracket championship game of the HSBN March Madness Shootout Tournament at St. Thomas University. And the opponent in the other dugout just happened to be his former team, Mater Academy who he had helped to the Class 6A state title just a year ago.
But, after a shaky start in which he gave up three hits in the first two innings, Cabezas, a University of Miami commit, settled down and dominated his former teammates the rest of the night, giving up just one hit the rest of the night to record a complete game shutout as Gables, the No. 14 seed in the 16-team gold brackett field defeated the Lions 3-0.
“Oh my gosh, it was so many emotions at once when I first went out there,” said Cabezas. “I had been waiting for this game for awhile, not because they’re my enemies or anything, they’re all always my friends but when you step between those lines, there are no friends or enemies, you just get out there on the mound and do everything you can to get them out.”
Gables (11-5) got Cabezas the only run he would need in the top of the third when No. 9 hitter Jesus Pineda led off with a triple off the left center field fence and scored one batter later when Coco Montes ripped a single to right. The Cavaliers made it a 2-0 lead in the fourth when first baseman Elijah Eusebio hit a towering one out shot well over the left center field fence. The only hint of trouble Cabezas ran into came in the last of the fourth when he temporarily lost the strike zone issuing a pair of two-out walks to put runners on first and second. But he then struck out Joey Jimenez on four pitches to end the inning.
“I pretty much knew what they (Mater) were going for but they were prepared also for me as well,” said Cabezas who threw just 76 pitches, struck out five and has a season ERA of 0.58 despite a 5-3 record. “They knew I like to throw first-pitch fastball and I had to switch that up as well.”
“He was definitely a little nervous at the start of the game but he eventually settled down and did what he’s been doing for us all year, giving us great innings,” said Gables head coach Phil Wisser whose team went through a gauntlet of Flanagan, Belen and Westminister Academy to get to the title game. “He’s been absolutely brilliant and suffered some really hard-luck losses in which we gave up a few unearned runs and couldn’t get him any runs. He deserved this moment tonight.”
In the Black Bracket title game which preceded the Gables/Mater contest, SLAM Academy trailed North Broward Prep 4-0 after three and a half innings but, thanks to a pair of 2-run home runs by Jose Garcia, rallied to win 6-5 and move their record to 14-6.
Garcia’s second 2-run shot came in the last of the sixth which tied the game at five. After Jonathan Fernandez reached base and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and infield out, he scored on a two-out infield single by Arturo Sardina for what turned out to be the game-winning run.
BLACK CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
▪ SLAM 6, North Broward Prep 5
NBP: 001-301-0 -- -- 5-7-2
SLAM: 000-303-x -- -- 6-6-4
WP: Andrew Velez; LP: Ryan Mash. Jose Garcia 2 HR, 4 RBI.
GOLD CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
▪ Coral Gables 3, Mater Academy 0
CG: 001-100-1 -- -- 3-6-0
MA: 000-000-0 -- -- 0-4-0
WP: Cabezas (5-3); LP: Tyler Perez. Coco Montes 2-3, RBI; Elijah Eusebio HR.
▪ Doral 8, Palmetto (Manatee County) 3
Palm: 000-021-0 -- -- 3-5-1
Dor: 100-403-x -- -- 8-11-2
WP: Christian Cuba (2-0). Carlos Pino 1-2, 3 RBI; Luis Valbuna RS, RBI; Andres Valbuna 2-3, 2 RS; Cuba 6 IP, 1 ER, 6 K. Dor 10-7-1.
▪ LaSalle 4, Chaminade-Madonna 3
LaS: 120-100-0 -- -- 4-6-0
CM: 000-010-2 -- -- 3-10-2
WP: Jacob Perea; Sv: Joshua Leon. Cris Cabezas 2-3.
▪ South Dade 11, Mount Vista 1
MV: 001-00 -- -- 1-3-0
SD: 240-32 -- -- 11-10-1
WP - Salvi Finocchiaro (4-0). Alek Manoah 3-3, 2 2B, 2 RBI; Gabriel Cruz 2-3, 3 RS, 3 RBI; Willie Escala 3-3, 3 RS; Finocchiaro 5 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 5 K. SD 13-4.
▪ Kissimmee Osceola 2, Southwest 0
SW: 000-000-0 -- -- 0-4-2
Osc: 200-000-x -- -- 2-8-1
WP: Javier Echevarria; LP: Andre Fletes. Jason Graña 2-2; Fletes 6 IP, 6 K. SW 6-12. Osc 14-3.
▪ Hebrew Academy d. Yeshiva 25-23, 25-20, 25-10: Yosef Hochner 11 aces, 5 kills; Chad Masin 14 kills, 6 digs; Noah Schiff 38 digs. HA 4-3.
▪ St Brendan d. Westwood 25-7, 25-10, 25-20: Luis Kannee 10 kills, 3 digs; Marc Diaz 22 assists, 5 aces, 2 digs; Jorge Gonzalez 5 kills; Chachi Nunez 19 digs. StB 8-5.
▪ Columbus d. Boca Raton Spanish River 25-13, 25-12, 25-14: Peter Cancio 15 kills; Anthony Taboada 19 assists; Guillermo Brito 5 kills, 3 blocks. Col 10-1.
▪ University School 7, Postnack 0: 1. Alec Zager d. Harrison Milgrim 8-1; 2. Matthew Luna d. Adam Leibowialt 8-0; 3. Billy Milgrim d. Daniel Abramson 8-1; 4. Julian Pollak d. Jordan Benmoha 8-1; 5. Augusto Cardenas d. Jack Halman 8-0; 1. Luna/Milgrim d. Milgrim/Leibowialt 6-1; 2. Zager/Cardenas d. Abramson/Benmoha 6-0.
▪ Calvary Christian 4, Archbishop McCarthy 3: 1. Andrew Puglisi (McC) d. Michael Mendez 8-5; 2. Keegan O'Leary (Cal) d. Luis Gallego 8-0; 3. Elias Tavares (Cal) d. Alex Balke 8-0; 4. Alfredo Riviati (McC) d. Keegan Hinsley 8-3; 5. Charlie Crisci (Cal) d. Harison Lovinsky 9-8; 1. Puglisi/Gallego (McC) d. Mendez/O'Leary 9-8 (7-5); 2. Tavares/Hinsley (Cal) d. Balke/Riviati 8-2.
▪ University School 6, Postnack 1: Leah Bush d. Nicole Gottlieb 8-2; 2. Natalie Benayoun d. Nikki Chissid 8-2; 3. Rebecca Goesz (P) d. Amelia Meles 8-4; 4. Amber Czinn d. Samantha Chasscid 8-3; 5. Shelby Kahn d. Hanna Phillips 8-3; 1. Kaylee Witschen/Eleanor Ohayon d. Jordon Kramer/Abbie Kushner 6-0; 2. Rachel Guttman/Minnie Rosenblum d. Eden Azuley/Donna Neumann 6-1.
▪ Archbishop McCarthy 6, Calvary Christian 1: Caitlin Khan (Cal) d. Kelsey Berman 8-2; 2. Raquel Gil d. Alejandra Cardenas 8-0; 3. Gloria Cabrero d. Haley Day 8-1; 4. Sophia Lagos d. Sarah Enders 8-0; 5. Natalia Brown d. Maria Gomez 8-1; 1. Berman/Cabrero d. Cardenas/Gomez 8-0; 2. Gil/Lagos d. Day/Enders.
Boys’ water polo
▪ Westminster Academy 12, Boca Raton Spanish River 8: Jason Woodburn 6 goals; Billy Bevill 15 saves. WA 12-5.
Girls’ water polo
▪ Westminster Academy 20, Boca Raton Spanish River 2: Naomi Sanders and Victoria Bevill 4 goals each. WA 12-3.
▪ Archbishop McCarthy 14, Cardinal Gibbons 9: RJ Breton (CG) 3 goals; Trent Motta (CG) 2 goals; Cole O'Hallaron (CG) 2 goals 2 assists.