HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
Harrison's return sparks Hurricanes to two district wins
Published: Sunday, April 14, 2013 at 11:24 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, April 14, 2013 at 11:24 p.m.
For the last month, Gainesville coach Adam Souilliard has watched his team's ability to manufacture runs slow to a standstill without Case Harrison.
After the Hurricanes jumped out to 4-1 start this season behind their speedy leadoff hitter, Harrison suffered a hyperextended knee on March 1 and watched as his team lost 12 of its next 15.
When he finally returned to Gainesville's lineup last week with just five regular season games remaining, Harrison did not wait long to make his presence known on the basepaths.
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Harrison — who will play on the UF football team in the fall as a preferred walk-on — snagged seven steals and generated five runs in a three-game stretch for the Hurricanes, including a pair of District 6A-5 wins over Leesburg.
“He's an aggressive kid,” Souilliard said. “He's looking to get himself into scoring position every time. ... We kind of give him the green light to run when he feels he can get it.”
With the freedom to gamble once on base, Harrison had five steals and was not thrown out once in last Tuesday's 8-7 win against the Yellowjackets. Splitting his time at catcher and outfielder, Harrison finished his first game back 4-for-4 at the plate with two runs scored and two RBIs.
Three days later, Gainesville earned its second win over Leesburg to rise two places to No. 2 in the district standings. While Harrison was productive on 2 for 5 hitting with two runs in the 7-6 road victory, Souilliard also noticed a ripple effect throughout his lineup.
“Before he got hurt, he was the catalyst for our offense,” Souilliard said. “If he gets on, you can pretty much guarantee he's going to steal second and third. So that gives our hitters a lot of good pitches to hit.”
TIM GIBSON, BRONSON: A junior pitcher, Gibson tossed a complete game, no-hitter last Tuesday in the Eagles' 2-0 win at Hamilton County. On Thursday, he picked up another victory in Bronson's 4-3 home win over St. Francis. Gibson also did well at the plate, going 4 for 10 hitting with four RBIs in three games.
FEN BOWEN, EASTSIDE: A senior, Bowen led the Rams' midfield with five goals and four assists last week in wins over P.K. Yonge and Daytona Beach Father Lopez.
Boys track and field
JOHN SANSALONE, ST. FRANCIS: The senior won a District 1A-5 title last Thursday at Oak Hall in the 1,600-meter run and placed second in the 800. In his final event, Sansalone helped the Wolves run to second place in the 4x400-meter relay.
Girls track and field
MAGGIE RICE, NEWBERRY: The freshman long-distance runner led the Panthers at last week's District 2A-4 meet in Palatka by winning the 3,200-meter run and finishing fourth in the 1,600-meter run. Rice was also a member of Newberry's second-place 4x800 relay team.
TY BARBER, BRONSON: The sophomore shortstop went 7 for 12 last week with three runs scored, two RBIs and a double. Barber also pitched six innings and struck out four last Thursday in the Eagles' 4-3 victory against St. Francis.
WILL WHITLOCK, GAINESVILLE: In a three-game stretch last week, the Hurricanes third baseman went a combined 7 for 9 at the plate with two runs, three RBIs, a triple and a stolen base. On the mound, Whitlock struck out six total batters and earned his second save of the season in two appearances against district-rival Leesburg.
DEVONTE HORNE, EASTSIDE: Horne, a senior midfielder, scored four goals last week for the Rams, highlighted by his two-score, Senior Night performance in Tuesday's 15-5 victory against city rival P.K. Yonge.
Track and field
JOSH STULL, ST. FRANCIS: The senior athlete broke three school records at last Thursday's District 1A-5 meet hosted by Oak Hall, including standout performances in the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash and the long jump. Stull, who finished third overall in the 200, also contributed to a second-place result in the 4x400 relay for the Wolves.
MARIAH SAPP, NEWBERRY: One of nine Panthers to qualify for regionals at last week's District meet, Sapp earned a fourth-place result in the 800-meter with a time of 2:36.27. The sophomore ran two relays as well, helping Newberry to second overall in the 4x800 and fourth in the 4x400.
Athletes of the week are determined by nominations from area coaches. Coaches are asked to call in every Sunday between 4-7 p.m.
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