Commentary | Pirranhas youth baseball team gobbles up competition

February 26, 2013 

The Parrish Piranhas 11-and-younger travel baseball team took second place in the recent USSSA tournament in Plant City. The Piranhas, who won the USSSA Spring Slamfest in early February, continued their fine form by winning three consecutive games until a loss in the championship in Plant City.

The club has spent nearly three years together, chalking up more than 100 wins as it plans on competing in several big tournaments this year.

The Plant City tournament, UFC VI, saw the Piranhas land four players on the All-Tournament Team. They are Matthew Sullivan, Josh Lundy, Diego Cardenas-Pena and Jacob Durso.

After winning two pool-play games and a semifinal bracket game, the Piranhas fell to the South Brandon Hornets 6-2 to take the second place in the tourney.

Falcons open triumphantly

Saint Stephen's middle school baseball team defeated Tampa Cambridge Christian 8-3 to open its season. Falcons pitcher Derek Ziebell earned the win, while D.J. Verbeke threw two scoreless innings. Shortstop Andrew Csubak paced the offense with two hits. The Falcons are away to rival Bradenton Christian at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

Local coach on the run

Rae-Ann Darling Reed is having one heck of a month in distance run

ning. The Manatee High coach began February with first place in her age group and second among all females at the Groundhog Jog 10K in Bradenton after a time of 41:29. She continued that on Feb. 10 at the St. Pete Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon with a third place showing in her group after a time of 1:35:53. And on Feb. 17 at the Five Points of Life Marathon in Gainesville, Darling Reed clocked in at 3:35:22 for first place in her age division. That marathon also netted her seventh among all female participants and 30th overall.

Rare loss for Gladiators

Minor-league football in Florida took on a whole meaning this past weekend as the Florida Football Alliance deemed the games as "Rivalry Week."

For the Bradenton Gladiators, that meant facing the Orlando Rage.

However, it wasn't a successful road trip as the Rage blanked Bradenton 20-0.

Entering the week, the Gladiators were averaging 37 points a game through a balanced offensive attack featuring former Manatee standouts Craig Carnes (15 carries, 131 yards, touchdown) and Edgar Theliar (five catches, 139 yards, touchdown).

Last season's playmaker Jeff Charlton has made a mark in a new role this season, flashing his talents on the defensive side. The Manatee alum tallied three interceptions, including one returned for a score.

But the high-powered offense and stingy defense (18 points allowed in first two games) couldn't produce a victory in Orlando and the Gladiators (2-1) slipped a half game behind the Rage for first place in the NFC Central Division.

Jason Dill, sports reporter, can be reached at 745-7017 or via email at Follow him on Twitter @Jason__Dill.

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