News Columns & Blogs

Pirates to host annual festival

The fifth annual Pirate Fest is scheduled for 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Sunday. The event is free and precedes the Pittsburgh Pirates spring training game against the Toronto Blue Jays, which is set for 1:05 p.m. at McKechnie Field.

Pirate Fest is scheduled to take place on 9th Street West in front of the ticket office.

There’s going to be a speed-pitch area and Pirates’ bounce house along with the chance to get autographs and meet players, coaches and former Pittsburgh greats.

For more information, call 747-3031.

Falcons fab in LAX tourney

Saint Stephen’s middle school girls lacrosse team hosted a tournament at Palma Sola Park over the weekend.

The Falcons went 2-1 in the round-robin tourney.

After a 13-0 victory in the tournament’s opening match, Saint Stephen’s fell 5-2 to Naples.

The Naples squad was the lone undefeated team at 3-0.

The Falcons finished off the tournament with a victory over Wesley Chapel 4-3.

Volleyball teams spike away

Manatee Area Volleyball had two teams walk away with top five finishes in the recent 2011 Tampa United Kickoff junior volleyball tournament.

MAV’s 15s Elite team placed second out of 30 teams in the 15-years-old and younger club division.

Manatee’s 18s Elite squad finished five out of 16 teams in the 18-year-old club division.

MMA fighter still unbeaten

Bradenton’s Raul Amaya, nicknamed Smash Mode, improved to 7-0 after defeating Koa Ramos at Art of Fighting 11: Fusion at the Florida State Fairgrounds on Feb. 19.

Amaya, who trains at City Fitness and Champions MMA, earned the submission victory with a rear-naked choke at 1:57 in the second round.

Meanwhile, another City Fitness and Champions MMA fighter -- Matt “No Mercy” Kersse -- also fought on the same card as Amaya.

Kersse lost for the first time when he submitted to Jim Alers’ guillotine choke in the first round.

Online registration ending

The First Watch Sarasota Half-Marathon & Relay isn’t until March 13, but runners wanting to register online for a lower price have until March 7.

Visit to register for $20 cheaper than the on-site registration March 8-12.

There is no registration on race day, due to the estimated 3,000 runners expected to compete.

Bradenton’s on-site registration is at On A Shoe String from 3 to 7 p.m. on March 10. Fit 2 Run off University Parkway is holding a registration site the following day during the same hours.