Dan PearsonBy:  J. Daniel Pearson
For Positively Osceola

Two more Orange Belt Conference Championships will be determined this week as conference tournaments are held in the sports of baseball and flag football.   Both tournaments will be week-long affairs, with Poinciana hosting the baseball title game and Harmony hosting the flag championship game.  

Osceola will be the top seed in the baseball tournament; while Harmony will be the top seed in flag football.  Both title games are scheduled for Friday night.

A look around the county:


OBC Quarterfinal games are slated for today (Mon.) with #8 Gateway at #1 Osceola, #5 St. Cloud at #4 Celebration, #6 Liberty at #3 Harmony and #7 Poinciana at #2 Tohopekaliga.  Seedings were determined by MaxPrep power rankings at the end of last week.  First round winners will meet on Wednesday at the home field of the highest seed.  Consolation placement games will be played on the same day.  The third place (4:30 p.m.) and championship game (7 p.m.) will be played Friday (Mar. 31) and will be hosted by Poinciana. 

The Kowboys (8-5) enter the tournament after dropping two of their last three games —  but it should be noted those games came last week to Polk County teams that had a combined record of 32-6.  Junior Jason Ramos continues to lead the Kowboys in batting average (.485), hits (16) and RBI (13).   In Osceola’s lone win, an 11-7 win over Lake Wales (11-2), Nick Palmi slammed a three-run homer.

Tohopekaliga has the top record at 8-2, with one of its two losses coming to Osceola.  The Tigers are led by a pair of players hitting above .500 through 10 games, including senior Justin Diaz batting a torrid .550 (11 of 20) and sophomore Hudson Moberly’s .519 (14 of 27).

Celebration is coming off a 2-0 week and has now won six of their last seven.  The Storm have outscored its opposition 74-37 this year and is led by Alejandro Hernandez, who is hitting a county-best .600 (21 of 35) so far this season.

Junior Yathniel Matos collected three hits, score three runs and drove in three as Harmony scored nine runs in the fifth to overcome an 8-3 deficit to beat Melbourne Central Catholic, 12-9 and earn a split for the week.  Harmony is 5-8 on the season after a 14-6 loss to Melbourne on Friday night.

St. Cloud’s (3-6) roller coaster season continues as the Bulldogs followed up a two-game winning streak with a three losses.  All three were relatively close games, as St. Cloud dropped decisions to Winter Park (2-0), Tohopekaliga (3-2) and Olympia (4-1).  Those three teams have a combined 24 wins on the season.  Senior Roman Lopez was leading the Bulldogs with a .355 average. 

Senior Jeydalier Aponte was hitting .447 for Liberty, who took a 4-4 record into this week’s OBC Tournament  — including a 10-7 win over Wekiva on Friday night.


FHSAA State rankings determined the seedings for this week’s Orange Belt Conference Championship Tournament.  The event with be a single elimination, week-long tournament with consolation rounds to determined places one through eight.  The higher seed will host first round games on Tuesday, with #8 Tohopekaliga (0-2) at #1 Harmony (6-2), #5 Poinciana (3-1) at #4 St. Cloud (4-1); #6 Gateway (3-2) at #3 Liberty (4-2) and #7 Celebration (0-3) at #2 Osceola (5-1).

Semifinal games will be played on Wednesday at the home of the two highest seeds.  Harmony High is the designed site for Friday third place (5:30 p.m.) and championship (7 p.m.) games.  The tournament should be a wide-open affair as none of the one-loss teams have played each other this season.


Osceola posted a 1-1 week to move its record to 5-4 on the season – dropping a 7-4 home decision to St. Cloud before getting three hits, four runs and three RBI from Kaylee Jones to defeat Trinity 15-11 on Thursday night.  The Lady Kowboys will play Lakes High (Lake Villa, IL) at home on Monday before hosting the Roger Jones Classic next weekend.

St. Cloud (7-3) capped off its week with an 11-0 win over Satellite.  Earlier in the week Ray Whobrey’s team defeated Osceola (7-4) and Davenport (5-4).

After spring break, Harmony recorded wins over East River (14-4) and Timber Creek (3-1) to even its season record at 3-3.  Freshman Emerson Asian continues the hot start to her career, going 3 for 7 in those two games and driving in four runs.  She leads Harmony this season in RBI (7) and in hitting .400.

Poinciana (6-3) continues explode offensively, averaging more than 20 runs per game.  On the other hand they have allowed 20 runs per game in their three losses this season, including 38 for Edgewater in a 38-27 loss last week.  Senior Tristin Skoog is hitting .600 for the Eagles (12 of 20) and leads the team in home runs (3) and RBI (20).

Freshman Jessilyn Diaz (.417) was leading the Toho Tigers (3-5) in hitting.


The big news in lacrosse came at St. Cloud, where the first year boys program won their first game in program history with a 7-6 win over Colonial last Tuesday and followed it with a 12-2 win over University.  St. Cloud (2-9) got three goals from Gavin Booth in that historic first win.  The Lady Bulldogs were 4-8 on the season, sophomore Morgan VanAuken leads the Lady Bulldogs in scoring with 17 goals this season.

Both programs at Tohopekaliga were sporting winning records, as the boys were 6-4 on the season and the girls were 4-2.  A pair of juniors, Nathan Llemsky (25 goals) and Lauren Schira (29 goals) led their respective Tiger teams in scoring.

Erin Ozyurek, the multi-sport star at Celebration, had 22 goals as the Storm were 14-3 on the season.  Ozyurek was one of four Storm players with 10+ goals on the season.  Zerek Zelmanski has 31 goals for the Storm boys team that was 3-5 on the year. 


The Gateway girls (9-1 overall, 4-0 in Orange Belt Conference) will host Celebration (9-1, 5-0 OBC) next Friday in what could determine the OBC title.  The OBC Tennis title is decided by round-robin play and both teams have been practically untouchable inside the county.  

The Storm, led by #1 singles player Valeria Lopez (6-0), has yet to drop a set in their five OBC matches – sweeping all opponents by a 7-0 score.  Gateway, featuring three juniors and two freshmen in its starting line-up, has been equally impressive – going 28-0 in sets while sweeping all four of its county opponents (7-0).  Freshman Danara Marcos (9-1) is the #1 singles player for the Panthers.

Harmony (4-0) may have something to say about the OBC title as both teams have matches remaining against the Longhorns.

Celebration (7-7) has already clinched the boys OBC Championship with a 7-7 record.


It was a week of celebration for St. Cloud athletics, as four celebrated signings to play at the next level.  Jenna Barnett, who led the Lady Bulldogs to an appearance in the state championships, signed to play golf at Eastern Florida State College (formerly Brevard CC).  

Football players Joseph Clukey, Mason Green, and Noah Carr all signed letters-of-intent to play at Missouri Valley College in Marshall, Missouri.