EAST LAKE — The road to states is never easy, but this might be a little ridiculous. All three of East Lake’s playoff wins have been on the road against Class 7A teams ranked in MaxPreps.com’s top ten. First came a quarterfinal trip to nationally ranked and Class 7A No. 1 Sarasota High, as well as a 2-1 win in 10 innings. The Eagles then had to get through local nemesis Northeast, then ranked as Class 7A’s No. 6 team in the state. That ended in a 9-0 blowout victory on the road and earned East Lake a region final trip to No. 4 Melbourne High, which it won 7-3 in nine innings.
Next up is No. 6 Kissimmee Osceola (24-6). Although everyone’s technically on the road at this point, it’s only fitting that the Eagles will be considered the visitor come Friday night’s 7 p.m. first pitch. As for its own ranking, East Lake is up to No. 5 in Class 7A and No. 21 in the state. Of the other three final four qualifiers — Osceola, Tallahassee Chiles and Hialeah American — Chiles is the only other team to have to go through a top 10 team in the first three rounds. The Timberwolves, now ranked in the national top 10, took out highly regarded Tallahassee Lincoln and Oviedo. Check into www.SuncoastNews.com for coverage from the Class 7A state final four beginning Friday night at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers. Softball: 3 locals make all-star roster The Florida Athletic Coaches Association announced its 25th All-Star Softball Classic rosters and three North Pinellas seniors made the cut. Palm Harbor University pitcher-first baseman Rachel Taylor and outfielder-third baseman Alayna Gallagher will be joined by Countryside center fielder Samantha Sharpe on the West All-Stars. The FACA selects four teams based on region — North, South, East and West — and stages a two-day tournament at Forest High School in Ocala. Semifinal games will be played this Friday, followed by Saturday’s third-place game at 10 a.m. and championship game at noon. North Pinellas’ three selections are all signed to play collegiately next year. Gallagher will travel south to Barry University in Miami, Sharpe is going to Eckerd College and Taylor signed this Monday to attend Maryville College in Tennessee. firstname.lastname@example.org (727) 815-1071