Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Former Clay Star Helps Beat JU

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Former Clay Star Helps Beat JU

Article excerpt

Byline: Stephen Kindland, Clay County Line sports writer

News-n-notes from around the horn . . .

Back in town: Christina Thompson, daughter of Clay High School baseball coach Robbie Thompson, was in town last week for a pair of softball games against Jacksonville University. Christina plays for nationally ranked Florida Atlantic University, and is the only member of Clay's 2001 state championship team still playing in Division 1. In case you're wondering, FAU beat the Dolphins twice, 4-2 and 4-0 in extra innings.

Back in force: Though Christina was unable to attend, four other players from the 2001 team watched Clay beat Keystone Heights 11-3 in a region quarterfinal Thursday. Several others called to wish the team well, according to head coach Matt Lewis, who also is the school's athletic director. "That's the kind of tight-knit community we have," he said.

Back in my day: I remember playing adult league fast-pitch softball in my late teens, but I don't remember going up against pitchers who can proportionately match the speed and ball movement of Orange Park High School pitcher Ryan Rogge. The junior right-hander is being looked at by a number of Division 1 schools, and has drawn praise from opposing teams and coaches all season. She's the high school equivalent of a franchise player, and her 324 strikeouts over 163 2/3 innings this season -- an average of 1.98 Ks per inning -- make her one of North Florida's premier pitchers. If her teammates work as hard as she does next year, the Raiders could find themselves in the final four of the state tournament.

Stepping up: Unless someone else comes along between now and October, Robbie Thompson will expand his coaching horizons when he takes over Clay's volleyball program. Principal Pete McCabe chose not to renew Tony Cimato's contract at the end of last season, and Thompson has more-or-less volunteered to fill the position. …

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