Joined by teammates, teachers, coaches, family and friends, dozens of local student-athletes enjoyed the spotlight last month during national signing day.

Area schools that were represented included East Bay, Bloomingdale and its neighbor, Newsome. Each featured its seniors on their special day.

East Bay High School was proud of its two seniors, Taylor Baker and Amber Hess, for their achievement in accepting scholarships to play softball.

Under the direction of their coach, Glenn Rodriguez, Baker, the Indians softball pitcher, accepted a scholarship to play for Polk State College, while teammate and third baseman, Hess, accepted a scholarship to play for Pasco-Hernando State College.

Both athletes are leading the program as team captains this year and have been playing at East Bay High School since their freshman year. Hess plays third base and is sporting a batting average of 312, while Baker plays shortstop and pitcher and has had 42 strike outs in six games.

Newsome high School was also proud to hosts its signing ceremony featuring its senior, Lucy Garner, who had signed with Eckerd College to further her education and play softball.

Before she is to sport her talent with the Tritons, Garner is looking forward to finishing the season as captain of the Newsome varsity softball team, under the direction of her coach, Autumn Dunn.

A couple of miles down the road, Bloomingdale Senior High principal, Sue Burkett, welcomed all present on signing day which included comments from coaches and students as well as some festivities coupled with pizza and dessert.

Andrew LeBlanc, Sydney Ross and Ryan Kelley all have officially signed their letters of intent to further their education while playing the sport they love.

Kelley, who thanked everyone for sharing in the ceremony, will attend Lake Sumter Community College where he will play baseball.

Ross will be attending University of Tampa and will play on the Women’s Soccer team.

Bloomingdale High School track talent, Andrew LeBlanc will be attending the University of North Florida.

“We have to remember that these athletes were students first and while this is a great opportunity for them, it promotes our school and sets the example for all others that follow,” Burkett said.

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