Preseason football camps may be just around the corner but an ever-increasing summer tradition is holding court: 7-on-7 tournaments.
The events are taking place throughout the country and Tampa Bay-area teams are fully engaged.
Plant (Tampa, Fla.) participated in the most prominent event, playing in the NIKE 7-On Tournament at the company’s Beaverton, Ore., campus July 8-9.
After a promising start, the Panthers were eliminated on the event’s second day.
Plant won twice in pool play, beating Martin (Arlington, Texas) 25-17 and Butler (Matthews, N.C.) 25-13 before losing 30-16 to Northwestern (Miami, Fla.).
In the consolation bracket, Plant fell to Serra (Gardena, Calif.) 20-7 and 25-21 to Glenville (Cleveland, Ohio).
Meanwhile, back in the Bay area, Spoto (Riverview, Fla.) won the inaugural Big County Preps 7-on-7 Tournament.
Spoto won eight-straight games during the tournament, including three against Wharton (Tampa, Fla.) to take the crown. Spoto topped Wharton 21-6 in the championship game.
Spoto coach Dale Caparaso singled out the play of quarterback Nick Addison, wide receiver Tyrone Baker and defenders Jamario Belton and Darren Morris during the event.
Also, Palm Harbor University (Palm Harbor, Fla.) won the crown at the Largo High 7-on-7 Tournament, featuring squads from Pinellas County.
PHU topped East Lake (Tarpon Springs, Fla.) 26-18 for the championship.
PHU quarterback Billy Pavlock and wideouts Hunter Beam and Kenny Blanch sparked the Hurricanes’ title run.
And Jefferson (Tampa, Fla.) will host the NFL-sponsored 7-on-7 tournament next week, featuring squads from 22 NFL cities that advanced to the national finals through regional qualifying events.
More Summer happenings
Brandon (Brandon, Fla.) centerfielder James Ramsay has been named this year’s recipient of the 40th annual Tony Saladino Memorial Award, given to the top senior baseball player in Tampa’s Hillsborough County.
Ramsay, a University of South Florida signee and 38th-round draft pick of the New York Yankees, helped lead Brandon to an 18-7 record in 2010.
Ramsay batted .417 with three home runs and 17 RBI this past season. He had an on-base percentage of .561.
The season was a comeback for Ramsay, who had an ACL injury during his junior year.
Ramsay is the sixth Brandon player to win the award.
Also, Alonso (Tampa, Fla.) pitcher Jose Fernandez has been named to the 2010 Aflac All-American Baseball Classic.
The game, which features the country’s top incoming senior high school players, is scheduled for Aug. 15 at Petco Park in San Diego.
A right-handed pitcher and designated hitter, Fernandez was 10-1 during his junior season in 2010. Fernandez posted a 0.87 ERA as a pitcher and hit .400 with 29 RBI as Alonso (state champs in 2009) advanced again to the Class 6A state final four.