All posts by Royal A. Shepherd

Royal is the Production Director for Franchise Sports and the Content Writer for the Florida Chamber of Commerce. He grew up in Pompano Beach, Fla and is a lifelong Miami Heat, Kansas City Royals (for obvious reasons), Miami Marlins, University of Miami football and Green Bay Packers fan. He is a former staff writer for the Augusta Chronicle in Augusta, Ga. and the Tallahassee Democrat daily newspapers. He encourages interaction with his readers via twitter (@RoyalShepherdFS) and Instagram (same handle). Father of one.

Noles Capture First WCWS Title in School History

Royal A. Shepherd (RoyalShepherdFS on Twitter), Director

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – An 8-3 win over the Washington Huskies gave the Florida State softball team its first National Championship in the fastpitch era and third title overall on Tuesday.

Redshirt junior Meghan King led the come-from-behind victory from the pitcher’s mound. The lefty pitched seven innings, giving up five hits, three runs and struck out four.  

The Seminoles (58-12) are the third team in NCAA history to come through the loser’s bracket to win the WCWS title. Texas A&M did it in 1983 and UCLA accomplished the feat in 2003. 

Photo Courtesy of FSU Sports Information

The Huskies (52-10) jumped out to a three-run lead in the top of the first. Taylor Van Zee got things started with a leadoff single. She was able to score when Jessie Warren threw away a ball to the bag at first on a sacrifice bunt. A pop fly to shallow center fell between two Noles to allow another run to score and an RBI groundout by Taryn Atlee accounted for the final run. 

Florida State responded in the bottom of the first. Warren hit a single to left field to set up a two-run homer by Anna Shelnutt to cut the Huskies lead to 3-2.

In the second, Zoe Casas hit a double to left-center that was followed by a Cali Harrod walk. Two batters later, Elizabeth Mason gave the Noles their first lead of the game with a single to right-center. The hit allowed both Harrod and Casas to score, putting the Noles up 4-3. Warren then recorded an RBI single in the inning, increasing the Seminoles’ lead to 5-3.

In the third inning, Sydney Sherrill doubled to left-center. It was double number 29 on the year for the freshman, setting a new ACC record and tying the NCAA single-season mark.

Washington threatened the Noles in the fourth inning as the Huskies loaded the bases with a pair of singles and an error on King with two outs. King escaped the situation on a groundout to end the inning.

Two home runs for FSU in the fourth sealed the game and the title for the Lady Noles. Mason crushed a 2-2 pitch over the wall in center, giving FSU a 7-3 lead. Warren followed with a moonshot to center that gave her 13 total hits in the Women’s College World Series, tying the record for most hits in a single tournament.

 

 

FSU Softball Team Advances to ACC Championship Game

Royal A. Shepherd (RoyalShepherdFS on Twitter), Production Director

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – No. 10 Florida State scored the final six runs against Notre Dame (32-21) to take a 6-1 win on Friday to advance to Saturday’s ACC Championship Game.

For Florida State (46-10), it will be the sixth consecutive year that the team has played in the ACC title game. They will play the winner out of No. 2-seed Pitt and No. 3-seed North Carolina. That game will be on Saturday at noon.

Photo Courtesy of Florida State Sports Information
Florida State infielder Carsyn Gordon (12) slides into second base as Notre Dame shortstop Morgan Reed (20) fields the ball during the semifinals of the 2018 ACC Softball Championship in Atlanta, Ga., on Friday, May 11, 2018. (Photo by Sara D. Davis, theACC.com)

Sydney Sherrill was 2-for-3 at the plate for the Seminoles. She also connected on her FSU-record 25th double of the season, which moves her into a tie for 17th in NCAA single-season history.

“Quality day today,” FSU head coach Lonni Alameda said. “We had some chances early but just didn’t get the swing off the in the first couple of innings. We worked at-bats and situations later in the game and Meghan and Kylee had really good days in the circle. Now we get to wait and see who comes out of the Pitt and UNC game to have a real Atlantic versus Coastal ACC Championship Game tomorrow.”

The Championship Game between FSU and whoever wins the other matchup will be broadcast live on ESPN. 

Franchise Sports Update: Knight secures Silver Medal in Men’s High Jump

Royal A. Shepherd (RoyalShepherdFS on Twitter), Production Director

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – Florida State’s Corion Knight secured a second-place finish in Thursday’s ACC Outdoor Championships men’s high jump. The Noles’ 11 points placed the team in fourth place behind Syracuse (23 points), Louisville (19) and Notre Dame (12.5). There are 15 total teams competing at Miami’s Cobb Stadium.

Knight set a lifetime-best with his jump of 2.21 meters (7-3) and Brandon Tirado finished in sixth-place in the hammer to help the Noles get in position for one of the top three spots.

Photo Courtesy of Florida State Sports Information
Corion Knight cleared a lifetime-best 2.21 meters (7-3) to secure a silver medal for the Seminole men in the high jump during the 2018 ACC Outdoor Track and Field Championship.

“I just want to do my part,” Knight said. “We have a great team. We’re in a good position to win another ACC Championship and I just want to do my part.”

Eleonora Omoregie grabbed a share of third place in the high jump, clearing 1.69 meters (5-6.5) for FSU’s women. Teammates Hannah Welsh and Kayla Maczuga shared sixth place at 1.64 meters (5-4.5). The Seminole women are in eighth place with 7.5 points.

 

FAMU Softball Team Advances In MEAC Tournament

Royal A. Shepherd (RoyalShepherdFS on Twitter), Production Director

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – Florida A&M University’s softball team will move on to the next round of the 2018 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Softball Championship. A seventh inning lead-off solo home run by freshman third baseman  Hera Varmah secured a 2-1 victory for the Rattlers over Morgan State University in the second round of the tournament on Thursday at the Ormond Beach Sports Complex.

The Rattlers (22-27) will face the Bethune Cookman Wildcats on Friday at noon to determine who will advance to Saturday’s final. The Wildcats punched their ticket to this game with a 3-2 win over Savannah State.

Varmah’s homer, her fourth of the season, came in the midst of a competitive pitcher’s duel. FAMU’s Kyaira Brown (15-11) gave up the only two hits against the Bears (28-16), winners of the conferences’ North Division. Brown also struck out a season-high 11 batters. Morgan State’s pitching duo of Stephanie Rundlett and Amy Begg held FAMU to only two hits. In addition to Varmah’s home run, Taylor Rosier secured the other hit for the Rattlers. 

Morgan State, now in the elimination bracket, faced North Division foe Hampton in one of the two elimination games on Thursday evening. Savannah State faced South Division rival North Carolina Central in the evening’s other elimination game.

FAMU’s Adam, Nani and Rakotondrazafy make 2018 All-Meac Tennis Team

Royal A. Shepherd (RoyalShepherdFS on Twitter), Production Director

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference announced that Florida A&M University had three players selected to the All-MEAC tennis team. The team is selected by the league’s coaches and media relations directors.

Junior Noureldin Adam, originally of Khartoum, Sudan, was named All-MEAC first team on the men’s side. Adam completed the season with a 7-5 overall record in singles. He was 3-1 in conference play. 

Frederico Nani, a junior from Cordoba, Argentina, was named to the second-team. He tallied a 5-6 record in singles, finishing 3-1 in the MEAC. He and Adam combined to form the team’s top doubles record at 8-4 overall, a perfect 4-0 record in the conference.

Mialiniaina Rakotondrazafy, a junior from Paris, France, was a second-team women’s team pick. She posted a 5-9 record in singles and a 4-1 record in MEAC play. 

The 2018 MEAC Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships will be held Thursday through Saturday, at the Folkes-Stevens Tennis Center on the campus of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. FAMU’s women’s team claimed the top seed in the Southern Division. The defending champion men’s team captured the second seed in the Southern Division.

FAMU has 107 Student-Athletes Named to MEAC All-Academic Team

Royal A. Shepherd (RoyalShepherdFS on Twitter), Production Director

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – On Monday, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) announced the 1,366 student-athletes to make the 2018 Commissioner’s All-Academic team. Florida A&M Unversity had 107 names featured on the list, including 54 women and 53 men. 

The team is constructed of student-athletes between their junior and senior year with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better. It includes all of the MEAC’s 13 institutions during the spring 2017 and fall 2017 semesters.

FAMU’s representation is a diverse bunch. On the women’s side, 24 athletes from the track and field team, nine from the basketball team, six from the volleyball team, five from the tennis team, four cheerleaders, four from the softball team and two bowling athletes made the list.

For the men, 17 from the football team, 12 from the baseball team, eight from the track and field team, eight from the tennis team, five from the golf team and three from the basketball team were on the list of honorees. 

The entire list of athletes is below:

FLORIDA A&M UNIVERSITY (107)

Women (54): Dicaria Alvarez (T&F), Briana Ballat (T&F), Tiara Barnes (T&F), Demetria Bethel (BWL), Cori Bostic (WBB), Mary Brooks (T&F), Shalaunda Burney-Robinson (WBB), Kierra Calhoun (CHR), Valentina Carrasco (VB), Elizabeth Clayton (TEN), Shalynn Cyprien (T&F), Taylor Darks (WBB), Lanese Davis (CHR), Whitney Farris (SB), Alelee Figueroa (T&F), Amber Fullwood (SB), Ashley Giacomucci (T&F), Alexis Gosha (VB), Amber Hannah (CHR), Akievia Hickman (CHR), Alexandria Hightower (VB), Benisha Johnson (T&F), Destiny Johnson (T&F), Shontielle Johnson (T&F), Judith Kibii (T&F), Dawn King (WBB), Caroline Kiplagat (T&F), Emmax Kiplagat (T&F), Nicole Kvitkauskas (T&F), Mia Lewis (T&F), Fridah Limo (T&F), Valeria Lopez (VB), Ginna Lopez-Chavez (VB), Karen Machisa (TEN),
Alexandria Marshall-Paul (T&F), Alicia McCray (WBB), Briana McCrimmon (WBB), Nancy Murgor (T&F), Victoria Nguyen (WBB), Florence Ouattara (WBB), Kenya Pereira (SB), April Polite (T&F), Evelyn Ralph (T&F), Tanzania Ralph (T&F), Arrice Robinson (TEN), Kiara Shaw (TEN), Olivia Simmons (T&F), Tahlia Snider (SB), Naomi Tanui (T&F), Symone Townsend (TEN), Erica Tyler (T&F), Destiny Williams (BWL), Ecenur Yurdakul (WBB), Maria Yvette
Garcia (VB)… 

Men (53): Osman Aguilera (FB), Tarique Akbar (FB), Yahia Aly (FB), Korteece Baker (T&F), Shareek Branch (T&F), William Brooks (BSB), John Capra (BSB), Elijah Casey (FB), Marquan Cromartie (FB), Prince Cunningham (GLF), Patrick Dalton (T&F), Joshua Engram (FB), Walner Espinoza (TEN), Jalen Evans (TEN), Herandre Fair-Curry (T&F), Hunter Fillingum (BSB), Jayson Francois (T&F), Aaron Hanna (T&F), Samer Hasona (TEN), Thomas Howell (T&F), Vincent Jefferies (FB), Terry Jefferson (FB), Chase Killette (GLF), Dock Luckie (FB), Mahindra Lutchman (GLF), Elijah Mays (MBB), Austin Michaud (BSB), Jacky Miles Jr. (BSB), Dennis Minefee (GLF), Octavien Moyer (BSB), Brandon Myles (MBB), Frederico Nani (TEN), Kevin Newman (FB), Desmond Noird (FB), Obinna Nwankwo (FB), Courage Okungbowa (TEN), Dallas Oliver (BSB), Shamari Pittman (FB), Michael Poole (T&F), Rodney Randers (BSB), Elijah Richardson (FB), Travis Richardson (BSB), Cameron Riley (GLF), Jacob Rios (FB), Kodi Russ (BSB), Kolton Russ (BSB), Zachary Safford (FB), Illya Skoromnyy (TEN), Nicholas Severado (MBB), Karlyn Small (TEN), Hans Supre (FB), Carlos Waitman (TEN), Garrett Wilkinson (BSB).

Godby-FSU Alumn Looks To Hear Name Called At NFL Draft

Brandon Halas, Correspondent (@BrandonHalasFS on Twitter)

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – Jacob Pugh is one of many athletes hoping to hear his name called during the NFL Draft. Pugh began his path to the draft in Tallahassee, where he attended Amos P. Godby High School.

Pugh made his talents known there as a defensive end in his junior season in 2012. That year, he collected a total of 98 tackles along with 6.5 sacks, six forced fumbles and two interceptions.

During Pugh’s senior season, he saw much of the same as he ranked in the top-100 players in the country and led the Cougars to a playoff appearance.  He had 64 total tackles along with nine sacks and three fumble recoveries. Pugh ended his high school career with a trip to the Under Armour All-American game.
The following spring, Pugh signed his letter of intent with the Florida State Seminoles. His freshman season he transitioned from defensive end to linebacker. Pugh recorded twelve tackles and two interceptions on the season.

His sophomore campaign saw an increase in his playing time. He played in 10 games that year with 32 tackles and three sacks.
Pugh had a breakout season in his junior year. He made 43 tackles and 4.5 sacks. Instead of entering the draft, he stayed for his senior season.  

Pugh called last season a “nightmare”, as FSU only won two of its first seven games. Pugh also had injury problems that kept him out for an extended time his senior season; only playing in eight games with 21 tackles.
Pugh now looks forward to entering the draft and pursuing a career in the NFL. At the combine, he ran a 4.65 40-yard dash, recorded a 38.5 inch vertical jump and  122 inch broad jump. Pugh is projected as day-three selection.