Bob Putnam, Preps Reporter

Bob Putnam

Preps Reporter

I've been a staff writer since 1996. My career started before that as a correspondent with the St. Petersburg Times. I covered former Tampa Bay Buccaneer and current USF assistant Shaun King's first start as a quarterback at Gibbs High. Writing about locals is a passion. I'm a fourth-generation Floridian who graduated from Dixie Hollins High. My great grandfather owned a farm in Pinellas Park. My father was among the first graduating classes at Boca Ciega. Sometimes I venture into other sports. Once, I tried out for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. I was even assigned to one of their minor league affiliates. Well, sort of. Dan Jennings, the team's director of scouting at the time, said he was sending me to Walla, Walla, Wash. He was kidding. I think. Well, either way, I'm still here doing what I love to do.

Tampa Bay Times’ all-Tampa Bay softball

Academy at the Lakes senior Lexi Kilfoyl throws a no-hitter, striking out 10, hitting a towering homer and helping AATL defeat Mount Dora Christian 11-0 to win the Class 2A state title. (SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times)
Get to know our top players and pitchers of a highly successful overall season for Tampa Bay teams.

Tampa teen who collapsed during conditioning drills on football field had body temperature of 102, report says

Hezekiah B. Walters, 14, had a temperature of 102 degrees when he arrived at the hospital in cardiac arrest after collapsing while participating in football conditioning drills at Middleton High School on Tuesday, according to a preliminary summary report by the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner says. His cause of death was still being investigated Thursday. [Courtesy of Men of Vision]
Hezekiah B. Walters, 14, was seen vomiting and then had a seizure on the field at Middleton High School, a preliminary summary report by the Hillsborough Medical Examiner says.

Tampa Bay Times’ all-Hillsborough County softball

Plant City pitcher Ashley Blessin finished the season by leading the state in strikeouts with 379. (SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times)
Pitchers continue to put in the work on the mound and at the plate, with Ashley Blessin and Mary Beth Feldman heading up our Hillsborough list.

Hillsborough schools halt summer workouts after teen football player collapses, dies

Hezekiah B. Walters, 14, was a member of Men of Vision, a local non-profit for teens. He collapsed while participating in football conditioning drills at Middleton High School in Tampa on Wednesday and later died. His death is now being investigated. [Courtesy of Walters family]
Hezekiah B. Walters, 14, died after working out at Middleton High School. The county has ordered all schools to review safety procedures.

Tampa Bay Times’ all-North Suncoast softball

Academy at the Lakes senior Lexi Kilfoyl set the tone in the first at-bat of the Class 2A state final, launching this softball more than 250 feet over the leftfield fence. (SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times)
A pair of state final four aces, Lexi Kilfoyl and Ali Shenefield, head up our list for Hernando and Pasco counties.