Thursday, Jul 24, 2014
Sports

2013 Hernando Today All-County Baseball Team

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Player of the Year

Christian Arroyo

Shortstop

Hernando - Senior

COMMENTS: Third consecutive All-County selection . First county player ever taken in first round of Major League Baseball June Amateur Draft, going 25th overall to San Francisco Giants . Currently playing for Giants' Rookie affiliate, the Arizona League Giants . Hit .524 with 13 doubles, three triples, 11 home runs, 42 runs scored and 35 runs batted in, leading county in all those categories except triples . Also 9-for-9 stealing bases . Set single-season school records in batting average and hits (55) . Named Class 5A Player of the Year and finished second in voting for Florida Dairy Farmers' Mr. Baseball . Baseball America first team All-American . Had previously signed with the University of Florida.

QUOTES: "He totally relaxed and focused himself on team goals. Individual goals he kept to himself. . At this stage, he's the absolute best player I've ever coached, period. . You've got to have that hunger, and he's the hungriest player I've ever coached. He's gotten to where he's at because he's hungry to improve every day."

- Hernando head coach Tim Sims

Jake Johnson

Catcher

Hernando - Senior

COMMENTS: Repeat All-County pick . Hit .317 with eight doubles, two home runs, 14 runs scored and 25 RBI . Tied for third in the county in RBI and second in doubles . Battled back from a rough start to the season, going 13-for-21 (.619) with three doubles, a homer and nine RBI over Leopards' final seven games . Went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, a home run and four RBI in Class 5A, District 7 championship victory over Eustis.

QUOTES: "The second half he was probably the hottest hitter in our county. . Basically, he started relaxing. High school kids will press. I'm a little too laid back. I've got to do a better job preparing them and putting pressure on them in practice. . I'm so very proud of him. He kept plugging away. He never complained about it."

- Hernando head coach Tim Sims

Thomas Sorrentino

First base

Central - Sophomore

COMMENTS: Fourth in the county in hitting with a team-high .424 average . Posted six doubles and 16 RBI, scoring 18 runs.

QUOTES: "Very good year for a sophomore. . He works his butt off. His swing is very good and he's very patient at the plate. . He has always been a high on-base, high batting average guy. Hopefully next year he'll develop a little bit of power."

- Central head coach Al Sorrentino

Nic Pasarela

Second base

Springstead - Senior

COMMENTS: Repeat All-County selection . Utility infielder who also saw significant time at shortstop and third base . Hit .338 with nine RBI, and scored 24 runs in 27 games.

QUOTES: "I tell him frequently, if I had nine Nic Pasarelas I wouldn't lose a ballgame. . This year was the first year he ever played football and he was a starting running back. . He played injured most of the year. He injured his sternum in football and you never knew it. He never complained. He had a phenomenal year. . He had some clutch hits. He had four wins (as a pitcher). He was one of three ballplayers (along with Brandon Brosher and Ryan Nicoll); without those three guys we would not have had the season we had."

- Springstead head coach Jim Diven

Scott Dwyer

Third base

Central - Sophomore

COMMENTS: Second on the team with a .354 average to go with a team-best 22 RBI in 25 games . Ranked fourth in the county in RBI and eighth in batting average.

QUOTES: "Solid year. He hit fourth for us. There were a lot of people on base in front of him, so he had a lot of opportunities to drive in runs. More often than not he came through. . He's another guy who's patient and works real hard on his swing. He's a pretty intelligent hitter. He comes from a baseball family, so he has a high baseball IQ."

- Central head coach Al Sorrentino

C.J. Martinez

Left field

Central - Sophomore

COMMENTS: Third on the team with a .338 batting average, adding five doubles and 17 RBI . Had the seventh-most RBI and tied for 10th-best average in the county . Posted a 3.40 earned run average with 18 strikeouts in 22.2 innings.

QUOTES: "C.J. is real mentally tough at the plate. On the mound, when things got rough he was able to bare down. . He's got a lot of refining to do. He'll work on his swing, but he's pretty fast. I see him taking bigger steps next year."

- Central head coach Al Sorrentino

Kyle Cottilletta

Right field

Springstead - Junior

COMMENTS: Batted .304 with four doubles, a triple, 18 RBI and 23 runs scored across 27 contests . Leadoff hitter was successful on 9-of-11 attempted steals.

QUOTES: "He's a fierce competitor. . He forced me to put him in the number one position with the way he hit the ball. He hits to the opposite field, he can bunt, he's one of the fastest kids on the team. . He was a big surprise. He did it quietly and I'm looking forward to him being back next year."

- Springstead head coach Jim Diven

Brandon Lawson

Pitcher/Center field

Hernando - Senior

COMMENTS: The 2012 Player of the Year now a repeat All-County selection . County's pitching Triple Crown winner for second year in a row, going 11-0 with a 0.27 ERA and 126 strikeouts . Gave up six runs (three earned) on 43 hits and nine walks over 77.2 innings . Tossed six complete games with three shutouts . Over the past two seasons he went 19-3 with a 1.04 ERA and 226 strikeouts against 29 walks . After going 3-0 with a 0.67 ERA in three postseason starts as a junior, he finished 3-0 with a 0.32 ERA over four playoff appearances this year . Also hit .583 with two RBI in five playoff games . On the season, hit .359 with two doubles and a homer, driving in 13 runs . Set school records for consecutive wins in a season and a career (15), most wins in a single season and lowest ERA in a single season . Signed with USF.

QUOTES: "The 'Big Donkey' took care of business. Very professional in his work ethic off the field. Every day he's trying to get better. . To sign a Division I scholarship out of our area is a notch in his belt. . When you knock Bronson Arroyo off the board for a single-season record, you can pitch. . His time to the plate improved, he improved in locating much, much better this year. . Lawson will continue to work, getting stronger in his core, pick his (velocity) up and help a coach win some games. . Like I said earlier in the year, you put Lawson the mound, you can compete with anybody in the state."

- Hernando head coach Tim Sims

Trevor McKenna

Pitcher

Central - Junior

COMMENTS: Lefty went 3-6 with a 3.56 ERA as ace of Bears' staff . Struck out 56 batters in 55 innings . Threw a no-hitter in a 7-0 win at Springstead on April 5, striking out eight against four walks across seven frames.

QUOTES: "He's our number one guy on the mound. There's no hiding that fact. . He's full of potential. He's worked hard to improve his mechanics and increase his velocity a lot. And he's got an incredible changeup. . I believe he'll be somebody people will be talking about next year. . When your number one guy is a lefty that's getting into the mid-to-up 80s with his fastball and has a great changeup, that's tough on the other team."

- Central head coach Al Sorrentino

Trae Ratliff

Pitcher

Hernando - Senior

COMMENTS: Repeat All-County pick . Ended up 6-2 behind a 2.15 ERA . Over 48.2 innings, recorded 66 strikeouts . Gave up 34 hits and 20 walks . Threw a no-hitter in a 5-0 win over Bradenton-Braden River in Sarasota Baseball Classic on March 25, walking one against 10 strikeouts . Was magnificent in 5A-7 championship game against Eustis, going seven innings allowing two runs on five hits and a walk with a season-high 12 strikeouts in 5-2 victory . Signed with St. Johns River State College.

QUOTES: "Ratliff threw well. But Ratliff is also a different makeup from Brandon (Lawson) in that Trae puts a lot of pressure on himself. We had 1A and 1B. . He had a lot of folks wanting his services. . He's definitely a D-I, draftable guy two years from now, no doubt."

- Hernando head coach Tim Sims

Drue Brooks

Utility

Nature Coast - Senior

COMMENTS: Southpaw hurler/first baseman was 4-2 on the mound posting a 2.94 ERA . Whiffed 46 batters in 52.1 innings . Threw a complete game in 5A-7 Tournament victory over Crystal River, 2-1, allowing a run on two hits, striking out six around nine walks . Hit .373 with eight doubles, five home runs, 25 RBI and 19 runs in 26 games . Went 3-for-5 in two district tournament games, with a double, a homer, three RBI and two runs scored . Second in county in homers . Tied for third in the county in RBI and second in doubles . Fifth in the county in average.

QUOTES: "He started off slow and tore it up at the end. . Showed some leadership skills. In the district (tournament) he was really lights out. He pitched a great game. He showed up when the games really counted."

- Nature Coast head coach Vito Tambasco

Brandon Brosher

Utility

Springstead - Senior

COMMENTS: Fourth All-County selection (2009 with HCA, 2011-13 with Eagles) . First baseman/pitcher tied for second in the county in average (.451), second in RBI (29), third in home runs (four) and third in runs (27) . Finished 5-3 with a 2.42 ERA . Second in county in strikeouts, 81 in 55 innings . Threw no-hitter with season-high tying 13 strikeouts March 12 in 2-1 win over Lecanto . Went 5-for-6 with two triples, five runs and seven RBI in three regional playoff games . Over five-year prep career, hit .406 with 23 homers and 120 RBI, and pitched to a 16-7 mark and 2.64 ERA, striking 224 in 172.2 innings . Originally signed with Division I Oral Roberts University . Drafted in the 36th round (1,076 overall) by the New York Mets and signed earlier this month . Currently playing for Mets' Rookie affiliate, the Gulf Coast League Mets.

QUOTES: "He had an excellent year. . He was the guy in the lineup you had to pitch around. . Without him, we wouldn't have survived. . He throws the ball hard. He's got to be up near 90 miles per hour. He's got a splitter and slider and when his splitter was working, that's when he was working the best. When that was on with his fastball, he was almost unhittable. . He batted in the high .400s. That speaks for itself. He just hit the ball hard. He hit the ball harder than any kid I've seen in my life."

- Springstead head coach Jim Diven

Ryan Nicoll

Utility

Springstead - Senior

COMMENTS: Third straight All-County selection . Shortstop/pitcher ranked second on the team and tied for sixth in the county with a .359 average . Notched six doubles, a county-best four triples and two homers . Second in county in runs scored (29) and tied for sixth in county with 21 RBI . On the mound, went 5-1 with two saves and a 1.34 ERA . Struck out 33 batters over 36.2 innings . Threw a six-inning no-hitter in a 15-1 win at Ocala-West Port on March 14 . At the plate, was 9-for-16 with three doubles, a homer, eight runs and 11 RBI across five postseason tilts . In three playoff pitching appearances, went 2-0 with a 3.18 ERA . Also the 2012 Boys Golf Player of the Year, and a four-time All-County pick in that sport.

QUOTES: "As the season went, he just got better and better. . He's a great golfer. He's an all-around amazing athlete. . He pitched lights-out for us most of the time. His batting average was on the rise the entire season. He got clutch hits, he threw a no-hitter. . He had good command, as well. He doesn't throw the ball as hard as Brosher, but his confidence is unequaled. He's going go out there and win the ballgame for you."

- Springstead head coach Jim Diven

Vito Tambasco Jr.

Utility

Nature Coast - Sophomore

COMMENTS: Shortstop/pitcher tied for second in the county in hitting at .451 . Tied for second in doubles with eight, and added a triple and two homers to go with 14 RBI and 22 runs . Stole 12 bases. . Went 5-6 with a 3.48 ERA, striking out 68 in 50.1 innings.

QUOTES: "Good leadership skills. He hustled game in and game out. He played the game the way it should be played. . He pitched in a lot of big games along with Drue. . He's a five-tool player."

- Nature Coast head coach Vito Tambasco

Coach of the Year

Jim Diven

Springstead - 1st year

COMMENTS: In first year as a prep coach, guided the Eagles to an 18-9 record, the Class 6A, District 6 title and the first two regional victories in team history . Season ended with a controversial regional final loss at Orlando-Edgewater, 6-5, when rain forced the game to be reverted back to the last completed inning, erasing a 9-6 Springstead lead . First county team outside of Hernando High to advance to the Elite Eight . Eagles were coming off a tumultuous 2012 when the head coach was removed at midseason . Overcome an up-and-down regular season, in which they lost to six teams that finished with losing records and dropped six of their final nine contests.

QUOTES: "I'm humbly appreciative, I really am. . You probably have 50 percent that did like the old coach and 50 percent that didn't like the old coach, and you have a team that's split. We were able to overcome that eventually. . My team in the beginning played with intensity, then slacked off in the middle of the season, and then the intensity picked up to a level I've never seen before. . I can't describe it other than it was almost a perfect season. I thought we'd do well. I thought we might win the district, but to win at the end like we were winning was an awesome thing to watch and awesome to be a part of. . I had a fantastic coaching staff, I had tremendous support from the administration, and my wife (Donna) was a huge part of getting where we got. Without the support of everybody, we couldn't have got there."

- Diven

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